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Friday, December 16, 2005
Differences In Industries
The change in business culture between my last job and my current job are sometimes striking. Largely, the main difference has been management at the new job asking me a question about how things work in the comics industry, and being shocked that there even is still a comics industry based on my answer.
The question of how to deal with vendors who are reluctant to accept returns, for example: "Dorian, for comparison's sake, how are returns handled in the comics world." They're not. "What? But what if the print run is seriously compromised?" Well, if it was a DC book, you might get a new printing. All bets are off with other publishers, though. "What about when the vendor pushes a new title and stores over-order and sales tank?" Then stores are stuck with unwanted comics. For ever.
On fill rates: "Our fill rates are falling lower than is acceptable? Why is this?" "Well, several of our larger vendors have an unusual amount of stock-outs on popular titles." "That is unacceptable. Dorian, how were poor fill rates from vendors handled in the comics world?...Dorian, would you please get off the floor, stop laughing, and answer the question!"
On dealing with vendors: "Vendor X is increasing their shipping rates." "Well, tell Vendor X that they will honor the terms of their existing shipping contract with us or we will be using Vendor Y from now on. Dorian, how would you deal with a situation like this in a comics shop?" Pray they use lube next time they decide to screw us.
On warehouse organization: "As you can see Dorian, we have a large warehouse, organized so that pickers can start at one end with their pick sheets and move from least popular items to most popular items. This way we minimize the number of items pulled in error by keeping the pickers moving in an organized manner, checking off items as they go, and speed up the pulling of the most in-demand items. How is a comics warehouse organized?" Uh, you mean warehouses are supposed to be organized?
Plus, in my old job, I'd never get to bet on the weekly in-office dog fights.