We were attending a trade show a few weeks ago when one of our clients walked up to me and said, “I’ve never been so bored at a trade show”. I asked him why he was so bored and he handed me his book of the Tick Sheets he ran using MAPS. For the first time in their history, they had planned every category and price point for their store. They planned how many items they wanted to have in stock, how many they needed to purchase and how many they were looking to stock balance.
As you can see in this example, each area of the store had its own plan. This is showing generic Bridal and Diamond Fashion, with each category having a real-time Tick Sheet (more on this below).
As he explained it, he knew which vendors they were going to work with and approached each one with a buying plan! He asked to be shown only the items within the categories and cost price range that he had planned out, selected the best looking styles from that vendor and moved on! After a day and a half of this, he was done for the season and, I’m sure I don’t have to say it, but he was bored!
I apologized that the MAPS planning process had led to his boredom. Then I congratulated him for doing the work before the show to get a firm grip on their budget and open to buy from each and every vendor, category and price point! When he showed me his book of reports, I don’t mind telling you that a tear began to form in the corner of my eye; that our years of work on improving the merchandise planning process had brought us together in his shared boredom. I’d like to think that in the years to come we will all be bored when every retailer we work with gets as organized and prepared as this jeweler was.
If you have not created this level of inventory planning yet, the summer is a great time to get started, even if you only plan a few brands and categories. It’s an eye-opening exercise, which, with a little practice, will become second nature to you. You won’t think of the burden of the amount of work that needs to be done at the shows or start to quiver for weeks before a show anticipating the slog of a typical buying show. Instead, you’ll be relieved that your planning is done before the shows and you’ll walk into these events (or vendor meetings whether at their offices or in your stores) fully prepared.
Other jewelers were equally prepared, of course. But in this case, he was so sincere in his apparent boredom; so satisfied that the planning process worked so well and so relieved that he was finished in hours instead of days, that I felt compelled to share it with you.
Perhaps the most extraordinary feature of MAPS is the ability to update ALL of your plans based on changes to your sales and on-hand inventory in real time! This means that once your plan is created, you merely have to press a button to update the data in your plans and voilà! your on-hand and Open-to-Buy numbers are instantly updated! It’s magical really. It’s impressive. It’s MAPS!
If you haven’t begun using MAPS yet, please schedule an appointment with your BTB consultant over the coming weeks to get started. And to you, I wish you many hours of boredom at your upcoming buying shows and meetings.