Getting our business ready for Christmas

Tania_KatsanisFor anyone who works in retail Christmas can be a make or break time. Here Tania Katsanis of Flowers by Fruit explains the systems she puts in place to ensure customer service isn't compromised during this busy time.

I always say, Flowers by Fruit is an affordable luxury and the products that we offer still give its recipients the WOW factor thus making them great Christmas presents for any one that loves either fruit or chocolate dipped fruit. Our job as a minimum is that we meet our customers’ and their loved ones’ expectations.

With this in mind, Flowers by Fruit, like many retailers, finds that one of their busiest times of the year is of course Christmas and if not organised, the festive period could easily become a major disaster rather than a small business retailer’s biggest success. I’d love to share with you how Flowers by Fruit manages the Christmas madness, through careful planning and open communication.

Tania_Katsanis_large
Tania Katsanis

Our commitment to quality even during peak times means that we always make our edible fruit and chocolate fruit arrangements fresh on the day that they are required. This puts a huge amount of pressure on our team because of the increased volume, therefore potentially opening us up for error if we’re not organised. So, over the last couple of years, Flowers by Fruit has developed systems and processes that have meant we run better than a well-oiled machine, working effectively, efficiently and most importantly stress free to ensure our customers have a wonderful Flowers by Fruit experience and our team is not in a state of panic and confusion.

We make minor modifications to the business and make sure that our customers are kept informed via our website, newsletter and Facebook pages regularly.  We hold a team meeting 4 weeks out from Christmas to discuss the roster, the products and any other items we think may influence the business during the Christmas rush.

To ensure that Flowers by Fruit is efficient, the business makes the following changes for the last two weeks leading up to Christmas Eve;

  1. We offer a Christmas Specific range during this time that caters across all categories of product. The Christmas range ensures the efficiency in the workshop and minimizes the margin for error. This range is a collection of our best sellers along with products developed specifically for the Christmas period.
  2. Earlier cut off times for delivery: The last two weeks leading up to Christmas we request that all orders are made than no later than 5pm the day before.  This allows the workshop to plan production and the drivers to plan their delivery run in the most efficient route.
  3. All our Fruit artists are rostered on to work, starting much earlier and at staggered times. We have found over the years that if our team starts at different times then the efficiency is improved and everyone has work to do with no interruption.
  4. Additional delivery vans: To cope with the increased volume we hire additional refrigerated vans as well as use external refrigerated courier services to ensure we manage the volume.
  5. Production is planned by delivery run: During Christmas the volume of deliveries each driver has can sometimes triple and thus it is imperative that we make their job as easy as possible.  We even stagger the driver’s start times so they too are not falling over each other.
  6. We have four checkpoints during Christmas to ensure that no mistakes are made for each order.

It’s a crazy time, working crazy hours but it sure is fun. By the 24th of December we’re pooped and ready for a well deserved break!

On that note, I wish you and your loved ones all the best for the festive season and a prosperous 2012.

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