Sunday, August 5, 2007

Shaking up the shop

Organizing yourself in a working environment is a constant struggle in any business; in particular the physical layout of the shop. Granted, we have a great floor space, the traffic flow for doesn't lend itself well for certain areas. For example, the space between the bathroom and main computer already serves its crammed functions as a desk for reception, register, desk, and record keeping. Downstairs the two main rooms functions of storing-packing and repair-setup have disintegrated into each other. 3 weeks without Les, the arrival of the lathe, and receiving too many boxed shipments has lead to a totally disorganized basement workshop.
Organization of space is also key from a retailing perspective. It's good that we have some improvements such as instrument racks and shelves to display instruments. However, this kind of organization cannot be the only way, as things need to be flexible as time passes by. Retailers do this all the time with their seasonal sales signs that suddenly appear on the window or a new hot item on display. We try to do the same with display room layouts, as local foot traffic will glance and notice something new in the shop.

Some might feel, why bother? Just stick with a system that works. No need for this re-organization after finally settling in at home. Some shops might object to a retailer's argument for floor space change, citing all that moving for a window shopper's peek. Others may even claim their disheveled but romanticized old world shop appearance with an aging maker working in the back to be of a better selling point.

I might say to them, hey, even if those window shoppers didn't come in, it's the psychology at work here that the shop is not stuck in the past. Regular customers realize this, and even those window shoppers. Overtime, these are the people that are the first to let the locals know where to get a violin. As for the old world view of handling customers, I personally think it's rude to make them stumble through their workshop or wait on the shop's time because it was didn't keep itself organized. I also think there's a bit of a laziness and lack of ambition for making these kind of arguments :)
Having a bit of a slow week, we decided to chip away at a massive shop reorganization. I got to work on breaking down fresh boxes. Les came early in the morning to stake his new work territory to the ventilator. A craftsman's cubicle is what he's come up with, as he surrounded himself with two benches and the new lathe. Alex's bench was move behind the lathe. No easy task to move his bench, as Alex had to come in during after hours and transfer everything off to another table before he could move his.

We've also cleaned up the upstairs show room to give it a more open space. Near the window, the cases that were once on display are now on storage racks inside the studio. In it's place is display table for all of the latest bows we have stock. Moving this table has now really freed up the back room's showcase gallery. For the first time, you can take a circular path around the room to examine the instruments hanging from the wall.

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