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  • Colorful Time-savers

    Kevin King, Ft. Meyers Florist, Ft. Meyers, Fla.

    "I have another order for the Peter Rabbit."

    "I think I just sold the last Peter Rabbit, but look in the display cooler."

    "No, I sold that one."

    "But I need a Peter Rabbit!"

    Sound familiar? This exchange used to happen nearly every week at Ft. Meyers Florist, which does big business in wire-sales. Keeping track of the special inventory is often tricky, but Kevin has found a simple, effective way to avoid overselling.

    At Ft. Meyers Florist, each of the wire specials is given a numbered color code. Using colored dot stickers sold at most office supply stores, dots are placed in a box for each container in stock. The appropriate colored dot is affixed to an order sheet before it goes to the designer. Once a particular color of dot is gone, everyone knows that particular container is out of stock.

    Kevin also uses a chart in the design room with a running tally of remaining containers posted on it.

    Extending his color coding idea to the delivery department, he has color coded various delivery zones on his maps. His staff puts a corresponding color dot on each delivery card envelope. Deliveries are then grouped in the storage cooler according to color.

    "This makes loading for a delivery run extremely efficient," Kevin said. "The driver can just look for the colored dot on it, making it easier to find."

    But Kevin's highly organized system doesn't stop there. He assigns each item to be delivered a number that corresponds to numbers on a routing list. The number is written on a reusable index card inserted into a plastic card sleeve — the kind used for convention name tags, which are waterproof. Drivers then can look for a number rather than reading names and addresses when loading their runs.

    "We do about 40 to 50 deliveries a day (during non-holiday times), so this helps to get those deliveries out on the trucks a lot faster," he explained.

    Kevin admits that his coding systems require a few extra steps, but with an average volume of $1.3 million in sales a year achieved at a single location with some 13 or 14 employees, Kevin has found that organization is essential to success — and colorful, too!


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