Monday, July 28, 2008

One Of Those Days

Darrin working on the serverToday was "one of those days". We had a major failure of one of our servers. This server operates our in house software and controls all order entry, pricing, and our website shopping cart system.

At 7:30am the server does a day-end reboot to prepare for all new orders, and this time it just died! Darrin our controller and our IT Manager Frank were very surprised this happened and explained it to me like this.

Imagine flying in a plane and without any warning both engines just stop. That's essentially what happened to us - both hard drives failed at the same time. You see, we have spent a significant amount of money on our computer systems and have built in the best possible redundancies, back ups and even auxiliary power. So when a server has both hard drives fail simultaneously without any blips, hiccups or warnings it truly is a one-of-a-kind "bad luck" situation.

We scrambled to order in parts and repair the main server. That took a few hours and we were powering up our server. From there we needed to rebuild the server system and data from back ups. This took several more hours. What impressed me the most was that our contingency plans, back up data and technical help all ran smooth. I had always wondered - what if we had a fire, an earthquake, a major server failure, are we prepared?

Is your business prepared, or have you had to deal with the loss of all your critical data? Were you able to be up and running quickly? Maybe now is the time to do a test or dry run to see how you fare. We all rely so heavily on technology, how long can our companies survive without it? My policy is to spend money for the best and most current IT we can afford. Even then, as we experienced, there is no guarantee things won't go wrong.

I want to say a big THANK YOU to Darrin, Frank, David for their IT expertise and a special shout out to our sales staff and customers for their understanding and patience today.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our Green Catalogue!

Go Green!Today we released our first, highly anticipated Green Catalogue.

It's printed on 100% recycled paper with soy inks, of course. This catalogue showcases our commitment and strength in the recycled products category. We packed over 2300 items inside, along with lots of "Eco Tips" and other useful information on the whos, whats, and whys of this fast changing segment.

We'll be adding the catalogue to orders, and our fantastic account managers will discuss the new catalogues with our customers. Please have a look when you get one, or log onto our website and order a catalogue right now.

All the items in the new Green Catalogue have a suggested price, and then we put a line thru the price. The reason is, we have discounted and will continue to discount the prices in the catalogue, so we did not want to commit to prices that could be too high, and scare off our customers from trying recycled products. Usually the cost for a recycled product is about the same as a non recycled product nowadays! Have a look online for up to the minute prices. More product keeps arriving in our warehouse every day.

We also launched our new mini website, Costless Cares, that tells about all things ECO in our business. Have a look, Erin our designer did a fantastic job.

Thanks for supporting the environment.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Girl Power!

Girl power! Chrissy, Sharon & Alisha"Girl POWER!" was the call I heard from the warehouse today. I had just announced we were hiring another addition to our purchasing department - Marcia who will start August 18.

Alisha is the gal who runs our daytime warehouse operations and she had shouted "Girl Power" because - as she pointed out - there were all girls in the warehouse and purchasing!

During the day, Alisha, Sharon, Tina and Chrissy run a tight ship in the warehouse receiving and stocking, while Sandy, Wendy and Marcia will run the purchasing and vendor operations in the back office.

The warehouse is always spotless and organized. Great job girls!!!