Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you fail to plan, your plan will fail?”
This statement couldn’t be more true for coffee roasters heading into the holiday season. Experiencing a successful holiday season requires approximately 75% planning and 25% execution. Your goal should be to set yourself up for holiday success by planning and preparing everything ahead of the season.
And, a prosperous holiday season starts by stocking up on everything from green coffee to packaging supplies.
In part one of our holiday planning series, we’ll show you:
We want roasters to have as low stress of a holiday as possible, starting with proper inventory management. So, let’s get started!
Running out of a specific green coffee right as the holiday rush begins is every coffee roaster’s worst nightmare. What’s even worse? Running out of a critical green coffee in the middle of the holiday season!
Avoid creating your personal version of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” by organizing your green coffee inventory at the beginning of September.
Start this process by analyzing the following:
Each green coffee should have a designated minimum inventory level. When a green coffee reaches this threshold, you know it’s time to reorder ASAP.
👉Don’t have minimum inventory levels set for your green coffee lots? Go do this right now! (You can come back to our article later. Trust us, your holiday sales will thank you.)
If you find yourself in need of green coffees, it’s time to forecast how much inventory you’ll need to purchase to make it through the holidays. Open your coffee roasting software, navigate to your production reports, and determine how many pounds of each coffee was roasted and sold over the last four to six months. This is your baseline inventory requirement.
You can choose to order this amount, or add 10-15% extra to accommodate the increase in holiday sales. It all depends on whether you take a conservative or “better safe than sorry” approach to your inventory. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.
⭐Don’t forget about your holiday blends! While we recommend creating blends with green coffees you already have on contract or in stock, make sure your inventory calculations factor in the green coffee you’ll use in your seasonal coffee blends.
After documenting current inventory, the next step is to determine what you plan to sell during the holidays. This step will help you better understand how much green coffee you need to source, contract, and roast, along with any additional inventory needs such as shipping, packaging, and production supplies.
We find it’s helpful to break each product down by the following characteristics:
Here’s a few examples of this approach in practice:
Of course, every holiday product lineup also includes merchandise and gifts! Repeat this process with the additional products you plan to sell this holiday season. Retail items can include:
⭐️Pro Tip: Double-check the inventory levels of retail items also being used in gift baskets. You’ll want to ensure that you have enough inventory on hand for both retail shelves and gift basket products.
The better you can document and visualize your entire product lineup, the easier it will be to calculate how much inventory you need to have throughout the holidays.
Plus, understanding your holiday product lineup streamlines the promotion process. You’ll know which coffees have plenty of inventory on hand and can be heavily promoted throughout the holiday season.
👉Download our latest eBook, “The Coffee Roaster's Guide to Profitable Holidays: Strategies for Increased Sales,” and discover how to best promote your roastery this holiday season!
Proper green coffee inventory management is vital to a successful holiday season. But so is the rest of your operational inventory!
Take note of existing supply inventory levels and determine how much more you’ll need to order before the holiday season begins. This applies to supplies such as:
Make a list of all the items you need and place your orders ASAP! Try to have all of your supplies arrive by the beginning of November at the latest. This way you’ll have everything available as the shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday arrive.
The holiday season starts by assessing your current inventory before planning and ordering the right amount of product and operational inventory to get you through the end-of-year rush.
Once this inventory is in your hands, how are you managing it? A common inventory management tool among coffee roasters is spreadsheets.
Roasters build out elaborate spreadsheets with complex equations to plan production roasts, track green coffee and operational inventory, keep track of wholesale orders, and so much more. While this approach can work well with micro-roasters or those with smaller teams, it still relies on manual data entry and a working knowledge of the spreadsheet’s functionality to operate properly.
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, chances are that you’ll have limited time to manually enter every inventory count as it happens in real-time. And what happens when the one employee who understands how to use the complex spreadsheet goes on a vacation for the holidays?
Ultimately, spreadsheets can become a major roadblock to enjoying an efficient and profitable holiday season.
Another inventory management option is to implement software like RoasterTools. Software built just for growing coffee roasters is designed to make your roastery more efficient (and your life easier during the holidays) by streamlining inventory management tasks, production planning, and order fulfillment processes.
You’ve got enough on your plate during the holidays and relying on a spreadsheet to manage coffee, retail, and operational inventory can put a wrench in your seasonal growth and profitability.