If you write those two words on your orders, you are much more likely to receive your whole order at the scheduled time rather than dribs and drabs as it suits the manufacturer. Their automated system is keyed to send out what they have and if you will accept partial shipments, that’s what you’ll be getting.
So, when you excitedly put out new items, you are going to be behind the “8-ball” because you will be missing sizes – usually the important middle sizes to boot. Manufacturers, while they foster an image that makes you believe they are doing you a favor, actually want your business. And when you make a reasonable request, like ship complete, they will more often than not comply. If they don’t ship to you, they won’t get paid, and your invoice payments are what grease the wheels of the cycle.
Another practice you should consider is that after the delivery date has passed and the merchandise has not arrived, you should send the manufacturer and email or letter indicating that you are no longer willing to receive this merchandise since it is beyond the agreed delivery date. You are not responsible for manufacturing delays or other problems they may encounter. You have a long list of problems of your own that you are constantly trying to solve.
Keeping track of your outstanding orders and your receipts is not only a good practice, it is mandatory. You can not afford to allow anyone else to run your store. You must be in total control at all times of all of the elements you can control. You cannot control what the manufactures will do, but you can control the time frame they do it in in regards to your store.
Not only do you need to keep track of your orders and receipts, you need to keep them in accordance with your open to buy plan. Your open to buy will determine your merchandise needs in each merchandise department for each month in the future, based on anticipated sales and desired turn rates. Once you know what you need, it is up to you to explore the available merchandise in each of your departments to find those items that fill your needs the best.
And filling your needs is more than just filling in numbers. Items must be chosen that are the best available and will also return the margins you seek. So, your purchasing should be done at retail, not cost, since you are building a retail dollar inventory to support your retail dollar sales. Keeping the flow of merchandise into and out of your store on a timely basis will lead to increasing sales, reduced markdowns, improved turnover and a positive cash flow.