Why should you be a Merchandiser in the first place? Of all the professions, why did you chose to be a merchandiser? Were you out of your mind? Or do you love this job so much? Anyways, now that you are one, let me ask you the next obvious question. Are you a lean and mean merchandiser? Now you are wondering, why should you be a lean and mean merchandiser?
The answer is for your own sanity! How can you remain sane in the world of a merchandiser with countless emails, samples, swatches, files, papers, reports, lab dips, wash mocks, phone calls, meetings, costings, follow ups…the list itself is countless. Now you know what we are talking about. You need to be a lean and a mean one to remain sane, leave alone a smart one.
Let’s get to the point. How can you be a lean and a mean merchandiser?
You are Mean when –
- You ignore that phone ringing with ultimate urgency on your desk, pleading to be picked up and answered, simply because you are in the middle of finishing your cost sheets.
- You stand up at your desk with your body language signaling ‘stay away’ as soon as you see a ‘chatty’ co-worker approach your desk for a short break.
- You say ‘NO’ to your factory counterpart asking you to check the ‘washing label’ artwork layout. He better be literate enough to check the English spellings against the standard manual you provided the factory and take responsibility for his job. Really!
- You refuse to wait at your boss’s desk when he calls you and then choses to answer a ringing phone or cell instead and goes into a long discussion on some topic of zero relevance to you, with the third party. You simply signal with gestures that you will come back later when he is free. Believe me, if the boss needs you, he will call you again. Or else forget it, you have other stuff to worry about.
- You place a ‘do not disturb’ placard on your work desk at needed times and even send out emails that you are not reachable on phone and email for specified time zones, and will answer all queries after that time zone expires. In management parlance they call this ‘manage or set the expectations’. The more you make yourself available at all times, the more people will hound you at all times. Simple.
One could go on with the list. But you get the idea of what we mean that it helps to be a mean merchandiser. Let’s get to the other bit of being a ‘lean’ one.
You are Lean when –
- You throw old and outdated records like rejected lab dips, incorrect old PO sheets, BOMs etc. ruthlessly. You are dead against the hoarding mindset of ‘You may need it someday’.
- Your box files are lean and not over flowing with stuff to the extent that it’s even difficult to turn the pages. You see these type of files only too often in offices not to know what we are talking about.
- The sample rack next to your work desk allows for some breathing space, air and ventilation to happen. It’s not overloaded with previous year’s or season’s samples, stuffed to the brim blocking all fresh air and ventilation that’s so vital for your health and sanity.
- You don’t go ‘looking for something’ which was ‘right here’ a while ago, and spend the next half an hour simply looking for that something! You are not lean if you do, and are heading towards in sanity soon. Mind you. Watch out!
- Your order status report is all updated and colorful with red, orange and green Preferably more green boxes signaling that all the major milestones on your tracking sheet are on schedule.70 green, 20 orange and 10 red shows that you are lean and in control of your life.( Learn more about the RAG(red, amber, green) approach to milestone tracking)
- Your inbox has not more than 15-20 emails per day. The rest of them are either all deleted or filed away in their proper folders. I once reached the brink of insanity when I had 5000 unread emails in my inbox. Guess what I did to save myself? I pressed the DELETE ALL button at one shot. I still lived. Work happened as before. Trust me, important stuff will find you when needed, anyways.
I think I have shared far too many trade secrets with you. You must deserve to be a part of this exclusive club of lean and mean merchandisers. So more on this later. Have some other stuff to attend to folks. Cheers!