Order processing – we are on it!
Maybe you are one of many who had placed an order for one of our subscription boxes. Maybe you have not received yours yet and are starting to wonder when you will get your parcel.
Let me try to explain what has happened.
End of March we received a wave of orders for our tea & knitting subscription. Due to the set up of our system I could see that they all would be due on the 1st of the next month. So we checked and saw that we would not have enough wool to fulfil all these orders.
I got in touch with Jackie from Wool 4 Ewe in Stornoway who is supplying us with the wool for the subscription boxes. She then put in a big order so that we would make sure we had enough wool to work with.
At the same time I placed several orders for more packing material, boxes, tape, labels, etc.
Most of the items arrived around the 30th of March, so not much time to prepare anything. In the meantime, even more orders were coming in, not only subscriptions, but also the regular mail orders.
Babs was rotating downstairs while I tried to organise, print, prepare, check stock etc.
To prepare one subscription box takes roughly 15 minutes. The tea has to be weighed, packed, labelled and sealed, the boxes put together and packed, labelled, sealed. All boxes put on a list that will go to the post office.
Usually we post twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. Due to staff shortages at the post office, most Fridays now became a Saturday.
We do not have a big storage room, or a packing station, or extra staff that does the packaging. We are, after all, still a small family business. As I do not own a car at the moment, poor Babs has to haul all those bags full of parcels to the post office herself, at least twice a week.
If she is not doing that, she is packing parcels, regular mail orders and serving customers (yes, we are back open again)
So, together with other subscription orders we had, we now were looking at processing over 90 subscription boxes around the 1st of April. Did I mention, that it was Easter as well and a bank holiday on Monday the 5th?
The new order for the wool got stuck at the border because of Brexit and we had to wait and were unable to finish most of the boxes. In the meantime I had to stock up on more packaging materials and labels …
On Friday, 9th of April, the wool finally arrived and we continued to pack and prepare.
There are still some orders on our list that will have to be packed and we hope that we will get them all done and posted by Tuesday.
I am busy trying to streamline all these orders and figure out the most efficient way to ship these parcels. Living on an island also means that we do not have access to those “cheap” couriers like most other companies have on the mainland. I am still working my way through the various options I got from Royal Mail to find one that is right for our business.
Once we have sorted all this out, it will be easier in the months to come.