Last week, we hosted the first Manager Training & Workshop hosted by SMCo Thrift. All in all, it was a great time of idea sharing. The crux of the day’s conversation focused on viewing thrift as a unique mix of retail plus manufacturing. For most, the retail component is obvious; however, understanding the similarities with manufacturing are easily overlooked. By applying best practices in both areas appropriately, you can greatly increase your chances of operating thrift stores profitably.
Time was spent in both a classroom environment as well as the receiving, processing and retail floor areas of a store. The structure allowed for each attendee to question long-held assumptions and then see applicable practices in real-time to reinforce the thought. It also allowed for some lively discussion on what practices need to be tweaked to fit a store’s location, size and layout, many of which are already represented in discussion on the Network Hub. (You can anticipate seeing more related conversations on the Network Hub in the days and weeks to come.)
Underlying the conversation in each area – donations, processing, retail operations, wholesale, and marketing & community engagement – was a strong focus on metrics. Without a clear target and a means of measuring whether you’re winning or losing, it’s difficult to keep your thrift operation moving towards greater profitability. The focus on the numbers also showed the interconnected nature of your thrift operation – one bottleneck impacts the potential of the entire organization. Everyone left the day knowing the importance of measuring and how to do it effectively.
Just wanted to send a quick note and thank you all for a very enlightening training session yesterday. I learned a great deal and it has energized me to push ahead to hopefully achieve some of the success you have with KARM Stores. – Teresa
Thank you all so much for the invitation and the amazing experience. We took so much away from you all and are looking forward to applying it to our procedures. – Pam
While the day provided lots of answers, it also raised questions on how we can continue to Do Thrift Better. We look forward to continuing the conversation with you.