Friday, October 19, 2012

Making things easier with technology

We are quickly approaching the end of our first year officially in business. It is an exciting as well as a challenging time. Over the last 9 months we have watched the customer list grow from maybe a dozen to currently well over a hundred. While this is exciting... paves the way for our dream of finally making the transition to full time farming... it does pose challenges.

The ordering process is one of those challenges. Our system right now is mostly manual. Each week we update the product email, send it too all the customers on a route, wait for replies, manually enter each order into the spreadsheet, compute the totals, load the trailer, program the GPS, and go. after delivery we track payments and carry thinggs forward on the spreadsheet. There are a lot of steps that both take time and are prone to human error. With a dozen customers it worked well. With a hundred.... well... not as well.

So... we have decided to go the next step. We have signed up for a fully functional computer system to streamline the process. With this new system customers can self sign up on a website, enter payment methods including credit card, join shares such as the herd share, browse the products available, put together an order and pay online. On our end, all of that is unattended. The system will even send the reminder email to everyone on the route automatically. We've explored the systems available and chosen the one that seemed easiest to use and supported our business model of mostly Ala carte style ordering. The chosen one seems perfect for us.

We are confident this will both improve your experience when purchasing and streamline our process, reducing the paperwork and allowing for more time producing food. Nothing will change in how we do things.... home deliveries where you choose exactly what works for you each week.... will remain as is. All that will change is how you enter the order and some additional payment options.

This is exciting! It represents a large step forward in making this little farm a sustaining business. We hope you share the excitement on your end!

Stay tuned over the next 2 or 3 weeks as we implement the new system. There may be some bumps in the road... but we will end up with an easier ordering and tracking method.

Thanks for your support these last few months! We truly appreciate and feel humbled by your confidence and loyalty to this little farm.

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