This week I am focusing on making material for big store format. I am working on making signage for two upcoming promotions. It is interesting to see how many considerations go into a sign that you might see in a Meijer or Kroger. At minimum you have to consider: target audience, current promotions, current product focus, pricing, package, placement and timing of the signage. I enjoy making this signage. However, I find it difficult to understand what the consumer or management of these stores really want. I am not interacting with these people on a regular basis unlike the sales team. I think that if I was provided a bit more background market knowledge I could make efficient use of my time.
The summer is wrapping up and we are heading into fall promotions. It is crazy how fast this summer has gone! In a couple weeks I will be attending the Back to School strategy meeting. I am excited because this meeting is with the Food Service on Premise team. I interested to see how home market strategies are different from on premise.
Our new intern who is a fellow FIM student is starting soon as well. She is a friend of mine. I will have to tell the individual that the job isn’t always glamorous but to have fun with it along the way. I am lucky that my employment extends into the school year so that I have the opportunity to grow my role further. I am thankful that I have a good team who is supportive and helps me to grow within my role! I can’t wait to see what the fall has in store for me and Coca-Cola. It has been a great six months.
If anyone has any further questions about Coca-Cola, feel free to ask!
I cannot believe how fast this summer is going by. As we move into August we are preparing the Lansing facility to a number of visitors for a major business transaction. I am helping prepare for this visit in Lansing. Similar to how I helped with the Kalamazoo facility. The Kalamazoo audit was today. It will be interesting to see measurable results.
We had a sales team meeting today. A a big deal was made about safety. It is interesting to see how much safety amongst the sales team and the office workers is vital to the success of the business. I agree that safety is important. However, I think that some of the tips offered in the presentation were unrealistic for daily work. I feel like it would be more helpful to show real life examples of how to work safely in the situations in which the sales team is working in. Rather than an unrealistic picture of a sales person loading product onto pallets, which never happens. In order to be truly safe, the team needs to be prepared for situations that happen on a day to day basis.
On a positive safety note… Coca- Cola won their second award for ergonomics! Ergonomics deals with efficiency and safety in work environments. In addition the Lansing facility is still at zero injuries. We must be doing something right despite my concerns with the safety presentation!
Another thing I observed in the meeting today was the importance of being prepared to lead. Management called on individuals without warning to present a portion on technologies that are used and the proper way to use them. I learned the importance of being an expert at your craft in such a way that you can provide leadership amongst co-workers and even people who are your superior.
“Perfect practice prevents piss poor performance.”
This week was the final week in Kalamazoo before the audit we are receiving! I think that it will go well. I had to coordinate with warehouse staff to make a plan on how we were going to get all of the old marketing materials out of the warehouse in time for the audit. It is interesting because we are transferring out of the “Share a Song” program into a new olympic program at the same time that the auditors are coming. Therefore I had to make sure all of the Share a Song would go out.
A internal struggle challenge that I continue to have is telling the older more experienced warehouse workers what to do. They are usually nice and accommodating. However, I can tell that some of them do not appreciate receiving direction from me as a 21 year old with less experience. I feel that this is going to be a reoccurring thing in a large amount of my career. I am going to have to figure out how to overcome this internal struggle. I have learned that being nice and saying thank you really helps when telling older workers what to do.
I also learned that a little appreciation goes a long way. This week one of my co-workers/managers took me out to lunch to thank me for all of my hard work. I felt appreciated. When I am appreciated, it makes me want to continue to work hard and improve. I always make notes that I will appreciate those who work for me in the future because it boosts morale significantly.
It will be interesting to see what feedback I receive when the audit is over. I am wishing for the best. I should get good feedback. I did a job well done.
This week is a bit uneventful. We are slowing down a bit following the Fourth of July. I think that everyone is giving a sigh of relief that the stress of the fourth is over. This week I mainly focused on performing the maintenance function of my job. This means focusing on work that is not immediate when I have more pressing needs. This needs to be done after every program cycle. We are winding down the Share a Song and winding up an olympic program. Therefore, I have to make sure the right marketing materials are organized, easy to access and accounted for in inventory. This organization will help ensure success when the new programs are implemented. I will need to access and implement these materials as soon as possible so it is nice to prepare. You know what they say…”Perfect planning prevents piss poor performance.” Be on the lookout for the new Olympic displays in stores soon!
In addition I had to run my first hot shot to a store. This is what we do when a account manager does not order enough product to meet demand. Therefore the warehouse has to special pick an order and it has to be delivered by van. It wasn’t bad, just a bit of paperwork. I drove the van, talked to receiving, completed the paperwork and then gave the product to the merchandiser who then immediately placed it on the display for the consumer to purchase.
I will go to Kalamazoo tomorrow to further work on the organization and logistics of that point of sale material in that region. I haven’t been there in a few weeks. I will likely have to get my hands a bit dirty. However, its nice to have a change of location once a week.
Week 6 is going by quickly! I had to do some customer visits with the new UFC barrels. I visited some Speedways and talked to some managers. I have found that Speedways are in general cleaner and more friendly than other gas/convenience stores in the Lansing area. I felt like store/management of some stores forget how important relationships are with vendors. For example a local convenience chain is consistently not friendly to me or co-workers. I remember this and will not be likely to enjoy shopping at one of their many locations. Relationships matter, especially in business. Relationships are mutually beneficial more than likely so be nice and find ways to help each other out! I am glad Speedway employs good people who are helpful! I also saw my friend who is interning at Speedway during one of my visits.
In addition we had an audit at our Lansing facility. They were auditing for inventory and things that had to do with trucks. I did not have much to do with this because the beginning of my week was busy. Everyone is stressed out because of the holiday. The orders are huge and truck drivers and sales are working hard to make sure there is enough product for demand in every store. My boss told me that he got 32 “restless sleep” notifications on his fit bit due to the demand.
I have been working at Coca-Cola for around six months now. I am making great relationships and continuously learning how the business works. I am thankful that I am able to sustain this employment during the school year. I am also thankful that I am able to gain more responsibility with time. My co-workers trust me now and I feel a part of the team. Not everyday is glamorous but the people make it worth it.
This week I have ran into some logistical issues regarding the delivery of some large displays that will be in 34 stores. Last week I quoted the prices for the displays. I was using a rough estimate of the sizes. Today, I went to schedule the delivery and print out the shipping labels. Turns out that the displays are one inch larger than I estimated. Usually, this wouldn’t be a big deal. However, the one inch difference is a 70 dollar shipping cost per unit. A lot of additional money x 34 units is a lot more than my anticipated costs for executing the delivery.
After talking some Fed Ex managers I learned that I will have to talk to the Fed Ex territory representative that covers the account to see if I or my boss can negotiate special pricing for this bulk delivery. I am hoping we can negotiate a reasonable price for the bulk order. Otherwise we will have to arrange for internal labor to make the deliveries which will be expensive as well.
In addition I attended the sales meeting in anticipation for the Olympics. We learned about new marketing programs, sales techniques, and priorities for the upcoming summer weeks. I am the youngest by far in these meetings so I try and soak in as much information as possible to learn leadership techniques and sales techniques that work and others that don’t work as well. In addition we did some team building exercises that were olympic themed. Our team came in second. I learned that safety should be a key priority for everyone involved in the company because injuries are very expensive for the company.Our facility is the only facility to be at zero injuries for the year in our unit! I am happy that I get the opportunity to attend these trainings/ meetings and gain additional experience.
This week one of my challenges was to figure out the cheapest way to get the display into the Lansing and Kalamazoo areas for gas stations. We have around 40 ice barrels so I had to weigh out the options of which delivery method would be most cost effective. I had to compare multiple freight options to ensure that I was choosing the most cost effective delivery options for the Lansing and Kalamazoo markets. I found that a local carrier would be the most cost effective way to deliver the barrels rather than using a worker to hand deliver the barrels. It was interesting that it costs about the same to get these large packages delivered to Kalamazoo from Lansing and locally.
My boss was happy because I saved him a lot of money which helps keep operating costs low. I learned that it is important that you are accurate in calculating costs for a program because it can be easy to use the wrong information and get the wrong numbers which can can lead you to spend more money than necessary. I would recommend double checking your numbers to ensure that you are properly representing the costs to your employer. My co worker over estimated costs by over $90 per item. Yikes.
My next step is to make sure that I get all of these barrels ready for delivery on the right day, on the right truck to the right store. In addition I have to make a plan so that the deliveries do not get refused. It is surprising how many managers of stores are not happy to see incoming displays because at the end of the day they do help increase sales. I am thinking of ways to make sure the barrels are clearly marked so that we do not have to reship them if they get refused.
This week I worked in high stress environment. The feeling of the Lansing distribution center was tense. There was a team of people from corporate that were coming in to do an audit and look at our facilities. There was a lot of pressure on me from a management perspective to make sure everything in the warehouse was organized. Last week I was busy visiting customers, therefore there was a large amount of incoming orders that I was unable to process. When I came in Monday morning, there were new and old displays everywhere that I had to inventory and make sure that they were placed according to audit standards. I was not told until Monday that corporate was coming in for an inspection. I had to work on a very time sensitive basis. This meant that I had to get my hands dirty and do some of the manual labor myself to ensure the job got done quickly and right. My work paid off because we got good feedback from corporate.
Tomorrow I continue my project in the Kalamazoo distribution center. In addition I am creating a sales presentation for my bosses to present to Walmart on Friday. This includes sales hurdles for multiple products and packages, sales, display opportunities and upcoming promotions. I am hoping my presentation will generate good feedback and secure large displays that generate revenue.
Wish me luck!
This week has been challenging. I have found myself with increased responsibility. With increased responsibility comes an increased need for time management skills. I am expected to keep up with inventory of displays, posters, coolers etc, create a delivery schedule and ensure delivery on the trucks, restructure the organization of the Kalamazoo warehouse and work towards complete execution of marketing plans in key accounts. This week I am focusing on executing the marketing plan in Quality Dairy’s in the greater Lansing area. Tuesday and Wednesday were focused on negotiating with Quality Dairy’s for key display space for the new ice barrels. If you see an ice barrel in a Quality dairy with monster, gold peak tea and coke, that was me! Store managers can be stubborn, but with the right amount of rapport they will usually warm up and see that I just want to help them move the products off of the shelf. I am improving on my time management by planning out my day in advance and leaving a little time at the end of the day to support the last minute needs of my team. Tomorrow, I am going to the Kalamazoo distribution facility to focus on preparing the warehouse for upcoming visitors. I still have to ensure that displays are set for delivery and that I update the team on the new POS inventory. I will spend the first hour of my workday doing my office work before I set out to Kalamazoo! Perfect planning prevents poor performance!
Enjoy the rest of your week!
This week I learned that I will be in charge of the point of sale for two facilities including Lansing and Kalamazoo. This means that I will be working with two sales teams, and additional district managers. In addition to my responsibilities at the Lansing facility I am working on re distributing/ re organizing all of the displays and other promotional materials within the warehouse.The Kalamazoo warehouse is a bit different because instead of holding mostly product, it holds mostly displays and other promotional materials. This means that I have to count, label, and identify how much space each particular item’s inventory will take. Then I have to communicate the direction to the warehouse workers to ensure proper placement and organization of the large amount and variety of displays. This may be a challenge because it is my first time handling a project this large. I have to make sure that I have the warehouse completely redone within a month. I have to complete this project because the Michigan market is getting bought out by Reyes Holdings. They are coming to evaluate and price the facility. Therefore the success of this project will be measurable. Though this project may be a bit of a challenge, I can really prove myself I can execute well.