Yard Sales

Our sand and soil section is no different to any retail shop, except that it is outside. How much we sell from the yard is dependant on our yard staff displaying and presenting the products in the yard in a tidy, logical and appealing way, ie. good merchandising and good service. There are also some general rules that must be followed so as the yard runs efficiently and safely.

You must park a truck out the front first thing every morning with the hoist up. (If you don’t need all trucks for driving) This is our best form of advertising.

Delivery co-ordination

The time that the first delivery leaves the nursery must be filled in on the running sheet every day, as soon as it goes. Don’t leave it until the end of the week to fill all days in. A lot of our yard customers never see our yard. They will judge us on our ability to get the products as ordered, at the time we specified, ie. the right products at the right time. You must also keep the customer informed, if you ring the customer before they ring us about a problem, they think we are professional, if they ring in they are angry and will think we are hopeless.

THE DELIVERY TIME ALLOCATION SHEETS HAVE BEEN WORKED TO HELP YOU ACHIEVE THIS, therefore:

Every delivery taken is to be put on the delivery time allocation sheet. When allocating a time for the delivery take into account how heavy the traffic is, how far the truck has to go and what sort of materials we are delivering, eg. Pavers and plants take longer than sand to unload. Think before you make any rash promises.

When taking deliveries retain the option of slotting in later ordered urgent jobs by being as vague as possible with the time with the customer, eg. “Will some time in the morning be O.K?”

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU UNDERSTAND THAT:
THE LEFT HAND COLUMN OF THE DELIVERY ALLOCATION SHEETS IS THE TIME WE HAVE DECIDED ON, IT CAN BE ALTERED IF AN URGENT DELIVERY COMES IN, THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN IS THE TIME THE CUSTOMER HAS SPECIFIED, IT CANNOT BE ALTERED.

Never tell a customer that we can arrive with a delivery at a specific time; they will be annoyed if we are a few minutes late. Your most accurate time specified should be over a two hour period. If a customer wants something at a specified time discuss it with the yard manager, do not promise something we cannot deliver. When allocating times give preference to good trade customers. Always ring a customer if we are going to be late with a delivery.

Whenever possible alternate trucks so the driver has a loaded truck when he comes in the gate. If you load it and reverse into the parking bays near the sleepers it will not cause congestion in the yard and the driver will know where to go for his next truck.

All deliveries must be rushed out as soon as possible irrespective of whether the customer is in a hurry or not, there may be a build up of deliveries later. If it’s there, do it! This way it gives us a bit of spare time to do more jobs if they come in.

Make sure the person loading the trucks partially crosses out the job on the delivery time allocation sheet when they take the invoice from the board, this will remind you and tell other staff where we are up to with our deliveries. Once the job is completed cross the complete line out with a highlighter.

Avoid taking paving / rock deliveries for Saturday/Sunday. Exceptions to this rule would be if:
(a) For good trade customers.
(b) A large order taken.
(c) There are a few only as part of a larger order.
(d) There are not many deliveries for the day
Encourage orders for Saturday/ Sunday morning before taking orders for the afternoon.

Deliveries outside specified areas. All deliveries outside the specified areas should be confirmed with the yard manager, or the manager, but the general guideline in this case is that we charge the customer at an hourly rate.(May 2006 $45 p.h.)

Payment for large deliveries. Clear cheques for more than $300 from builders or construction companies or $500 for others, before the products are sent out, or get two reliable credit references and follow them up.

When making up your delivery allocation sheets, do it ten weeks in advance and clearly mark them with day and date, this will save confusion, always highlight the date on invoices when they are not for the current week.

When the day is over do not rush off without double-checking that all the deliveries have been done. When deliveries have been completed write down how many deliveries have been done for the day and file it. This is important information that enables us to follow up problem accounts and work out our rosters.

There is some judgement in working out how long deliveries will take. However, the best way of getting deliveries out on time, and satisfying customers, is by continually checking our progress through the orders we have taken throughout the day.

The yard very quickly becomes unprofitable when deliveries are organised inefficiently, poor organisation of one delivery affects all consequent deliveries. CONTINUALLLY WORK YOUR DELIVERY ALLOCATION AND MINIMIZE THE NUMBER OF MUCKUPS, THIS IS ESSENTIAL IF WE ARE TO STAY IN THE SAND AND SOIL BUSINESS.

Banking

Banking has to go directly to bank, cannot be last delivery of day, has to be commitment, we are prepared to lose customers to make sure money gets directly to bank, cannot be any blow in driver who does our banking, just bad practice, need reliable person to do.

Invoice Writing
For the correct procedures for writing invoices please refer to the Invoice writing and computer invoice writing Job descriptions.

Be aware that some tradies will try to get their customers to pay for tools or equipment by asking for them to be put through as a bulk product on the invoice. Under no situation should anything be added to the invoice as a substitution for another product. No matter who the customer is.

General maintenance and merchandising

When you are not serving customers there is always work that needs to be done. Return quickly to this work when you are not serving customers.

Pricing and ordering

Customers will not buy products unless they are priced clearly, professionally and close to the product. This will increase sales and decrease the number of unnecessary and time wasting inquiries regarding prices. All orders must be written into the yard purchase order book without fail. If working on a weekend and a product looks like it is running low, you will need to order it for delivery on Monday.

Pushing up bins and loading trucks

See the machine operation job description for guidelines on the correct use of the loader and forklift.

Displaying timber products

These products will not sell if they look picked over. They need to be continually sorted, re-stacked and tidied with the substandard stock being specialled, clearly price it on the end so there is no discussion regarding price.

During summer the new redgum sleepers need to be covered so that they do not dry out and warp. If this does not occur customers will sort through the packs trying to find better-looking sleepers causing further damage and more work for you.

Raking and cleaning, etc

The area from the soil bins to and including the cement shed has to be regularly raked and all rubbish picked up.

Paving materials and concrete products

• All of the same pavers must be stacked in the one spot. Broken pavers and used bands tossed out and pavers regularly re-stacked.
• Empty pallets should be stacked tidily in piles for the different suppliers, eg. C & M, Boral. Make sure the fork has easy access to all pavers.

Pallets

A lot of time and money can be saved if all pallets are stacked straight away in stacks according to who they come from. Allocate a permanent spot for each supplier’s pallets. Pallets must be sorted into their labelled stacks every time they are taken to the yard, and not more than 15 pallets high. If there are more than 15 pallets, start a new pile in front of the full stack. Any irregular or broken non return pallets should be crushed and put in the rubbish immediately.

Soil and other handouts

A handout with information regarding soils must at all times be clearly displayed in the yard, in the dispenser outside yard office and on the shop display.

General maintenance

Pick up odd bits and pieces as soon as you see it e.g. the time to pick up the broken pallet or rubbish is now. Good merchandising requires continual attention.

Bagged products

Everyone in the yard is expected to bag product in slow times, stay back occasionally to do a bit of bagging. All spare time on weekends should be spent bagging, not painting forks etc. It has to become an expectation and a list should be left every weekend with what to bag. Have a stockpile of bagged soils/sand for busy times, eg Easter, Christmas.

Controlling product deliveries

An enormous amount of time can be saved if product, eg sleepers, is unloaded immediately into its final selling location. This will reduce double handling, congestion and the risk of accidents. The best time to re-stock a product is as soon as it comes off the truck.

Using the Yard Broom

The yard broom is a very expensive item and must be looked after at all times. The broom is to be attached to the forklift only. The forks will need to be adjusted out of their normal position and locked into the position that fits the top of the broom. Once the broom is on the forks the safety chains need to be hooked around the head board. The broom is to be used at a slow speed only. Using the fork controls as normal the broom is to be adjusted to the appropriate position for the surface. Extra care must be taken when running close to walls and bins. After use the broom is to be hosed and put back in a storage position where it is out of the way and will not be damaged.

Brick and Timber Saw Operation

The brick and timber saw can only be operated by authorised personal. When using the brick and timber saw you must wear the appropriate safety devices as supplied. At no time are customers allowed to enter into the area that you are working. This is not only for their safety but also yours.

The customer must always mark where the cuts should be made. In texta for sleeper cuts and crayon for paver and block cuts. This prevents any confusion and saves us a lot of time, if this is not done, the service quickly become unprofitable.

In busy times it may be necessary to advise customers to leave their pavers or sleepers to the side to be cut at a later stage when we are available. If this is the case, tell the customer to leave their name and number so that we can contact them when completed. Never promise the customer a time as it can only lead to disappointment. If the cuts are not made the same day leave a note for the next days yard person.

Customer Service

You should not be serving in the yard if you do not have the cordless with you.

General Service

• Greet as many customers as possible and at all times be polite and helpful. Apologise to customers if they are delayed due to congestion in the yard.
• Never leave the yard when you are responsible for it without making sure that some is watching it, and have the yard phone.

Product knowledge

You have to learn about the products you are selling. You should know how to lay paving, mix concrete, make mortar, put in an agi pipe, prepare an area for a lawn, build a retaining wall, what is in the soil mixes and what they are used for, etc. If you have any problems in these areas do not hesitate to ask your manager or other staff, or refer to a handout. You also have to be able calculate volumes. Convert all your measurements to metres and multiply length by width by height. [1inch = .025 metres]

Quantities

It is our policy to give the customer an honest measure. However if you give them too much we will lose money, so get it right. It is impossible to know if you have a quarter of a metre without getting off the tractor and checking. You also have to check mushroom compost because it sticks out the front. With some materials, eg. mulches, you will have to tilt the bucket when you shake it to get the quantity right. Clean your bucket between loads particularly when loading brick sand. Use the fact that we give an honest measure as a selling tool, many of our competitors do not.

Trade customers

We want you to look after our trade customers; they give us year round business. Make a bigger effort to ensure that they are not delayed and offer them a discount if you are sure they are in the gardening trade. Do not offer discounts to anyone else. You should also be on the look out for new trade customers and asking them if they want to be on our trade mailing list.

Remember that there is a difference between good service and wasting time. Return to your work after you have finished serving your customer and do not chat unnecessarily. Learn the tradie’s names and greet them by name, this leaves the tradie with a good feeling about the place. It is a good feeling to be known.

Deliveries

A lot of customers are going to judge us by our efficiency with deliveries. Stick to the delivery coordinator’s rules and keep the trucks loaded for the driver when he comes in. You should be completely familiar with the delivery co-ordinator’s job description, as you will be the key person co-ordinating deliveries. A copy should be attached to this job description. We want the name of the driver for every delivery that goes out the gate, so it is your job to make sure that the delivery records in the trucks are up to date all the time. It is a good idea at the end of the day to run through the delivery running sheet with the drivers just to make sure they are filling them in properly.

Paving and Retaining Wall Sales

The paving and Retaining wall section is an integral part of our product range. We expect you to familiarise yourself with the products that we display. Our tradies often send down their clients to get ideas on what they can use for specific jobs, make sure you give these people excellent service as they are potentially long term customers.
See the Paving Sales job description for further details.

Security

We are losing products from the yard and the most effective way of reducing this is to make the customer think we know whom they are and what they have got. Never allow a customer to leave the yard without paying. Supervise and remind part time staff to check car boots and never allow customers to leave the yard without paying.

Safety at BAAG is more important than customer service!

At all times take great care while working with vehicles. Always look over your shoulder before backing the tractor and take your time no matter how busy we are, never tear around, safety is the one thing that always is more important than customer service. We have a good safety record in the yard and we will only maintain it if you make a continual and concerted effort, having a late night or feeling a bit sick is not an excuse for incapacitating someone for life as can very easily happen with machinery.

You must control hazardous situations in the yard. If you see a dangerous situation developing, act swiftly and with authority. Control people and traffic movement. We are willing to upset customers over a safety issue.

Children are not allowed out of the cars in the bulk materials area and always take great care when they are around.

Do not touch the bucket levers while customers have their hands in or near the bucket.

You will be working in an area where heavy machinery is operating. DO NOT BECOME COMPLACENT BECAUSE ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN AND THEY COULD EASILY DESTROY SOMEONE’S LIFE. Stay well clear of all machinery and trucks. Be extremely careful with the operation of the forklift and tractor. If you are irresponsible with machinery you will not be warned before dismissal. When people’s welfare is at stake we cannot afford the luxury of warnings. All yard staff and drivers must wear dayglo safety vests or dayglo shirts at all times. The yard manager will enforce this.

Lifting

Do not lift anything that you find difficult. Always seek assistance from other staff and never the customer you are serving for heavy or awkward weights. Use the fork for lifting whenever possible and be sensible where you position products on trucks so lifting is reduced. If there is more than 2 bags of cement to be loaded always use the fork lift to raise the load and then slide cement onto the truck. When you have finished operating the fork lift, always remove the key from the ignition and hang it on the hook above the drivers head.

Back injuries can be eliminated if you are sensible with your lifting and lift properly, get your manager to show you how to lift if you are unsure. Never attempt to lift a weight or in a situation that you are unsure of. Always get help. Be very careful placing heavy objects into boots of cars, let bagged products roll into boots, do not bend forward and get help to place concrete products if necessary.

Never handle rocks with customers as this often leads to injury. Avoid lifting sleepers with customers. Always wear gloves when handling rocks, sleepers or pavers. Our most common injury at Bulleen Art & Garden is crushed fingers. Wearing gloves and care with manoeuvring will stop such injuries.

Substance abuse

Definitely no drinking, use of marijuana or illegal drugs, before or during working hours. We feel a responsibility to report our drivers or machine operators to the police for drink driving or for use of drugs. Such behaviour will result in automatic dismissal as stated in your terms of employment and as agreed with staff in the Bulleen Art & Garden Certified Agreements. While operating machinery or driving trucks at Bulleen Art & Gardens your blood alcohol or other drug content is strictly zero. The above policy has been implemented due to the significant risk such behaviour puts your fellow workers, the general public and our customers.

Caution should also be shown when using certain prescription drugs such as cold and flu tablets. If it is recommended that you do not use heavy machinery while taking them, DON’T USE HEAVY MACHINERY. There are always other tasks that you can perform, do not hesitate to tell your supervisor if you are unsure.

Times of work

There are going to be times of the year when you have to start early and work late. Our work is seasonal and you have to be available to work when we have the work coming in. Your breaks will, at times, be interrupted. We do not always have enough staff with tickets to staff the yard all day every day. Do not leave the yard unattended, always notify your replacement or the manager if you are going out or on a break.

Vehicle maintenance

All vehicles must be checked for oil and water every morning without fail. All findings must be written down in the maintenance records book. Quick attention to problems will save a lot of money and significantly reduce the risk of accidents. If a vehicle requires any water/ coolant or oil it is to be recorded with out fail in the front of the maintenance folder. Any other repairs/ maintenance that are carried out on vehicles are also to be recorded in their relevant sections in the folder.

At all times safety takes priority over deliveries and customers, the operation of the yard must be stopped if a safety issue arises, particularly with machinery.

Make sure there is never any risk of the tractor running out of diesel. It is a big job to get it going again. Particular care should be taken last thing Friday to fill the tractor, the fork lift and make sure all the trucks have been filled up and ready for the week end. Serious and expensive problems will occur if you forget to this.

Tools

Tools must be looked after and returned to where they belong. This will reduce theft and make work a lot less frustrating for the next person who needs to use them. Bulk material spades have to be continually picked up and hung on the bins. Check every morning that there are spades and tin snips available in the yard. A lot of time can be wasted otherwise.

Congestion in the yard

We have a small space to work in and this can be a major problem. It is important that you stick to the following rules. Trucks should be parked in the bays behind storage king after you have loaded them and at all other times. If possible the trucks should be parked in the empty bins if there are any and there are to be no trucks parked next to the plant reserve all day Monday so Malcolm can get his rep’s plant spec trucks to park there.
Encourage customers to take the pre-bagged materials, instead of bagging their own.

Control the traffic into the yard, instruct customers politely where they should wait while you load other trailers, etc. Avoid getting deliveries on Saturday mornings when we are busy. Never leave vehicles in the middle of the roundabout, it infuriates our suppliers and most of our customers cannot back with trailers on behind.

Use your time effectively all the time

There are going to be frequent long periods when customers will not be in the yard, use your time effectively all the time, give the sundries staff assistance putting stock away, help with delivery area of greenstock or work on merchandising or maintenance in yard.

Cash Payment

At some times customers are going to offer you cash in the yard, frequently because they want to get out of the place quickly. Never take cash from a customer at any location but the register, it leads to sloppy procedures, sometimes with the intention of ripping us off. Tell them clearly straight away that you cannot alter the standard procedure, it will continue to be a hassle if you are not up front with the customer. The cash register is now located in the yard shed so that there are no time delays, there is no excuse for a customer or staff member to take money away from the register.

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