Monday, November 02, 2009
Shortening The Supply Chain
When it comes to paint and painting supplies, I prefer to order well in advance – preferably in bulk – and be assured of specific delivery times. I always check on the minimum quantity the supplier will deliver for free and the minimum spend required for an ongoing trade discount. I want to track orders and check them as they arrive so that any mistakes can be rectified immediately.I spent all day, today, driving through the monotonous sprawl of Sydney's far western suburbs to a paint distributor that stocked a particular brand of enamel I wanted. I got lost. I got stuck on traffic-clogged freeways with no exits for miles. Hot, sweaty and pissed off, I finally found the operation. It was a well-organised, air conditioned oasis set among hundreds of others catering to building trades.A competent-looking woman set up an account for me, She emailed me a password to a website so I could check the store's inventory before making future orders online. I made sure I got her name so I could deal with her again.I used to order my materials through art stores until it began to remind me of working with art dealers. Having a 'middle man' is supposed to save time but it only makes the process more difficult. Communication works best when it's direct, not relying on other people. Having made the effort to visit the distributor and set up a relationship, I can now manage this crucial part of my logistics online and yet still have the comfort of personal contact if its needed.