Tag Archives: business

Earthquakes, hurricanes–oh my!

MapAs if a rare Virginia-based earthquake earlier in the week wasn’t enough, now the Skiviez crew has to deal with Irene knocking at the warehouse door. Who thought that shipping underwear could be so hazardous?!

While our Web site is operational and accepting orders normally, you may notice delays in receiving your order confirmation or account information e-mails as large scale power outages are affecting operations at our warehouse in Virginia.

We do plan to be operating normally by Monday morning, and we’ll update you with new information as the situation changes.

Thanks for being a Skiviez customer, and thanks for your patience!

Snapshots: Of apples and oranges

Snapshots is an occasional series on the Skiviez blog with pictures that depict scenes from the day-to-day inner workings of Skiviez.

Being the software guy for a small business also means maintaining systems that you never thought you’d ever have to maintain in your life.

Such as our VOIP phone system, for instance.

Whenever an employee complains of a problem with their phone, my first question is “what is its IP address?” is so that I can check on it remotely. Nobody ever remembers the IP address because it’s just a series of meaningless numbers like 10.1.10.94.

So I took the drastic measure of naming everyone’s phone after a fruit or vegetable. For example, the front desk phone is named “onion”:
Phone
I tend to forget that my phone is 10.1.10.94, but I sure won’t forget that its name is “kumquat”!

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Snapshots: Clean up on warehouse aisle A31

Snapshots is an occasional series on the Skiviez blog with pictures that depict scenes from the day-to-day inner workings of Skiviez.
WareHouse
Being based in Richmond, Virginia, none of us at Skiviez are too familiar with earthquakes. They’re just not the kind of thing that happens around these parts! So you imagine our surprise when one shook our warehouse early this afternoon. It even took us a few seconds to realize what was happening, but we quickly gathered everyone in a safe place.

We’re in pretty good shape! Only a few areas of product got disorganized in the warehouse, and no one was injured.

All of our services our operating normally, although we are receiving reports of the local phone network being overloaded. If you need to contact us and can’t reach us by phone, just send an e-mail to our customer support team at skiviezstore@gmail.com. We hope everyone out there is OK and being safe!

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Snapshots: Where did the FedEx cart go?

Snapshots is an occasional series on the Skiviez blog with pictures that depict scenes from the day-to-day inner workings of Skiviez.

There was a lot of finger pointing in the warehouse when one of the FedEx carts went missing. Turns out the crash that we heard was one of our FedEx carts making a break for it. Luckily, only the prides of a few red-faced employees were injured, and none of the packages were damaged. A little dusting off and they were good as new.
FedEx cart
It’s a good thing that we ship underwear and not glass figurines!

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Snapshots: A librarian’s dream

Snapshots is an occasional series on the Skiviez blog with pictures that depict scenes from the day-to-day inner workings of Skiviez.

People ask us how we can ship hundreds of orders per day with fewer people than you can count on one hand.

Here’s how:
inventory
It may look like chaos–unrelated product sizes and colors are shelved right next to one another–but rest assured that each SKU has its own shelf location documented in our inventory system.
inventory
Our wireless order picker just tells us which shelf location to go to–there’s no need to know what product we’re even trying to pick! Like a card catalog, it’s very efficient, and it’s the principal reason why an order can go from placed to shipped in less than five minutes at Skiviez.

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Snapshots: You are a valued employee

Snapshots is an occasional series on the Skiviez blog with pictures that depict scenes from the day-to-day inner workings of Skiviez.

Our accountant thought that after working at our small business for 3+ years that the bossman might remember her name for her birthday card:
Snapshot
Then again, I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, so maybe we should be easy on the guy.

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Snapshots: I “pledge” to use air freshener correctly

Snapshots is an occasional series on the Skiviez blog with pictures that depict scenes from the day-to-day inner workings of Skiviez.

Did you know that if you innocuously leave a can of Pledge in the Skiviez bathroom, then employees will mistake it for a can of air freshener?

Did you also know that if you use Pledge as air freshener by spraying it all over the bathroom, then any and all vinyl surfaces that it comes in contact with turn into a greased up slip-n-slide? (Seriously. This stuff could replace WD-40.)

And did you know that as a result of this error, stepping anywhere on the vinyl flooring in the Skiviez bathroom will now send you tripping and careening dangerously and hilariously toward the toilet?
air freshener
The things that we have to address at our weekly staff meetings at Skiviez….

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Snapshots: Death ray activated

Snapshots is an occasional series on the Skiviez blog with pictures that depict scenes from the day-to-day inner workings of Skiviez.

The president has informed me that if I park my car just right in the parking lot, then the sun aligns just so in the afternoon, reflecting off of my brake light to create a death ray beam that shoots through his office window and directly into his eyes.

death ray beam
Looks like my work is done here.

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Snapshots: Please make it stop

Snapshots is an occasional series on the Skiviez blog with pictures that depict scenes from the day-to-day inner workings of Skiviez.

Once upon a time, all of us at Skiviez got excited at the prospect of a large incoming shipment. “It’s the biggest one we’ve ever done,” we’d say excitedly. “We’re really growing! We are so awesome!”

But there is a price to success. The containers keep coming. More boxes, more sorting, more shelving.
containers
I suppose it’s no surprise that when containers come in now, people mysteriously start calling in sick!

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How many Skiviez employees does it take to change a light bulb?

Skiviez may have started out as a business run out of an apartment a decade ago, but now we’ve grown to store thousands of pairs of underwear in our 12,000 square foot warehouse.

Sky lights in our warehouse ceiling allow us to work most days in the spring and summer without wasting energy on lighting; it’s good for the environment, and it’s an overhead expense that we minimize, passing the savings onto our customers. But for those rainy days and for those winter evenings, we have to turn the lights on.

These lights are similar to the orange street light that might be lighting your neighborhood street. They’re high power light bulbs that aren’t exactly the kind that you can run out to Home Depot and buy when they start burning out.

When a few of ours started to go, we were, however, lucky enough to find a local supplier in the Ashland area. With nice, shiny new light bulbs in hand, we were ready to re-illuminate the dark corners of our warehouse. But there was just one problem:
IMG_7840-348x600
Our warehouse ceilings are 17 feet high. And our tallest ladder is 12 feet high.

This isn’t something they covered in business school.

We briefly put our heads together and came up with a few Rube Goldberg-inspired schemes. One was to push two shelves together and precariously balance the ladder on top. Another was to screw multiple broomsticks and a long arm grabber together to create a 15 foot claw that would have made Wile E. Coyote proud. And yet another was to climb up the office, hop over to a support beam, and then hang from the warehouse rafters as if playing in a very high, very lethal jungle gym.

Luckily, we came to our senses. The solution was to have an inexperienced employee drive a complicated piece of rented heavy machinery:

While we envisoned the machine running amok and tearing down shelves left and right in the warehouse, in the end, the scissor lift did the job. In fact, I think our boss had a little too much fun playing with it.

So, how many Skiviez employees does it take to change a light bulb, then? Pretty much all of them, apparently. Talk about a team effort!