Work-board week of May 27th, 2022
With the June 8th release date quickly approaching, I figured that I would take some time this week to go over a bit of the pre-release process and where it could be improved as time continues.
I am left with little time (outside of the mornings) where I can continue to push new product development forward. A large majority of our time is spent in the warehouse doing some form of prep which I will cover below:
All of our products currently arrive in individual boxes. There is generally a label on the front of the box that states the contents' size, quantity, and color. However, as we have noticed in the past, the quantity number listed on the package does not always align with what we pull out of the box. In past releases (due to time constraints working full time / not having a warehouse and releasing from my parent's basement), I have taken the number on the box and subtracted a small number hoping that the buffer will keep us in line with proper stock. This has come back to haunt me (twice) in the past. Products end up overselling, and now that we have a suitable warehouse, we have taken the time to count each item that comes out of the boxes before being moved into the large pick and pack bins.
This repeatable task can easily be delegated to either part or full-time warehouse work down the road. The main issue was the need to physically set up the warehouse with pallet racking and find the optimal layout for everything. This made it inefficient for us to try and hire part-time help since we were cramped for space and had to essentially (erect) a pallet rack, sort a specific color of clothing onto it to free up space for the next pallet rack, rinse and repeat.
As I alluded to in the above point, this release forced us to make significant improvements to the warehouse to better optimize how the space was being used. When we first got the space and started to move products in, I remember that it felt like we would not run out anytime soon. As the space began to fill up with current and future products, it became apparent that we would need to go vertical as much as possible to reduce (1) walking time from the packing stations to the product that is needed and (2) provide a better storage and management system for incoming, counting, and then ultimately the outgoing of products
I am on the fence as to whether or not we will be able to stay in this space outside of the next 12 months. With the way the business grows, we will no longer be able to go vertical and be maxed out on useable space without making the warehouse overcrowded. Moving to a larger warehouse would be a significant undertaking in both time and capital. I would have to hire a company to physically move the goods and then reset everything at the new location. While exciting (bigger space is a product of continued growth), I worry about the potential downtime needed for such a move.
Envelopes / Care Cards
As it stands right now, Shawn and I personally hand stuff all of the envelopes with the care card instructions and stickers. This task is a massive time sink for both Shawn and me and, unfortunately, allows little multitasking (outside of thinking about future problems to solve or future products).
In the future, this type of task needs to be outsourced to hired help or a company that owns machinery and can automate the process. Since we try and keep the sticker designs fresh, it makes it hard to just outsource a massive bulk amount and keep a stockpile on hand. While probably not the most efficient way to go about it, I think it is crucial to rotate in new sticker designs for each release. Once we can outsource this work, it will free Shawn and me up to handle the higher priority pressing issues that arise as the release sizes continue to grow.
As it stands today, (5) months since the last time these run club hoodies were released, we have seen a significant increase in domestic and international shipping costs. We have always offered free shipping within the USA, and to do so effectively, we had to change to slightly smaller box size. For people interested in this topic, you can look into USPS's different pricing zones on a cubic volume basis. There is a significant price difference, jumping from 0.4 to 0.5 in the USPS model (shown below). Many small businesses use 3rd party logistics companies to handle all of their shipping. Still, learning and understanding how USPS handles package shipments' pricing has been a helpful way to forecast shipping costs for upcoming releases.
This week's training block was 56 miles with 5 lifts:
Monday: Rest (Lift - Push)
Tuesday: 10 Miles Aerobic (Lift - Pull)
Wednesday: 6 Miles Aerobic (Lift - Legs)
Thursday: 12 Miles Endurance (Lift - Push)
Friday: 5 Miles Recovery (Lift - Pull)
Saturday: 9 Miles Threshold (No Lift)
Sunday: 14 Miles Endurance (No Lift)
Last week's 14-mile endurance run to cap off the week was a terrible time. I think that it was a mix of heat and humidity.
This week's 14-mile run was much better. I started the run earlier in the morning and went into it with the mindset that I would not check my watch until after mile 10. I believe that I was in a "flow state" the entire run. I felt light, like I was gliding through the mileage. We ran an average of 6:32 / mile for those 14 miles, and our heart rate average was around 148. Happy with the bounceback that occurred from the week prior.