For those of you who've read enough of this blog, looked around our website or read some of my posts on the discussion boards, you know I'm pretty passionate about what we do.
But one thing I honestly hate about this business is the seasonal aspect of it. I am realistic enough to know it comes with the territory but oh how I wish we could simply sell the same number of Wilson platinum chest protectors, b/w basketball referee shirts or football referee knickers month after month. It would sure make things much easier for us from a planning perspective.
Inventory management is tough for any business. Buy too little, and you can't meet demand leaving your customers to go elsewhere. Buy too much, and experience all the negative aspects of cash flow issues. For a sporting goods company faced with multiple seasons during a year, whether it's one who caters to officials or to players, knowing how much of what to get and when to get it is quite the challenge.
The when to get it part of that equation typically starts 2 seasons in advance. For example, although we've been hot and heavy in the middle of baseball and softball (lacrosse, too), we've been behind the scenes planning ahead for 2008 football and basketball seasons. We'll also plan ahead for baseball 2009 during football season.
This planning normally includes making decisions on our product selection and placing purchase orders for what we can buy in bulk ahead of time.
If it were up to me, I'd rather complete a season, sell the last of every item for that sport, then start planning a week before the next season starts. I might even declare a 1-week moratorium on all officials' sporting goods sales worldwide for a little forced in-between seasons rest and relaxation.
But a kid can dream, can't he?!
Special note only to those considering opening your own officials sporting goods store, thus becoming potential competitors: Please re-read this article as many times as you'd like.
Keeping Up Your Skills as a Referee
2 days ago