9:07am : So yesterday, I briefly touched on two major responsibilities of an assistant buyer – Monday reporting and advertising. Morning coffee in hand, I prepare to tackle a third, managing on order, and hope to work on a fourth, POS’s, later today. The term “on order” refers to all new incoming merchandise that is in the process of being shipped from our vendors to stores. Therefore, managing on order has to do with tracking each month’s receipts to ensure that your department hits its planned receipt number for that month.
First, I take a look at all active PO’s (orders on which vendors are still shipping) and review how much is still “open” (left to ship). I decide whether I think these remaining units will actually ship, following up with vendors to confirm when necessary, and try to project whether we will be under, over, or right on our planned receipt number for the month. During this process, I notice one PO with no shipping activity that is already in cancel overdue status (meaning that it is past its cancel date, which is the deadline by which the vendor should have finished shipping the PO). I call the vendor to inquire and I’m informed that they had some minor last-minute production issues and that they will have everything shipped by Friday. I give them a little grief about it, but since it’s our largest vendor and the affected PO is a very small order, I let it go.
11:16am : In addition to tracking receipts, order management also involves looking ahead to the upcoming month and writing orders for that month’s receipts, which is what I move on to next.
At the beginning of each season, I work with my buyer to lay out how we wish to “flow” the season (meaning we decide which month we’re going to deliver each style that we bought). Of course, this is preliminary and subject to change once the season is underway. Our initial flow can be impacted by a number of factors, including our vendors (if they have production or shipping delays) and advertising (if a certain style is chosen to be featured in an ad). However, for next month, there are no major changes that I’m aware of. I check in with my buyer real quick to review the styles that we had originally flowed and he gives the okay to write the orders for them.
Once I have the PO’s completed, I then pass them on to our planning team, who is responsible for allocating them. In doing so, they examine selling history on how similar styles have performed in the past, with the goal being to maximize sales by allocating the optimal quantity and size breakdown of each style to the stores that will sell them best.
1:28pm : Every Tuesday at 2:30pm, we have a second styleout of whichever ad was last presented to the GMM in order to review the execution of any changes he requested as well as to tie up loose ends. This time, however, the presentation is made to Jeff Gennette, our chief merchandising officer, and Martine Reardon, our executive vice president of marketing. Together, they look at the offers and samples once more and consider the same things that the GMM did, except their focus expands to include the other pyramids in the company as well (Women’s, Home, etc). They make sure that the look and feel of the ad is consistent across all families of business so that one, unified marketing message is conveyed to the customer. Fortunately, since the tailored clothing division had no changes from yesterday, I don’t have that much prep work to do. I look over my notes to make sure everything is in order and bring my samples up to the conference room to be set up once again.