Thursday, May 26, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Buying Club Load-up

The Polyface Buying Club is a unique and successful system of serving customers. Customers place their orders online through the Buying Club website. We receive their orders, weigh, process, and pack them (referred to as "load-up"), and the orders stored in the freezer. On a designated day, they are delivered to a drop site where customers meet our Polyface driver, Richard Morris, to pick up their order.

Many people make the Polyface Buying Club a success, from accounting, answering emails, product inventory, organizing the website, and distribution. I work specifically on freezer inventory and organization. We deliver to a drop site every five weeks, and because of the number of drop sites, there are two load-ups per week.

I thought it would be fun to share with you specifically how we put together a load-up. It's kind of like "behind-the-scenes" to getting product to our customers!

This week we were blessed with a visit from apprentice Eric Barth's family. Laura, the oldest daughter in their family, was gracious and photographed Eric and I as we did our work. She helped out a great deal during load-up when we were short-staffed, too!

So, here is our day:

The walk-in fridge and freezer:

Eric and I bundle up in our winter coats and gloves, although it's already a warm morning. We gather boxes and head into the chilly freezer (notice the temperature!).

The amounts of each product needed for the day's load-up are printed on a sheet, known as the pick sheet. I read off the amounts, Eric counts and organizes the meat in boxes, and I check it off.

I keep the pen's ink from freezing by keeping it in my mouth....

Besides the walk-in freezer, we also have two reefer units that we converted into more freezer space. Eric drives the truck around and we load-up more meat for load-up.

note: no, eggs are not in our freezer. :)
We sometimes use egg boxes to store meat.

The truck load is unloaded at the sales building.

This is our packing room. We store coolers for load-ups here, and we process orders here as well. Once the cuts of meat are counted and boxed up, Eric and I haul them into the packing room.

Jackie manages and processes the orders for the load-up. We couldn't do it without her! :)

She calls out each individual order, and Eric and I gather, weigh, and pack the meat in coolers.

We have had anywhere from 40-160 orders per load-up.

Once all of the orders are processed and packed, they are stored in the walk-in freezer.

On the morning of the delivery, the apprentices load the coolers onto the bus.


Anonymous said...

To Farm Chick Kristen ~ It was such a delight to experience a “Day at Polyface” and then relive it through your great blog post! My time with you and the team was so wonderful that I may just “fly the Chicago coop” and visit again! :)

Laura B.

Kristen said...

It was a pleasure to have you at Polyface, Laura! :) Please come visit anytime!

Kristin said...

Kristen, you need a space pen!! They don't freeze :) love ya!

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