If you’ve wondered what Carissa and Nevra do behind the scenes each week and how the operation works when the suppliers have no access to computers or email, here’s a snapshot of our weekly administrative workflow.
Sunday (after 8 pm)/Early Monday Morning
- Leave Jake and other suppliers a voicemail with order counts since prep begins in the wee hours of Monday morning and fresh batches of some products may need to be made, amount of ordered milk needs to be bottled and if supplies seem low (it’s hard to predict yield more than a couple days out) then give backup suppliers and idea of quantity needed.
- Prepare ~100 pages of various reports and packing documents for fax to the Farm on Monday.
- Master order spreadsheet for the farm
- Individual Orders Invoices/Packing Slips
- Weekly Feedback/Credit Report Document
- 2 spreadsheets for drivers showing unboxed item counts by site (and email these to drivers)
- Supplier reports so the farm knows how much to pay each and how much to ensure is delivered
- Update inventory for scarce items (e.g. jumbo eggs, goat milk & goat kefir in winter, etc)
- Electronically fax ~100 pages of documents to the farm using RingCentral. This is a very slow, tedious process (takes ~1.5-3 hours), for several reasons:
- The farm isn’t on the power grid, but instead relies on propane tanks to power the fax machine
- The farmers aren’t good about being at the phone at a set time each week, so we have to chase them down by phone and wait until they power the fax machine up before we can start sending the docs
- because the eFax service struggles with more than 10 page documents, we have to send each document individually and wait until confirmation that all pages went through before sending the next doc. A paper jam, running out of propane, toner problems, etc all cause interruptions.
- (In the old days when Hillary ran the show, she would print orders herself and FedEx them to the farm. That’s why the order deadline was on Friday. Thanks to the farm’s willingness to work with a fax machine, we were able to move the order deadline to Sunday night)
- Call w/Farm to amend orders based on actual weights (note: invoices are NOT reprinted) & discuss inventory levels for products. Call time varies greatly depending on farmer availability and often slips to Wed, which is why order processing happens later in the week some weeks
- process orders for payment & also check to see if there are any unpaid orders where check may have bounced and assist those customers
- Draft reminder email that gets sent on Wednesday.
- Manually send out delivery emails to sites as the drivers text that orders have arrived. (Create the drafts on Tuesday)
- Deal with delivery issues as best as possible
- Issue credits to customers who report missing or unsatisfactory items
- Keep notes about complaints and other feedback
Ongoing/Less Frequent –
- 30-45 min weekly general touch-base call with the farm regarding various topics
- Respond to customer emails & calls from suppliers
- Onboard new customers
- Make enhancements to the product price list over time, to add more detailed descriptions of products, add or remove products, add contact info for suppliers, etc.
- Optimize the delivery network (open/close/relocate drop sites)
- Maintain the website, monitor the Facebook page