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Inviting Suggestions - Logistics for TFI Merchandise

Discussion in 'Suggestions and Improvements' started by amogh, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. amogh

    amogh Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
    Dear TFI'ians,

    We have been toying with the idea of coming out with TFI Merchandise for some time. We have made a few attempts in the past (T-shirts during factory visit, stickers etc.). But the success of such initiative finally depends on only one aspect - L O G I S T I C S !!

    If the proper logistics are not in place it is impossible to implement any plan, no matter howsoever good it is.

    So before we even start discussing what merchandise we should make, I invite your suggestions on how should the distribution model be?

    The immediate thought that comes to my is we have Regional Coordinators (RC's) who will support in distributing the merchandise to the members in the respective areas. So the flow happens as follows:
    1. Member places order with RC
    2. RC consolidates the details of all the members and sends the data to the Moderator Team.
    3. Moderator team dispatches the merchandise team to the RC
    4. RC takes care of distributing the merchandise to the respective members
    However the above concept throws up the following questions:
    1. How many RC's do we need?
    2. Additional shipping cost (Mod Team shipping to RC + RC shipping to member)
    3. What is the Plan B for any other unforeseen situations (Say RC has to go out of town to take care of some emergency situation, work etc)
    May we invite your suggestions on how best can we go ahead with the logistics situation? Let's make this a fruitful discussion so that we are in a situation to smoothly roll out a plan and start concentrating on the merchandise.


    The Moderators Team
  2. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    At last, great initiation Amogh.

    Can't we think about handling over the distribution to a third party (I mean outsource)? I know this will involve some cost but, we can be assured that the distribution will be seamless without any dependency and hurdle.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  3. amogh

    amogh Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
    Hi Ram,

    Outsourcing takes care of only one part of the problem i.e Distribution. However we need to tightly tie-up the entire chain

    1. Place Order
    2. Process Payment
    3. Dispatch
    4. Distribute

    The distribution will still be done by the third party. However we need people to coordinate with the distributor. It is impossible for a couple of guys to coordinate everything.

    Ideally we would have loved to have someone like Flipkart do the job for us :)
  4. theblack

    theblack Esperto

    Some of my views...
    This would work if its 100% sure that always, all merchandise is going to be with the moderator Team. Now here comes a problem of locations...
    Eg, During the south-india meet and the Yelagiri meets there have been mechandise given away to participants. If the concept of Moderator and RC was to be used here then the organizer (who has the merchandise should contact the RC, the RC -> Mod, Mod -> Inventory) . Then all the TFI'ans can take it from the Mod (who holds inventory , and the same tree will follow this the goods reach the desired TFI'an)
    This is going to be a tedious process for everyone involved simply because there are more hands to exchange from.

    My suggestion to this would be to use technology a bit here..
    We anyway have a webserver which hosts TFI. If we can (you guys can :) ) salvage some amount of space and create "TFI shopping site"

    "TFI shopping site description and work flow
    1.) Any TFI'an (in india / abroad) contacts the "Existing Mods" (Any of them) about the merchandise he/she has

    Following details "SHALL/MUST" be provided by the owner of merchandise
    a.) 3-4 snaps of the merchdise from all angles. (Preferabally good quality image (low resolution should be fine as well)
    b.) Name/Location/Ph of the owner
    c.) Stocks available with him/her at the moment.
    d.) Moderator's Name/ alias on TFI who has uploaded details about the merchandise.

    2.) Mods upload the photos/ Location of the Merchandise and its owner's info (No ph no will be shared over the web) this to a branch of TFI
    Eg: teamfiat.co.in/merchandise

    3.) Any potential buyer(if they are existing TFI'ans) can directly contact the owner work out the costs for shipping and get the goods.
    3.a) otherwise they can contact the Mod (who has uploaded these informations) , get the details and call the owner and take it forward.

    1.) No need of cross communication with Mods , RC , buyers and sellers.. (less the time spent on such things more will be the productivity)
    2.) It doesn't matter where things are being shipped from , ultimately it will be the buyer's and seller's initiatives to take the deal forward.
    3.) Since there is no online transactions being done via the merchanside page this idea is "Super safe" when it comes to monetary issues.
    4.) Mods/ RCs wont be continuously tormented by TFI'ans to know when/where there shipment is .
    3 people like this.
  5. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
    sham (theblack) somehow I find your suggestion (though good) more complicated. In this way we will have so many merchandise owners and difficult to control.
    Lets discuss more, may be I didn't fully understand your views.

    amogh, for your points -

    However the above concept throws up the following questions:
    How many RC's do we need? - Each region (north+south+east+west) should have 2 RCs, one main and one back-up.
    Additional shipping cost (Mod Team shipping to RC + RC shipping to member) - The shipping to RCs will be on bulk, so not much cost, RCs to member will be normal shipping.
    What is the Plan B for any other unforeseen situations (Say RC has to go out of town to take care of some emergency situation, work etc) - Back-up RC for each region.
  6. Great initiative and great suggestion, theblack you are spoton in terms of workflow. Amogh how is this being handled by other merchandizing sites?
    Like the suggestion above, if each mods plan to keep one/couple of merchandizing responsibility it would lessen the burden i believe and easy to manage too. This initiative was much required for team fiat and many thanks for bringing this up.
  7. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    This is what my exact thought was. The third party should completely own the responsibility right from taking orders till the delivery. Flipkart is nice :). Since, they already have enough infra in place, it would be easy for them too. We should probably look out for some partnership with those guys to get this done.
  8. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
  9. PatchyBoy

    PatchyBoy Esperto

    What merchandise are we talking about here? If it is TFI branding stuff like stickers, t-shirts, etc. then wouldn't it make more sense to have distribution centres, rather than RCs? I mean, let us say we get t-shirts made in Trichur, then would the manufacturer ship to the RCs directly? Or would they ship to the Mods, who in turn will ship to RCs, who will finally ship to members?

    I think we first need to identify the merchandise. Once that is done, then we can look at where we will get it manufactured cost effectively. In which case, I believe having Item co-ordinator, rather than RCs will make more sense. I mean members from the place where we get the merchandise manufactured could be the co-ordinators. They would be responsible for:

    1. Placing orders with the manufacturers
    2. Ensuring quality of the product
    3. Shipping to members based on orders.

    This would avoid the extra shipping cost.

  10. gurjinder

    gurjinder Staff Member Janitor

    Nice. Keep the suggestions coming.

    I've been thinking on how to stock those inventories up firstly. Getting the merchandise from the production floor to the inventory. For now, i see three inventories as being sufficient. Two in the Peninsular India and one up North.

    This is only a concern with the bulky items - say TFI garments. Either we place the procurement order at one place and send out items in bulk to stock up the inventories OR we try and procure standardised merchandise at the places of the three inventories to save up on shipping.

    Other merchandise like stickers/keychains etc present no such issue and can be procured from one source and distributed thereon.

    In the initial phase, the moderators will have to manage the inventories and the distribution as well. Let's be real about this, we are not doing this for profession or to mint money from this, so we gotta do the hard work.

    Keep one day in the week for this. Process payments, package the items up, call the courier boy and send the orders away.
    2 people like this.

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