Organizing Sterling Silver Findings
I really can’t say enough about the importance of organizing one’s supplies, like sterling silver findings. There are two different categories of organization: physical organization, and informational organization. And I’d like to touch on both and tell you a bit from personal experience, and invite you to send me your thoughts, personal solutions that you’d like to share with others, and tips on how to improve our system at Stones And Findings. In this article, I will talk about the informational organization of sterling silver components and jewellery.
Informational organization is different from physical organization , and it’s an area that many creative people tend to neglect. As the jewellery business grows, this part becomes more important and can be one of the biggest bottlenecks for growth. Supplier and cost information must be kept in a complete and easy to find manner. Without knowing the cost, you run the risk of pricing too low, especially if you are dealing with larger quantity orders or more reorders. Without knowing who the supplier is, it becomes time consuming to trace back and approach all of the likely sources if you need to reorder. You’d be surprised at how many customers email us to find out if we were the ones who sold them certain sterling silver findings , and usually they’re in a desperate hurry to know. Sometimes people call in to reorder some sterling silver findings that are “roundish and kind of shiny” . Well, that doesn’t help much. Thankfully, we have all of their past orders, with pictures, on our computer screen. However, we’d still have to go over 10 or 15 things that fit the description before ascertaining the desired roundish shiny thing.
The most inexcusable disorganized people are the suppliers. When I bought from local sources for my jewellery making business quite often they would ask me to send the actual sample because they had no codes to begin with. And even if I give them codes that we agreed on before, they’ve forgotten. I resorted to creating a file in their office, and with each item I bought, I made sure they kept the sample in that file, with a code we agree on. I was buying large quantities, so I could do this and they wanted to make the effort. Even still, I’d they would prefer I bring a sample in because they couldn’t figure things out and was not confident in their file. Well, by the time I send them the sample, and they receive it, it could be several days. It’s just so unproductive. And I vowed that we would not be like that at Stones and Findings.
There are some very simple things that you can do to help yourselves keep organized:
- keep set of actual sample of sterling silver findings in Ziploc bag with code info
- Photocopy the component if can’t or don’t want do above
- Use a binder and some slide holder sheets to keep samples and pictures of sterling silver components organized
- Create folders in your email Outlook for suppliers, different folders for each supplier. Ditto with document, hard or soft copy
- Ask suppliers to email you copy of your invoice, in Excel format. Use this to cut and paste into a Master order form for the supplier. Enter reorder quantity and save as another PO. While you are doing this, you can also look through to see what else you’ve bought from them on that list that might be running low.
- Create a shopping list of staples that you use regularly. Keep it in a place that you’ll look at as you create orders. The staples list is a reminder so you don’t have to pay extra shipping just because you forgot some sterling silver findings that you use all the time.
Stones and Findings will be switching to our alphanumeric codes, which will be only 5 digits/letters long. This is will be more efficient. However, it will not affect your records or reorders as both codes can be used. We’re always trying to be more organized, and with ever an increasing selection of sterling silver findings, it will be necessary.
If you have any tips or ideas, please email them to us at Lucy@stonesandfindings.com