[vendtalk] assistance and guidance

Vandervoorts vandervoorts at sbcglobal.net
Wed Feb 4 23:31:31 UTC 2009

Just for you, here are a few very wordy responses -

1.  Some suppliers will send invoices by email, some in an Excel
spreadsheet, I am told.  Some will provide an order history report in Excel
(so said Vistar).  I have not used this service.  I would suggest discussing
the issue with your intended supplier in advance to see what he/she can do,
like say, hopefully, a sending a "flat file", with all text, no graphics, in
simple column format for line by line reading from a MPower Braille Notes,
laptop with Jaws, or a PC with Jaws.  Having a sighted employee and you go
through each item for delivery acceptance with the delivery person, and all
three do an invoice sign-off, helps to make sure you received what the
invoice states.  But, that is not a perfect solution.

2.  Talking Cash Registers - In our state, any manager that needs a cash
register either gets the one already installed at your intended location or
else the state buys a new one from their list of approved equipment.  The
manager usually has no real choice.  I have heard other states may be
different, so inquire with the SLA and local managers in your home state.

3.  Portion Control - Adding to what has been said - Some would say that the
biggest operational problem in small business is hiring (and keeping) honest
employees.  There is no way that even a sighted manager can insure that some
employee is not over-proportioning for a friend (or adding a little
something else) on the serving line.  That happens all the time, even in
McDonalds. A sighted manager is too busy to watch every single ladle of food
being served up.  A totally blind manager at the cash register won't be able
to do so, though a sighted cashier might get an idea of large over
portioning, etc.  In your training, you will be taught about ladles and how
to know their serving size.  It is up to you to have defined recipe cards,
sheets, or menus with portions listed along with description of how to
identify the correct ladle - such as color, markings, etc.  That will, or
should, be a specific class topic or section.  Occasionally checking the
line for the use of correct ladle sizes can be done if done smoothly and
with other purposes (such as checking temps, etc.)  Some mangers purposely
hand out the correct ladle to be used at each serving station before

4. Inventory Management - There are at least two problems - The first is
"the count of what you thought you should have used during the past number
of days and the theoretical inventory on hand" and the second is "what is
actually on hand."  Unfortunately, the two never seem to match, no matter
what kind of technology or recordkeeping you think you are doing.  Doing
some form of physical inventory on at least main items is pretty important,
such as, how many hamburger patties do I have for tomorrow?  I know some
will plan a menu based on what they have on hand, first, then secondly on
what they think they can order and get quick, and thirdly, what they can
actually get on their own that might or morning!  

Menu planning and item ordering are essential activities.  From what I have
witnessed on a number of site visits, a totally blind manager usually
depends on someone running around and doing a simple physical inventory on a
frequent basis, regardless of what some computer says.  The end of month
physical inventory is more for record keeping, cash flow analysis, book
keeping, etc.  It is too late to do anything about it if you are short for
tomorrow.  So, I would recommend either you doing or getting someone else to
perform regular, quick inventories and doing a sanity-check with you near
term menus.  Your own frequency and system will have to fit the situation
and environment you are dealt, I am afraid.  Just remember that Murphy's Law
rules, and there is always something that will be forgotten, or lost or
misplaced, stolen, used, wrong sized, rotted or spoiled, or whatever.  

Unless you have a huge operation, high tech solutions are way too expensive
and/or cumbersome.  Even if they are cheap and given to you, learn to do it
the old-fashioned way.  And, in the future, see if using a high tech
solution will gain the benefit versus the cost and headaches.

Mike Vandervoort

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