Clicking on any of the pictures will open them at full size in the browser window, which means you will have to use the 'back' button to return to the main pages, whereas clicking to the left or right of any picture will open them in a new window, if you fancy a closer look at any of the piccies we've posted! We've included a Google Earth satelite picture of our plots and this years planting plan at the bottom of the page, next to each other. If you choose the Earth view on the satelite image you can rotate the image until it is lined up with the planting plan, then use the arrows in the plan to scroll from Plot 2 to Plot 1.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Just a quick post to apologise for the recent lack of blog posts, work pressures have meant a distinct lack of time recently, especially after returning to work 2 weeks ago (to find my store a complete tip - thanks to staff off sick, a messed up delivery schedule due to the new delivery center coming on line and some inexperienced new staff) and so I've been working really hard!

We had a week to get it straight before we were due (this week) to do our annual stocktake (another large piece of work and high stress time for all, but especially for the manager.... me!), so its been a bit hectic, especially with one member of our (5 person) full time team off sick and another on holiday (leaving us with only 3 full time staff to cover 9000 sq foot of 2 floor store, each of which has 2 days off a week to take, so most days its 1 ft to open and 1 to close, with a couple of part time staff to support).

We managed to get the store looking ok, and the major disaster of the wharehouse sorted out (couldnt move in there when I got back from my hols), then Friday I had to start doing the stocktake preparation, for us to count the whole store on Monday! Labelling the store and setting up the departments is a whole day job, which was done on Friday, then Saturday we concentrated on looking after customers, with a couple of extra part time staff in to get as much stock out from the wharehouse as possible.

Sunday I had a team of 4 staff start counting the wharehouse and areas of stock (display items) that we dont sell from the displays), which went well and we left at normal time with the store ready to count!

Monday I was in early, with a lot of my staff in extra to do the counting, and allegedly help from 9 nearby stores (who due to being short staffed themselves mainly didnt turn up, we had 4 helpers arrive out of an expected 9!)

Everything seemed to be going really well, until 3 pm, when the hand held terminals (the scanner guns we use to count the stock) all crashed, and we lost the departments that were in the process of being counted! A pain that we could do without (that set us back about 16 staff hours, or about an hour and a half with the number of staff we had counting), but after deleting them and resetting up we resumed by counting them again. By 6pm the store was about finished, when we noticed a department that hadnt closed its count properly, so we had to delete that one and do it again, another pain, but with 2 staff working on it we had it all finished for 630pm.

So, we then checked that every department was showing on the computer as being counted, that we had a print off for each count and that we were ready to complete, and after double checking we hit the GO button!

45 mins later the results started to come off........... normally we expect to loose (through delivery errors, shoplifting and damages) about 1% of our yearly turnovers worth of stock, or in my store about 20K, last year our loss was good at 0.89%, so I was expecting something similar........ but was horrified to see £85K of stock missing (or about 2.5% loss)!

As manager of the store, its my responsibility to ensure we dont loose too much stock, so I was mortified to see those figures, I've always prided myself on doing a good job, but I went home Monday night (after a 13 hour day) feeling a complete failure, stressed out and upset.

Tuesday I got up after a very poor nights sleep and headed in to work to look at the results and try and work out what went wrong (as I know we didnt miss any stock, the count was very thorough and the backchecking proved we'd done a good job), only to receive a phone call from our systems people at 810am asking if we'd deleted 9 of the 119 count locations!

It turned out that for some unknown reason, a systems glitch at the computer center had 'lost' almost 10% of our stocktake counts, so that was the main reason for the apparently high stock loss figure! Relief?? You bet!

In order to sort it out we had to get the print offs of those locations and then enter them in line by line as a stock adjuctment (with reason of stocktake investigation), a total of 4500 lines of stock with 4 input fields per line that had to be manually entered! In addition to this we also had to check on some of the other losses to see whether any stock had been missed (no matter how good you think the count is and how good you know the backchecking is there will always be something thats gone wrong somewhere), so I had 600 pages of stocktake gains and losses to go through and backcheck........

Well, I had to input the corrections as soon as possible (as our computer automatically reorders anything it thinks we havent got on a Wednesday night - and if it thought we had not got 4500 lines of stock it would order more of all of those lines for our next delivery, which we dont have room for and dont need), so I finished the majority of the investigations and entered them plus the 'lost' locations before I went home, but again it meant another 13 hour day!

Mind you, I came home a lot happier than I did on Monday! No idea what the result is going to be, our system isnt able to give us immediate results, but I have a feeling its going to be a lot better than the £85K, I have a feeling its going to be much closer to £25K or about 1.2%, which is acceptable!

We've still about 9 departments (that didnt have so bad a result) to backcheck, which I've left for my Sales Managers to do whilst I'm on my 2 days off), so there's a possibility that there will still be some more ammendments to make, but the majority of it is now sorted!

So, Im on 2 days off now, we're hoping to get to the plot today - even though the weather isnt looking particularly good - and I'm hoping to get some harvests (and piccies) plus do a bit of weeding, then tomorrow (with a better weather forecast) we will be doing the bee inspections, and hopefully have some more honey to process!

Hope your plots are growing well, the harvests are big ones and your working week has been a bit less stressful than mine!

Thanks for reading and hopefully another update later on today with piccies and harvesting updates!


The Idiot said...

Mrs IG works in retail and hates stocktakes. You have her sympathy.

Mrs Dobby said...

Lol, thanks IG, will have to wait and see what the results come in like, if they aint good, then perhaps it will be time for a move out of retail! Lol!

BilboWaggins said...

I have suspected for some time now that you are really Superwoman and this confirms it. You manage all this AND still have the most beautiful allotment :}

Mrs Dobby said...

Lol, not at all Bilbo, Im just too stubborn to admit defeat in anything I do! Thanks for the kind words tho, we're proud of our little plots, and glad other folks think that they are nice!

The price I pay for being stubborn though is coming in from work totally wiped out and having a home thats a complete mess for the full growing season - as Im too busy for housework!! Sorry to shatter your dreams tho Bilbo!

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