A Production Calendar – What’s That?
When you’re planning on selling wholesale, you need to plan ahead to make sure that all of the orders placed by galleries and shops can be filled. Consider if you attended a wholesale market and you received 20-25 large orders. You would be very excited and happy that your work sold so well. But did you pay attention to when those orders needed to be shipped? Perhaps you were trying to please the buyers and you told all of them that you could send out there order right away. Once you get home and start to work, you realize that it will be impossible to make enough work to fill the orders on time. What do you do now???
The scenario above is not a situation that you want to happen. If you tell a buyer that you can send an order at a certain time, you need to be able to send the order when promised. Galleries often don’t give you a second chance if you prove to be unreliable. One way to avoid this situation is to develop a production calendar. Everyone’s production calendar will be slightly different depending on the products produced and their working methods.
To develop a production calendar, you need to know how long it takes to produce each of your products. Does it take less time to make certain products if you make more than one at a time? Once you know how long it takes for production, then you need to give yourself time on the calendar for each wholesale order that you receive. So if you take an order for $500 worth of products and it will take you 1 week to produce that work, mark the ship date for that order on your calendar and mark a line through the previous week to avoid putting in any other orders for that week. As you continue to fill your production calendar, if a month becomes filled with orders, you can not take any more orders to ship for that month. Tell the buyers that you can send their order in the following month because you have already filled your production calendar for that month. Buyers understand how production calendars work and realize that you need time to fill all the orders you have taken at the show.
Once you get back home, you can use your production calendar as a schedule and fulfill the orders as they come up on the calendar. If for some unforeseen reason, you are not going to be able to send an order on the agreed upon shipping date, contact the gallery/shop as soon as you can to explain the problem. Tell them the circumstances and make sure they still want the order to be shipped even though it will be late. Using a production calendar will help to prevent late shipments and improve your relationships with wholesale buyers. Presenting a professional demeanor is important and keeping your shipments on time will give galleries confidence in your business abilities.