Monday, March 24, 2008

A. Cavallo's Employee Handbook in the Draft

Time to update you guys on the state of the shop.

Our soon to be repair woman, Maddy Mayer, spent the last week helping us out with repairs and rehairs at the shop. Our gopher of the shop, double bassist Matt Nicholson, has been promoted to full time status. Possible new hire positions on the horizon, we shall see.

Meanwhile, what's been going on with me. I've occasionally posted some local concert outings but have slowed down in the upkeep of the blog. Procrastination? I think not. I've just been a bit too exhausted from typing up that employee handbook.

I may have mentioned sometime ago that I was working on some kind of manual of shop procedures. From the collection of my chicken scratched notes and hidden text files, I've finally managed to sit down and piece them together.

If it wasn't for Maddy and Matt taking over my Amazon duties, I don't think I would have ever had the chance to make some great progress in the manual's draft.

You may be wondering, why the need for a manual Chris? The boss and his employees can teach you as they go. Well, I think that's true for any job but what I noticed was that this process can be extremely time consuming and costly on the business. During my first few months here, I was able to learn a lot by playing the role of a gopher and fetching after orders barked from Alex.

The typical scenario would involve him already at work with a customer and me in the background trying to be productive by anticipating what case or bow the customer might want. In walked a family with their children looking for new sized instrument to be fitted with. Alex with his hands full would ask me to help them out- it was more like asking me stall for time. Meanwhile Les wasn't no where to be around since he hadn't gone full time at the shop yet.

Costly to the business? Yes. The possibility for them to walk out and say they'd return but forget in the process after a week or so. It took about 3 months before I knew the workings of the shop and could confidently deal with customers. The informal training period could have lasted even longer if a new employee with no music background was hired.

It's not only the time and cost issues of training an employee that makes the manual so imperative but also establishing a standard set of procedures for the daily operation of the shop. The shop has grown as a result of the entrepreneurial ventures of captain "A" but it has also also brought on management, organization, and procedural issues.

It first started with me listing an eBay account. Then the management of Amazon orders. Blogging on a weekly basis. The latest is keeping current with the website and its photos. During all that time though, you still have to keep up with the clockwork of paperwork. I've managed to do my part of managing the online end of things, but the workshop procedure needs improvement as customers continue to return to us this spring. I hope that Matt can hold the fort down there until Maddy becomes a full fledged repair woman.

With my time here coming soon to a close, this employee handbook is where I can have the most impact before I probably head back to school. Yes, believe it or not, I'm headed back to school. It's come down to architecture at University of Michigan or University of Oregon. Who knows if I'll ever hear back from American University's film program:)

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