Off Season Inventory and Staffing

As of this writing in May 2019, spring has apparently started. Maybe not in Northern Michigan but in most of the country temperatures are rising and the sun is making more frequent appearances.

One of the not-so secret secrets about ice cream sales is that sunshine drives sales perhaps even more than temperature. Although the sunshine brings happiness to the financial status of your frozen dessert business, it can cause stress if you’re not prepared for an unexpected increase in sales. High sales in the so-called off season are great for the bank account but do come with some problems – inventory and staffing.

Off season inventory and staffing image shows a child's drawing of the sun with a smiling face & rays all around it. Around the sun are squiggly blue lines to indicate a blue sky.

A Couple Tips to Help You Be Prepared

  • Inventory: We don’t sell frozen custard mix for many reasons. Most notably is that we add little value to the distribution channel. We would just add cost to the people that actually buy our frozen custard machines. This is when your relationship with your suppliers is critical.

    In the same way, you have favorite customers – maybe they’re polite, tip well or pick up before they leave, your suppliers will have favorite customers – they pay on time, discuss problems rationally and treat the delivery guys with respect. Getting a delivery in time for a weekend of sunny weather at some point may prove crucial. “Sorry Sold Out” is a terrible thing to hang on the door. Check the weather forecast!!

  • Staffing: From everything we read and hear from our customers, staffing has been and will be a challenge for some time. The problem is exacerbated by the robust economy, minimum wage hikes and the willingness of people to only turn up when they want to. Try out some of these staffing solutions.

    Making sure you have employees ready to go can be tough. Do you hire early and train hoping to be ready for unexpected sunny weather? Do you risk not be ready by waiting until the last minute to do your hiring? Perhaps the best answer is to keep last year’s employees on call and make sure they’re ready to go when you need them.

In both of these cases, you’ll find that things will be a lot easier if you’ve treated your employees and suppliers with respect. If you want to talk about it, get in touch with me.

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