The second challenge has been the imports. We used to pride ourselves on selling only American-made products, but you just can’t do that anymore. Inventory projections have to be more accurate when ordering products from overseas because of the longer lead times.
For example, we found a piece of furniture from an overseas supplier, and we projected we’d sell 25 to 30 of it. We sold about 125. It taught us that we have to stay on top of these inventory reports. Luckily, we were able to act quickly to order more in time to avoid cancellations.
Third, our annual sales were up 30 percent in 2002. But success has its own dilemmas. In some ways, the stakes are even higher now, and we can’t afford to be wrong in our projections. It’s one thing if you’re 12 short on a product, but if you’re 64 short, that’s a problem.
As our company continues on an aggressive growth track, we know it will become increasingly important to communicate well with our vendors and to project inventory needs accurately.