Part 2 – “Solving the strawberry supply problem.”
In Part 1, we reviewed that I love to help people use data to overcome emotional distress caused by social media pain.
If you missed Part 1,
Here’s the basic idea:
Reviewing the data, the real numbers, is like a vaccine against future social media harassments. Once you know to look at the data, you can temper your emotional response.
Then it happened to me.
Part 2 – “Solving the strawberry supply problem.”
The current situation:
Seven days from our festival, we’re sitting on pre-paid orders for over 2,000 flats of strawberries, customer cards already charged, and Drew’s fields are being emptied daily by his customers.
I asked you, What do you do? Like you, we started trying to solve the supply problem. Drew and I got on the phone and called every strawberry grower of any size in Georgia to try to locate strawberries.
That same weekend we were trying to find berries, it rained in Georgia – FOUR INCHES. That much rain makes a mess for anyone, but for strawberry farmers, it causes crop damage and delays.
The one time I need berries real bad, weather, and markets combine for a double-whammy. I had a lead from another farmer on strawberries out of California, so I called back. It was Monday and Friday I needed to put berries into customers’ trunks.
Though not ideal, we found a California farmer who could load enough berries, the freight company put a ‘team’ of drivers on it, and they sent them out. Drew picked everything he had and sent it up on the truck. We’d have berries to start fulfilling orders on Friday.
Due to freight costs and terror that Drew won’t be able to send me even half my order as his crowds surged, I ordered more than my entire festival’s needs from California. At this point, I could have up to 160% of my pre-order quantity coming from GA & CA to make sure I can fulfill the pre-orders successfully.
We sent an email to all buyers letting them know about the flooding in Georgia and that a farm in California had stepped in to fill the gap in supply.
To be fair, there were differences in the berries. Drew’s were coming only 11 hours, California’s were days away. Drew’s were in open flats with green pulp boxes. California’s were in plastic clamshells. Drew’s said, “Jaemor Farms.” California’s said, “Naturipe” (Naturipe is a grower-owned co-op.)
Then the California truck was delayed at loading and delayed on the road. We realized Thursday that the truck wasn’t going to arrive to fill Saturday’s orders.
We emailed again to push Saturday customer pick-ups back to Sunday. We posted on Facebook, trying to push off pick-ups as well.
Thursday night, Drew’s truck arrives – He managed to send nearly half the berries – GREAT for Friday’s order pick-ups! However, that means that I have approximately 60% TOO MANY berries coming when the California truck arrives. After all this work, the entire festival could financially breakeven… or worse.
Friday went well despite the rain all day. Our system holds up to fulfill and deliver the products, plus bakery and wine orders. We made it through the day with Drew’s berries, and no one went home empty-handed, nearly 400 cars through.
Saturday, the weather is beautiful, which makes one optimistic, so we turned strawberry sales back ON on our Square POS Website, sent emails, and start-up the Facebook Ads campaigns to try to get rid of the remaining 60% over-purchased quantity.
Again, it starts selling and selling and selling. We add Monday pick-ups, but the orders keep coming, and we end up selling an additional 300+ orders in 24 hours. Awesome, right?!
Saturday comes and goes. No customers, no orders fulfilled, and no strawberry truck until 1:15 AM Sunday. However, the relief that it arrived was so great. Things seemed ‘good to go’ for Sunday when we will open at 1 PM.
Sunday at 11:30 AM, I left my Zoom church service and head to the farm to find cars in line for strawberries, and we don’t open until 1 PM.
By 12:15 PM, our early employees have shown up, and we’re pumped at the starting turnout, so we get things going early.
The cracks in the system become evident by 12:45, technically 15 minutes before opening.
The factors that contributed to a traffic fiasco on Sunday:
- At no point had we thought we’d need ‘timed-ticketing’ for order pick-up.
- Sunday was a nice day, so a beautiful day for a drive.
- “If I’m getting strawberries,” our guests must have thought. “I might as well get them earlier in the day.”
- Our Fire Police were not able to schedule to help because they need 30 days notice.
- In addition to our existing 500 orders, we’d added 300+ on Saturday.
The results? Traffic backed up for a total of 2 miles. Some guests waited 2 hours to drive through and get their strawberries. The local roads turned “RED” on Google Maps.
900+ orders fulfilled in one afternoon. To our staff’s credit, from 12:30 PM-4:30 PM, they processed nearly 240 cars per hour, and STILL had the traffic disaster! Neighbors were LIVE on Facebook, giving traffic updates to local group pages.
Yes. People complained about the traffic and long wait times, but the fire-storm was about to begin on Facebook as guests arrived home.
Please tune in to see how things went sideways in our next exciting episode…
Have fun and be profitable until then,
PS Want to know how we SOLD OUT our festival? Each day we’ll send you a one minute video with an encouraging thought to set your day out right. We call it 30 Days of Positive Energy and it’s completely FREE.
PPS Need some personal encouragement? Each day we’ll send you a one minute video with an encouraging thought to set your day out right. We call it 30 Days of Positive Energy and it’s completely FREE.