September 1, 2010

IT strategy session


Is this a good thing or a bad thing? That post title doesn’t sound very Clover, does it? Sounds more like something I would have said in my previous job. Well, at least we’re doing this at a table at a restaurant instead of in a sterile conference room.

I know you’re dying to know how this order system we use got developed (about as exciting at the title to this post, right?) Well that system (called a point of sale or POS system) is one small part of much larger plans I have for Clover’s IT. A lot of the stuff we do with computers isn’t going to be directly visible to you all, but it will show up in less obvious ways: like maintaining low prices, serving you quickly, keeping track of fresh local produce, making sure we keep the time from harvest to service as short as possible.

I’ve taken some flak from people who don’t understand why we use iPods to take our orders. Comments suggesting it’s unnecessary and a gimmick and disorganized, and confusing. I hope you all know us well enough to know we’re not into gimmicks. The order system evolved because we couldn’t keep up with demand with paper and pencil. We just couldn’t get past a certain number of customers/ minute. And, with paper and pencil we didn’t have a good record of sales. And, paper and pencil had us always yelling at everybody in the truck, which created confusion and was stressful. The order system eliminates all of that and lets us take more than one order at a time, which, if you’ve noticed, makes us much more relaxed when we’re talking to you. Now we can take time to answer your questions because the line isn’t waiting for you, it’s being processed by another order taker.

That’s Sean in that picture up there. He’s helped us a ton with our system development, basically for free. We’re really happy to have the help, my skills in this area are very limited. And we’re really excited about what is around the corner. We’re going to have the best IT system of any company in the world. I’m not joking. It’s going to be cheap, efficient, and massively enabling.

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