Friday, December 9, 2011

Inventory Levels And Production Schedule

And finally, this round of data analysis and projections for 2012 is over. Today I came up with a simple method to estimate the required production rate for next year.

Here's how it works... I created columns for "expected sales", "new inventory", and "total inventory". The sales column is a high-weighted average of my guesses for show income from the yesterday's calculations. (expenditures require no inventory, hence the zeros in the second column) The new inventory column has only one entry per month, all identical, containing the retail value of my average monthly production amount. The final column is a running inventory value that drops when I sell and goes up when I produce.

The graph is another time-accurate scatter graph of the total inventory value after factoring in sales and production. The width of that swoosh shows the margin of uncertainty in the timing of my sales and production.

Once this system was set up, it was a simple matter of tweaking the "average monthly production" number until the graph looked right. These were my goals:
1. End the year with twice as much inventory as I have now.
2. Don't drop below my current level at any point. (My racks would look empty with less)
3. Make sure I can produce what I need with my time between shows. Yes, I have friends who help, but I want them to be free to do other things without dropping my inventory to dangerous levels.

And, I did it! I think I found the sweet spot where I'm not working like a dog, but I am producing enough to bring in the income that I need. It's tough to maintain production this time of year when the shows are so far apart, but this chart shows that I need to do just that. I NEED to work hard this Winter so that I have the stock built up to sell this Summer. And now I have a nice visual representation of my goals to remind me why.

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