As many of you who regularly follow Mia Tui on our social media channels will know, the much anticipated Spring Summer colours arrived on our largest ever container (40 foot) last Wednesday. I had planned to write a blog post straight away but it was a completely manic week and I simply didn't have time to sit down and write until now!
If you follow us on FB and Instagram you may well have followed our stories of "Container Day" but for those who haven't seen what goes on, I thought a little blog post would be of interest.
Charlotte starts "Container Watch" around a week before the date a container is due to dock at Southampton. Usually, there is no hold-up and we receive the container on the expected date. Occasionally, however due to circumstances beyond our control a container may be delayed. Which is what happened last week. Originally, we expected the container to dock on the 18th, this gradually moved back and by Monday last week, Charlotte knew that due to the extreme weather conditions it wouldn't dock until Tuesday which meant we wouldn't receive it at our warehouse until sometime on Wednesday.
Our pre-order date was marked as the 20th to be on the safe side so that wasn't too much of a problem. However, Charlotte usually arranged for the container to be with us at 8 am to give the team time to unload from the lorry into the warehouse.
On Tuesday afternoon, Charlotte got the news that it would be the usual 8 am arrival the next day and so put our usual plan into action for the team. Then on Tuesday evening, everything changed and the container was booked to arrive later the next day. Usually not too much of an issue but this was Spring Summer collection stock and we had around 800 pre-orders due to be shipped the next day!
Wednesday morning came and the team received a text to say that thank goodness, the container would be with us at 10.30am rather than lunchtime. That extra hour and a half was a little miracle for us!
As you can see from the pictures, that I shared on our Instagram and fb stories, the double size container was huge! It held just under 800 boxes and each one has to be manually unloaded and put in the warehouse. It's hard going and we literally don't stop walking and lifting until the last box is done and the lorry is empty!
Being larger than any previous container we have had we weren't sure how it would work or how long it would take us. Remember, we were on a very tight deadline to unload, load into the warehouse and bring all the new stock needed to facilitate packing the 800 pre-orders and get them out before Royal Mail arrive at our usual 4pm pick up time.
Unloading the container is probably the easiest part of the day when we have pre-orders waiting to go out. We filled the Mia Tui transit to capacity twice to get the stock needed back to the unit. Then, of course, it all needs unloading once again in an organised fashion ready for packing orders.
On top of all this going on, the phones are still ringing and emails, messages still coming in, the shop is, of course, open and normal everyday orders are still coming in on tp of the pre-orders. You can imagine just how busy Container Day is for the whole team.
Sarah stays at the unit to man the phone, shop and emails whilst the rest of the team are unloading. We emptied the container in just under 2 hours! But there was no time to rest on our laurels. Straight back to the unit to unload and get the packing rhythm going. Emily and Rebecca were already there having gone back with the first van load with Charlotte's Dad. Charlotte then joined them with the packing while Sheila and I started stock replenishing and being runners for the packers. If you saw our quick fb live you will have seen the organised chaos!
Charlotte had a backup plan in case we couldn't get the pre-orders ready by 4 pm for Royal Mail, she had spoken to our local depot and they were waiting for us to deliver in the van to them up until 6 pm. But we were all on a mission to get things wrapped up by 4pm! No one said anything but we all knew we were up against the clock!
3.50pm came and we were quite literally running around, so close to achieving our goal! The Royal Mail lorry pulled up on the dot of 4 pm and we had done it! All the orders that had the 20th March pre-order date had been packed! Umpteen Royal Mail sacks and 12 yorks were put on the lorry ready to reach our customers.
We waved the Royal Mail lorry off and simply looked at each other in stunned silence. Our achievement hadn't quite sunk in.
There is no team quite like the Mia Tui team! x