The end of school arrives, with only a few minor administrative details left to wrap up. A chance for a little relaxation, but that also means we need to plan a bit for summer.
Rest and Relaxation
If anyone wonders why I didn’t post anything last Friday, that happened because I was on a church men’s retreat. The woods gave a good relaxing atmosphere (and some allergens) along with time to ponder work/life balance. I struggle with that balance working at home. With work never more than a moment away, maintaining the priority of relationships with God and family becomes harder than it sounds. Time away helps keep the first things first.
Preparation for Summer
We need to increase our storage space. We don’t have a ton of floor space – we operate almost exclusively out of one room in the house. But in that room we keep ~350,000 parts at the moment and that taxes our storage capacity to the maximum. This summer, we will be filling in space on these shelves with more storage bins. It should ease overcrowding in certain parts areas and make it easier to deal with the rapid expansion and contraction of certain sections of inventory. I’m looking at you, 2×4 bricks!
I also hope to improve our automated checkouts this summer. At present, we have easy options for weight-limited USPS services. That’s what most people expect – heavier packages cost more to ship. But oftentimes we can save on shipping charges by using USPS flat rate products, where volume, rather than weight, determines price. Flat rate padded envelopes already appear as shipping options for certain orders in our stores, reflecting the work we’ve done already. But Priority Mail prices depend on the origin and destination of the package – it costs more for us to ship to California than to North Dakota for example. The next step involves setting up calculators that accurately determine price based on weight, volume, and destination ZIP code. This will allow us to take full advantage of Regional Shipping Boxes to save our customers money.
A fast example. Sending 7 pounds to Iowa costs $15.60 for us. But that same order probably fits into a Regional B Box costing $10.65 to ship to Iowa – a savings of nearly $5. As an added bonus, the Regional Boxes are provided free of charge by the USPS.