Operations Schedule for a Small Roaster
Just getting started with your coffee roasting business?
I would suggest giving a lot of thought to how you are scheduling your activities day to day and week to week. Time is a valuable resource, and like any resource, careful and methodical planning can help you get the most out of it. Setting up your business activities as a routine is a great way to create an efficient schedule that will keep you moving towards your business goals.
Here's a great example of a highly efficient operating schedule for a small owner/operator roaster who sells online and through wholesale accounts. For this example, I had in mind a new upstart running the business on their own with no employees.
Monday & Tuesday - Production
Start off the week with getting the previous week's orders ready to go, and ship out the online orders Tuesday afternoon. For this model, you will want to have a very clear disclaimer as to the cutoff time for orders to go out. Ideally, you would like to have all of your orders in to go out that week by the time you start production.
I know what you are thinking. You're worried that your customers will expect quick action on their orders. After all, companies like Amazon are practically dropping a package down your chimney like they're Santa at a click of a button. Don't worry though. You don't need to compete with that. Compete with the quality of your product and brand instead. Your customers will be okay going without two day shipping if they really love what you are offering.
Having all of your orders in before you start your production run will let you plan your production for maximum efficiency.
Wednesday - Delivery Day
Time to take care of those wholesale deliveries. Setting a regular deliver day will help in a couple ways. It allows you to be organized with your time so that you can be more productive. It also sets easy expectations between you and your wholesale customers. They know that when they place their order, they'll be getting it the following Wednesday.
Thursday - New Business Day
You need some time to grow that business. Set Thursday aside as your day to go out and make sales calls. Having a day set aside to focus on sales is a great way to keep your business growing. Keep in mind that new sales doesn't necessarily mean new locations. If you are selling to grocery stores, committing some time to handing out samples and talking with their customers is a great way to build your business.
Friday - Wrapping Up the Week
This is your chance to get all of your pesky administrative tasks taken care of. Get your calendar set up for the following week. Check your inventory and order your beans and supplies. Get invoices sent out. Follow-up on unpaid invoices. Pay your bills. This is also a great day to plan your objectives for next week.
Saturday - Creative Day
Let's face it, entrepreneurs usually put in some long hours and work on the weekends. So if you're going to have to be putting in hours on Saturday, at least make it fun. Use this day to make some fun content to advertise your brand. Making memes, videos and blogs are all great ways to spend your Saturday exercising some creativity and building your brand. Or you could spend this time handing out more samples. Either way, make sure that you're having a little fun with this day.
For your own business, you probably need to tweak this a little. Maybe you need more delivery days and less production days. Or maybe you want to spend more time selling. But whatever the case might be, developing a schedule and routine is crucial. The best way to make sure that you're getting the most out of your time is planning how you are going to use that time.