A Day In The Life
What a crazy two weeks as we head into week three of deliveries. We have learned so much and made huge changes and strides forward in such little time.
I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be a logistics coordinator. From coordinating supplier pick-ups to managing a delivery route three times a week with 155 orders a week and growing.
You have all seen me on social media answering questions, maybe you have spoken to me on the phone, by e-mail or private message. But what happens behind the scenes? How does this all work? What do I do when I am not online or on delivery?
Monday's are our biggest day of the week. They start early. I pack lunches (well lets be honest, usually Jenny does this and keeps me fed or I would forget to eat and think a muffin is sufficient and wonder later why I have a headache). I gather all of my "mobile office supplies" from home: printer,computer, paper, ink, and other supplies I have gathered over the weekend and head to the rec center.
For the past 2 weeks Jenny and myself have been taking 2 vehicles to the valley to pick up from our 3 now 4 regular stops. Noggins, Elmridge Farms, Foxhill Farms and Nutsmith Foods. This trip takes us approximately 6.5 hours from start to finish. We struggled with the amount of physical time this time us to complete and that it required 2 of us to complete the task solely due the sheer volume of products we pick up. We make our 3 or 4 stops and get our workout in by lifting 50 LB bags and boxes of produce, and cases of apples and pears. We learned leeks have a very strong scent, as I tell Jenny the boxes must go in her car because I just don't have the room and I still need to pick up the milk ... Wink Wink. Thank-goodness for her and her enormous trunk space. While my golf holds a surprising amount of things there is just no way that I could do it all myself. In order to solve one of our biggest problems of how do we save more time, and get things done faster; today I am renting a cargo van to take to the Valley and Jenny is going to pick up from : Bill Wood-our lamb guy, Appleton's, Bonnyman, Tipperary and Ebbetts. Usually on Monday's when we get back from the Valley we would unload the 1000LB order and then head to Bramble Hill Farms in New Glasgow. Jenny being the godsent that she is has saved me a trip by picking up the greens on the weekend when she delivers items to her parents.
Once we have all of our products under one roof we start putting boxes together and weighing potatoes, mushrooms and whatever else might need to weighed that week. After everything is weighed we start putting the produce boxes together until we are done or until we both decide to call it day.
Tuesday's we have an early start with our biggest delivery route area the GTA (Greater Tatamagouche Area). Every delivery day I head to Sheryl's Bakery to pick up fresh baked goodies for the orders that day. We start picking orders and hand packing your boxes. Many of our orders can not be packed until the day of because the cold or frozen items must be packed the day of. Once we finish that we load all of the boxes into our vehicles and we hit the road. We don't stop until we finish. If you see me pulled over to the side of the road, don't mind me I am fielding phone calls, e-mails, messages and questions about our service and updates on packages. Service is spotty at the best of times and now with the cell phone towers on over-drive I drop calls like crazy. Then we take our tired bodies home, rinse, wash and repeat for Wednesday's and Thursday's. We are definitely getting a work-out these days with all of the heavy lifting.
Friday's are my quiet days where I can leisurely assemble boxes, and deliver random acts of kindness boxes. I tie up loose ends from the week, maybe we mixed up and order or forgot to put something in a box. This is also the day I deliver to the one time customer's who have snuck in orders outside our delivery zone. I try to monitor this as closely as possible, but sometimes until I map out the delivery route I don't catch it and by that time I have already ordered the product. So please, follow the delivery map and read our website. As excited as you are about our service and as grateful as we are for your support there are orders and locations we just can not accommodate. We are but a small army.
I watch the website closely and monitor orders as our deadline for the next week is coming to a close. By 4 pm, I have cut off dairy sales because our orders with Foxhill Farm need to be in before 4pm on Friday's for a Monday pick-up. Once 10 pm on Friday hits, I close the website. Take an inventory of what we need to order. How many produce boxes we need to fill the next week and calculate how much produce I need to buy and from who to complete all of the orders. Usually around 11pm I have completed my ordering for the week with suppliers. After the orders are in I reset all of the values on the website, update the delivery dates and re-open up the website.
Saturdays I print and sort all of the orders. The program that manages our orders will only let me print 25 at a time, so it is quite time consuming. I tried printing orders as they came in through the week, but changes to people's orders through the week, resulted in items being missed on delivery because we did not have an up to date packing list. I break down orders by zones, and then I break down the bakery and meat orders by delivery days so everything is fresh. Saturday's I usually pick up what I need from Truro and That Dutchman.
Sometime through the week I have ordered boxes and other supplies to ensure we have enough to get us through the week. We are still trying to figure out what box sizes work best, so you will see your deliveries in a variety of boxes. My big fear this week is worrying the boxes will be too big and I won't be able to fit all the orders I need too in my car. That and the muddy roads, those are also a huge concern.
Sunday's are my most relaxed days of the week. I map out the delivery routes, and color code them by delivery driver. In the future it will be an accounting day. My stack of invoices and receipts is piling up and if I don't make that a priority next week it will surely be out of control. Sunday nights I plan out everything I need for the week, and try and get it ready for Monday. Coordinate with Jenny on times and pick-ups.
Somewhere in there I clean, sleep, eat, shower, do laundry and spend time with my pup and enjoy a glass of wine. This past Friday night I had a video chat with a group of friends while we had a glass of wine together. It was great catching up in these crazy times.
That is what a week looks like. Wish us luck as we start our new week.
PS Stay tuned. We have a big announcement coming in two weeks and you are not going to want to miss it.