MANAGEMENT MATTERS BROUGHT TO YOU BY MyApiary
By DARREN BAINBRIDGE – MyApiary founder and general manager
So, you are trying to sell your crop. Have you stopped and thought about your customer? How do they perceive you and your business? How do you present your business and product to them?
Branding matters, and it's not just a name and a good-looking logo. Branding involves every aspect of your business. How are your hives and premises presented – clean and tidy or scruffy and messy? How quickly do you respond to inquiries, and unfortunately the quality and presentation of your record-keeping and thus drums’ labelling affects your brand image too.
A big one is your drum labels. This is what your customer sees on a daily basis once they have bought honey from you and can leave a lasting impact. Are your labels just hand scribbled markings using some abbreviation that only has meaning to you, or are they nicely printed labels with clear sequential batch and drum number?
When speaking with honey packers and exporters, one of the most frustrating aspects of their business is receiving drums with handwritten markings that are hard to read and match to a spreadsheet of honey they have supposedly been shipped. Especially frustrating are duplicate drum markings that could be part of the same batch or from the same site, but different sessions or batch/site codes that look very similar when handwritten.
Some advice form packers managing large inventories and buying honey from multiple suppliers.
Clearly mark your drums. Using a printed label is preferable. Always have the year of production in your batch code. Don't use repeating drum numbers for batches i.e Batch1 Drum1-4, Batch2 Drum1-4 there is nothing worse than searching for a drum from a supplier and having many drums with the numbers 1, 2, 3 or 4 on them. Use a sequential drum number for the season and make sure every drum label is unique.
If you need to, use a spreadsheet with your internal site references and public drum ID to track your honey yields.
Below is an example drum ID we use with our extraction management software. It's clear and concise and once you know the designations anyone can read it and understand it.
Drum ID: YY-BKID-BBBB-DDDD
It is Year-Beekeeper ID-Batch ID-Drum ID
As a traveling salesman, I get to see a lot of apiary and extraction shed operations. Most are clean and tidy, but some aren't. I can tell you now, it's the untidy ones that leave a lasting impression.
Presentation and the quality of your record-keeping is one of the easiest and cheapest things you can improve to help sell your honey and ultimately reflects you and your business's values. Weigh up the cost of a $300-$400 label printer and a few hours spent tidying and cleaning your premises, versus the added value of presenting yourself as a clean and tidy professional organisation.
Then ask, who would you prefer to do business with?
Darren Bainbridge is the founder and general manager of MyApiary, a provider of beehive, apiary and honey house management software, as well as beekeeping business advisory and consultancy. www.myapiary.com