Thank You to all the Operations teams I have worked with and…everyone who has taken the time to read or follow my progress….thank you! Over the last 9 months an email, a comment or just knowing people have taken the time to read what I share on Linkedin makes some of the challenging moments a little less lonely.
It can get lonely…
Anyone who hasn’t “gone on your own” won’t appreciate this comment. There is no office banter and there is no “Boss” to talk things through with. Today things are entirely down to me. I set out to offer Sales & Marketing consulting as a host of people reached out to me when I left Hornby. I have worked with a few clients and we are making some progress but “consulting” is different to “doing”.
Great Items are out there
In February when I attended the New York toy fair I went hunting for items. I found the team from Elemental Path, and their dinosaur toy. They let me play with a sample and with an A4 sheet of paper folded in half, and in half again (ask the Vivid team about this method) I worked out the simple maths of buying this item. Asda had a phrase “Eat what you cook” whereby Managers were encouraged to get out from behind their desks and see the impact of their decisions on the shop floor. I can safely say I have now lived the very real and very emotional challenge of bringing a toy to the UK market. I’ve been choking on my own cooking.
You need to have all your ducks in a row
- I did the deal and signed an agreement
- We had to get the item approved to ship to the UK
and I turned to IQS, and Jerry Burnie, a man who translates QA challenges into cosy chats. Working with Jerry is like knowing you have the SAS on speed dial
- Jerry gives you the green light, and then you can move the goods…
In a career that has spanned finance, buying, marketing and sales there is one area of business missing from my practical experience and that is Operations. I can hand on heart say that Operations is the most underrated and probably least appreciated part of an organisation.
You go on your own…who are you going to call?
I called the people who advertise in the trade magazines…guess what…I’m too small or too new for them to work with.
I reached out to my network of contacts and asked for help…I got referred to someone who then never followed up.
“Never give in, Never give up”
I googled freight forwarders and finally someone took my call. We had to get the initial shipment from L.A. to the U.K. Then we needed to split it into 2 deliveries…SIMPLE!
Nobody really wants to listen to a tale of woe but the drivers couldn’t find the warehouse in LA, I googled the ship…it looked like it was going the wrong way, and it makes your eyes water when you get the VAT bill. These things are supposed to take 4 weeks but it feels more like 12, and I’ve aged.
This experience has coincided with the Operations & Process Management module on my MBA. First we consumed a textbook on this subject. I have subsequently written a 4,000 word assignment. Trust me I have developed some appreciation of the science but nothing beats the practical!
Love your Operations Team
The next time you see someone from Operations in your organisation at the risk of breaking your HR policy give them a hug and say “Thank You”. If they ask why just let them know you are grateful they just take care of it so you don’t have to!