Standard Milk Orders

Do you have a standard Milk Order at your store? There is one, but sometimes no one writes it down. It’s useful to write it down so that everyone who writes and sends the milk order is thinking along the same lines. The standard milk order is based on one simple principle.

When the next order comes in you want the shelf to be full and the back room cooler empty.

That is the optimum isn’t it? No rotating the stock in the back room and everything that goes out is fresh that day. The customer should get such fresh milk that they don’t bother checking the dates at your store anymore! Yeah right. The shelf acts as the buffer. Most stores can last a good part of the day, at least half the morning, with the shelf full. If not, they are probably a prime candidate for expansion.


This is what our old standard order once looked like on the very left of this makeshift order guide:

Stndrd

M

T

W

T

F

S

.1

2% 250ml

_1_

_-_

_-_

_-_

___

___

.25

500ml 2%

_1_

_-_

_-_

_-_

___

___

.25

250ml Choc

_1_

_-_

_-_

___

___

___

1

500ml Choc

_1_

_1_

___

___

___

___

.5

250ml H-H

_1_

_-_

___

___

___

___

1

500ml H-H

_1_

_-_

___

___

___

___

.5

250ml whip

_1_

_-_

___

___

___

___

.25

500ml whip

_1_

_-_

___

___

___

___

2

1L 2%

_2_

_1_

___

___

___

___

1

1L 1%

_1_

_2_

___

___

___

___

1

1L Homo

_1_

_1_

___

___

___

___

1

1L Skim

_1_

_1_

___

___

___

___

.5

1L buttermilk

_1_

_-_

_-_

_-_

___

___

.5

1L Choc

_1_

_-_

___

___

___

___

.5

1L PL Choc

_1_

_-_

___

___

___

___

.25

1L Whip

_1_

_-_

_-_

_-_

_-_

_-_

5

2L 2%

_5_

_3_

___

___

___

___

4

2L 1%

_4_

_3_

___

___

___

___

2

2L Homo

_2_

_3_

___

___

___

___

3

2L Skim

_3_

_4_

___

___

___

___

15or20

4L 2%

_15_

_10

___

___

___

___

15

4L 1%

_15_

_20

___

___

___

___

4

4L Homo

_4_

_6_

___

___

___

___

6

4L Skim

_6_

_5_

___

___

___

___

The reason for 15 or 20 on the 4L 2% is that the milk is always stacked 5 cases high. If we order in denominations other than 5, the milk is less likely to be in neat stacks on the pallet when it comes in. and you will get messed up thinking that the last 4 of the 19 4L 2% you ordered is a stack of 1% because of the one case of 4L 1% on top. If you order in fives, it probably saves the warehouse picker some time because he just has to pull up to the pallet and slide the stack on from the warehouse pallet. It makes it easier for everyone.

At this point on this order guide we have written the order for Tuesday and you’ll notice that there are discrepancies between it and the standard order. First, you can’t order a quarter or half a case, so Monday’s order had a case of each. We won’t be needing 1L whip for probably the whole week since one comes in on Monday, so a few days ahead is crossed off already A quarter of a case is 4 1L, so it is only ordered when the shelf is actually down to less than 8. Only half a case of 500ml whip actually fits on our shelf, so it and the other part cases are basically ordered when the shelf is not full and the back room is empty. The rest is simpler.

Simply subtract what you have left in the back cooler
and add what you need on the shelf.

Therefore, it is best to write immediately after the Dairy is filled so you can go in the back and deduct what is there, then go to the shelf (or just turn around in some cases) and add what is short. On the Monday that this Tuesday order would have been written, we had a little more than five 4L 2% in the back and we needed about 5 more 4L 1% on the shelf.

Those items that are ordered, but possibly not there yet (i.e. Monday’s order on the form) may have to be taken into account if your back room inventory plus the order doesn’t add up to the standard order. For example, if there are 5 4L 2% in back and only 5 coming in, you would order 20 to make up the 15 needed for each day.

Every store is different but the principle is the same. If you understand what I’ve said, you will be able to tell how many 4L Homo I needed on the shelf and how many 2L 2% I had in the back. If you can figure it out, you’ve got it. If not, I’m sorry if I didn’t make it clear. It may become clearer when you actually try it.

Adjusting the standard order.

If you find that day after day after day you have to adjust for what’s in the back or what’s short on the shelf, then it is time to change the standard order down or up respectively. Talk to the boss about it, and adjust it so that everyone is on the same page. Sometimes you’ll adjust for more buttermilk in the summer heat and more whip cream near holidays. Small milks may change when school is in or out, and when there is a multiple deal, it might help to keep an extra case around for when people are buying for lunches.

I hope this helps.

Managing the Carbonated Beverage Section

Here in Winnipeg the term Pop as referring to carbonated beverages never really caught on. You can tell when someone is from out of the city by whether they use the term or not. Please insert pop in place of drinks in your head if that is what you’re used to

Working the drinks

If you can, wear gloves as they are always very dirty and it is hard on the hands.

The two litre drinks are the most popular, and it amazes me that most people in the stores, even driver/reps doing them in other chains, don’t do it smart.

1)      Corner to corner outside then inside is the first way to do two litres. Grabbing from the opposite sides and ends means that the case won’t tip as easily and the drinks in the centre will hold down the case while you pull the outside ones out. Once you get to the inside four you can give a quick tap with which ever bottle comes out first to get the second one out.

2)      Corner to corner inside then outside is the Pepsi way to do two litres. Pepsi shells are engineered in a way that the weight of the four center bottles pulls in the outside edge of the case to hold the outside four bottles tight. If you pull out the four center bottles, it releases the four outside bottles and it’s an easy pull.

If you use this technique, I promise that you will not only get the drinks out faster, but it will seem faster and easier than you would have believed possible.

 

Take the pallet of drinks on the floor and park next to the shelf. Do not walk across the aisle with two bottles at a time. If you have an orphan case that is somewhere away from the pallet, it is very easy to use the shelf ticket moulding to rest the full case on and unload from there. Again, do not walk back and forth across the aisle with two bottles at a time. Life is too short for that.

 

Always work to the bottom of the pallet from one end so you can get something else piled on that pallet to make room. Don’t work off one side of the pallet in such a way that it will tip when you lift it up with the hydraulic jack. Our new plastic pallets are notorious in that they flex when they are piled over the edge and it is easy for two litres cases to slide right off. Keep this in mind when re-piling your pallets.

 

When pallets of drinks come in, they are usually stacked in a way that they are least likely to fall over and also in a way that you are least likely to need them. The odd flavours such as Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper will be on top and the Pepsi or Coke will be on the bottom. They will be interlocked so that you can’t simply take off one corner of odd flavours and get to the Pepsi.  No, you have to take off whole layers or you will be only getting about 6 or 7 off .

The sad solution is to re-pile the pallet. Usually there is more Pepsi than everything else but there is not enough room on the shelf to unload to the bottom of the pallet. You want to pile your Pepsi reasonably high at one end of the pallet and then start piling odd flavours at the other end in the reverse order you might need them.

If you can, pile in stacks of flavours, if not pile them in shelf fulls. If four go on the shelf, alternate flavours until you’re done. The next time you take that pallet out, you should be able to work it on the shelf and reach all the flavours.

The better you know your drink sales, the better your piling will be. If the shelf holds four Diet Dr. Pepper and 4 Mountain Dew, but you typically only need to put out 2   Diet Dr. Pepper and 3 Mountain Dew by the time the Pepsi sells down, use that as your alternating pile amount, 2 Diet Dr. Pepper, 3 Mountain Dew, 2 Diet Dr. Pepper, 3 Mountain Dew, etc 

 

There is a lot more thought involved when you’re trying to be more productive. If you put a little thought into how you repile a pallet of drinks, it won’t have to be re-piled again. It makes sense to make the next load easier to do than the first one was. Try to make the job easier by thinking ahead.

Outrageous LIES

I just love an Outrageous LIE. Typically when I’m putting out milk, they’ll ask me if its fresh, I’ll just say, “I milked the cow this morning!” Yeah, right. That’s cute, but once I was putting out egg nog and forgot myself.

“Is that fresh?”

“Yes Ma’am, I milked the…uh…chicken this morning.” :D

The difficult customer

I was just reminded of “Customer From Hell.” CFH is someone who finds things that are slightly out of place and demands that you make the situation right by giving her exactly what he believed was correct. For instance, looking at a table full of different products, picking the one she wants, and looking for the lowest price anywhere near the product and that is what he wants. How do you deal with CFH?

  1. Apologize. Its not hard. Its nothing personal, (I mean its “the company” apologizing, not you personally) and it stops defensiveness. Be careful what you apologize for. You apologize for the “confusion”
  2. Blame the “Policy”: “I’d like to give you everything in the store for free, but our policy is very strict about not allowing that. Darn that policy!” (Paraphrase please)
  3. Try to find something that will make things somewhat clearer, even though it may make nothing clearer at all. Move something, or tell them you will try to make things clearer when you have time.
  4. Thank you for pointing out the problem. Make them feel that they are contributing something and that their opinion is welcome. (This can be the difficult part)
  5. Mean it. You may not mean it at the time you are saying it, but a complaint is a complaint, and some people that haven’ t complained about the same thing might just never come back, because we’re a bunch of rip off artists. We need all the customers.
  6. Compliment. A CFH still spends a lot of money. You can’t always please them but any complement, or even a smile with yet another apology will soothe some of the hard feelings, because they aren’t getting what they want.
  7. If you objectively find what they are referring to confusing enough. Give it to them (if you have the authority) You don’t want to be unfair. You’d rather be taken advantage of, than have a customer believe they are being taken advantage of (or ripped off.)
  8. Make them your friend. Try to keep their interests in mind. If you see something you know they like on sale, mention it to them, or mention something that is a good buy, or perhaps something that is related that you have in the clearance area. You can’t lose, if you make it hard to get mad at you. Good luck.

Note: I’ve mixed up the genders because a CFH can be either.

This side and that side

How do you tell someone where something is. Often you’ll go along with them and show them. I usually don’t unless they are asking for something very specific, like a particular spice. If they are looking for “juice” or “shake and bake” which are more than four feet wide, I’ll just send them to the aisle number and tell them which side its on. I don’t like to use left hand side or east side. I always get left and right confused myself and if they go down another aisle for something and then go down the aisle from the other direction, left and right get reversed anyway. This side means it’s on the side we’re on and that side means… THAT side. I think it is the clearest and simplest.

If your in a store where the aisles run in 2 directions, this might not work very well, but if the customer can’t find it, he’ll think, “Where was that guy? Oh yeah, He was this way and he said it was on that side.” It’s pretty clear.

I try to head to the aisle afterwards to see how they are doing. It is faster that way than going at their pace.

Have some fun.

“Hi, did you find your oats?”

Answer1: “Yes I did.”

Reply: “Oh darn! I didn’t hide it well enough.”

Answer 2 “No I didn’t”

Reply: “Here it is.”

” Oh! Right in front of me!”

“We designed it to blend in really well, So you’ll find stuff you don’t need.”

Ordering Ice Cream when there is not enough room.

At our store, our ice cream section is about six feet short of a standard ice cream section. With that size restriction there is no possible way to put a row of every product in the ice cream freezer. Ours is a coffin freezer (one that you look down in to, as opposed to a stand up freezer with shelving.) We have two mouldings on each side of the freezer to hold the shelf labels, because there is not enough room for even the labels. When it works out, we have one facing of all the products on top. To achieve this there are a few guidelines to follow:

  • If there are any, don’t order more. Really even just one is enough until the next order.
    • This does not include high volume items like pails and economy 2l ice cream. You would have a defined number of facings for these.
  • Use the over flow from one product stack to “dummy up” the low stock items.
    • A case of twelve can be used to create one stack of 5 (typically) and the other 7 would be used to “dummy up” products that you have 1, 2 or 3 of.
    • If you have two facings of something on top, see if there isn’t something else that needs a facing. When you have things stacked up, you might spot something that was used to “dummy up” that is not at the top anymore.
    • There is some “house cleaning” involved with this. gather up some of the old “dummy up” product and make a single stack
  • Order small cases first. Cases of 6 before cases of 12. It means more variety and less to bury when the order arrives.
    • This implies that some cases of 12 will go a long time before they are ordered. There is nothing else you can do. Once the freezer is full another case of 12 will just sit in the back.
    • Cases of 4 (No Name Cones) can be ordered all the time. If you order the flavour you have the least of, you can use the overflow to dummy up the other flavour.
  • If it’s on sale, and you have to order too much
    • If you have too much when you receive the order, it is important to think about what you are going to take to the back. It’s not too hard to see when you are going to run out of room, especially if you have prepared the section when you ordered it by dummying up and burying, you’ll have a spot for each sleeve plus a little extra to dummy up the low stock. Once you decide that something has to go to the back, the selection should be obvious:
      • everything you have out there already
      • one of everything you have two of
      • half cases of 12s (just take 6 out of two cases and make a single case of back room stock with two flavours in it. Before the next order is written you might put out this case. If it isn’t selling well, you might leave it in the back and order stuff that does. If there is lots of room in back, why not. If the freezer is jammed up with stock, lowering you stock level might be more important than improving your variety.
  • Getting your order out.
    • Work from the Novelty end and fill it. Usually the House Brand (No Name) novelties are first so fill them and take as much space as you need. Keep an eye out for things like ice cream sandwiches, which are slightly shorter than the other novelties which can allow you to put your novelties in without turning them sideways.
    • Product orientation (i.e. sideways) though usually important, is secondary to getting a good use of space in this scenario. Do what you must to get a good fit.
    • When you are finished and find you have some space left, split the full stacks and use the stuff under the “dummied up” products to make the section more level and presentable.

How do those UPC labels work?

Simply- the width of those lines and the spaces between them tell the scanner what all the numbers are at the bottom. There is usually a single digit followed by 2 groups of 5 digits followed by another single digit at the end. The first digit is almost always zero, on shelf food items and always 2 on weighed in store items from the Meat and Deli departments. If the first number is not a zero, then it must be punched in with the rest of the UPC in order for it to work. The first group of 5 numbers is the manufacturers code. Each manufacturer applies for a code when they start, so everything from Kraft starts with 56000, and everything No Name, Presidents Choice or Sunspun starts with 60383. That’s handy to know because our eggs also start with 60383 so when they don’t scan, you can have half the code punched in by the time you have it turned around to read it. The last 5 digits are the product number as selected by the manufacturer.
On those meat and deli packages, the number that follows the 2 is almost always an 8 and then there is a 4 digit number that is the exact number that you would punch in on the scale to call up the correct label. That’s handy to know too.
The last 4 digits on the label are the price. There may also be another digit before the price, but if it is not a zero, you can replace it with a zero and it will still work. At least it does at my store. This is handy for cashiers too. If your stuck with a label that is mangled, you can punch in the whole upc if you can just make out the 4 digit code and the price 28XXXX0$$$$ is how to punch it in. Xs are the code and $s are the price. Try to keep that in mind. It will save you a lot of time and running around.



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