Archive for the ‘Shipping’ Category

By Jeff Pett, an NSSEA member supplier

Fleetwood Group, Inc.


Last time I wrote about how busy our summer was going here in the school furniture business. It all has to happen, basically, between June 1 and September 1. Consider this posting as the second installment on how things have been going.


We had a great July, a record for both sales dollars of products shipped and a record for incoming orders. The first two weeks of August typically are when we are really tested.  Those are the weeks when most orders are scheduled for shipping so that classrooms will be ready to go for new students when school starts.


This year was certainly true to form. Our August build/ship schedule is bigger than ever, and most of that was loaded into the first two weeks. We are not a big company, and to have over 30 trucks a week scheduled to leave here full of furniture is an amazing feat!  I’d love to tell you that we made every order on time and shipped out per our dealer’s schedule. Most did, but we did miss on a few orders… most late orders getting shipped out by the following Wednesday, but late none the less.  (That is one of our main key measures!)  The last half of the month is upon us, and the “Quick Ship” order bank is swelling.  Quick Ship happens mostly for the “Oops” moments as educators and administrators get back from summer break to realize that they forgot to order something.  We provide many products in limited colors that can be Quick Ship ordered with a ship date within five to 10 days. August is the main month for Quick Ship for obvious reasons.


One of the things that helps us with the extreme seasonality of this business is the availability of good summer help. In our area we are known as a haven for summer jobs, and we hire a large contingent of hard working college—and some high school—students each year.  While the work is hard, we offer the opportunity to work a lot of hours so students know they can make the money they need for school working here. Our talented full-time craftsmen have become very good at teaching and leading these students in small groups. It is truly the only way we could meet the demands of this business. They come in May and June… but leave us by mid-to-late August. That is right now. So we are working to make that transition from being “red-line” busy with lots of help, to only very busy but with much less help.  Fortunately the business demand curve is pretty much in line with the student supply curve.  But it is tight!


Oh!  I’d love to tell you more, but it IS August… and I have to run!!


Talk to you next month!


Read Full Post »