Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Missing Pieces... Again!

Coffee in the Chicago skyline mug, "Gone to the Y" by James McMurtry on iTunes. I don't know, it's random! The last three songs were "Mission Bell" by Fleetwood Mac, "White Room" by Cream and the morning started with "The End" by the Doors. You got me, man. If there's a theme, I don't see it. Unless it's "Your day is going to be filled with random, unconnected events". I don't have time for either random or unconnected this morning. I have utilities to request, a letter to get for termites, insurance to obtain--oh yes, and glass to fire and ship. Whew!

Last night was date night--great sushi at Magic Fingers Sushi and "Moliere" at the Landmark Arts Cinema. I was really in the mood for a good foreign, period, romantic romp, and "Moliere" delivered just fine. "Shakespeare in Love" in French (need to watch that one again soon).

When we got home I checked email (I'm obsessive that way) and found two more orders for signed copies of the book and a PO for a glass order. Time to update the firing schedule again! Okay, the song now is "The Voice" by I Robot. Time to move to a playlist, an organized theme before "The Fall of the House of Usher" by the Alan Parsons Project or something else really weird comes on. There's some alien *stuff* on my iTunes. Thank you Bryon.

And speaking of firing schedules... I am at my wit's end trying to figure out a way to efficiently manage my orders. I went to ship a big order on Monday and discovered I was short two bowls. I had one in inventory and the other I had fused for another order (shipping tomorrow) so I quick slumped the fused one for Monday's order (now to ship Tuesday) and fused another one for today's order. Went to ship Monday's order yesterday and discovered I was now missing two medium rectangular platters! None in inventory, none in process so I had to call and ask what the client would prefer I do--ship incomplete and pick up the shipping on the final two pieces Thursday, substitute something else, or wait till Thursday to ship. She picked wait so I fused the two rectangles in the medium kiln--Big Bertha was already way full--and will ship the whole order Thursday.

The point is, I am *still* coming up short at ship time about one in every five orders. I think the weak link in my process is the firing schedule. All pieces ordered get put into the schedule and completed based on their size and colorway and whether a fuse or slump is scheduled for a particular day in Big Bertha. The medium kiln is primarily used for overflow and emergency firings (like yesterday), and the little kiln is for slumping 12" bowls (I get a perfect slump every time in it due to the even heat all the way around) and small slump emergencies.

Somehow I need a better way of checking off pieces as they come out of the kiln and not removing them from the schedule until they have definitely been counted. My spouse occasionally talks trash about writing software for me to manage part of my business process. Maybe I need to take him up on it now and get something that will manage the order processing from receipt to ship and invoice.

In the meantime, off to update the schedule based on the past few days firings and add in the new order. Oh yes, and to insure and termite and util. Oy. And the piece I lost the day before yesterday? Still lost. Fugidaboudit. Made a new one yesterday. It was easier. (It's a relatively small piece).


Bill Paley said...

It's so sad watching a brilliant artist deteriorating so rapidly, just as she begins to have great success at her art.

I sob in your general direction.

Poor dear.

I wonder if Dave has made arrangements for you at the nursing home yet...

ren said...

i'm just concerned about you doing office work for termites. do they dictate to you or...nevermind.

Jodi said...

I saw Moliere this past summer at the L.A. Film Fest and really enjoyed it too.

Dee said...

brenda, maybe a low tech solution for the moment for your orders - a spreadsheet for the pieces in an order and columns for them going thru the various processes that could be checked off upon completion? a clipboard with paper and pen may be easier than data entry in a computer - of course it needs to be a brightly colored clipboard in order to be located easily ;)