I try to make a fair amount of inventory ahead, but thanks to increased demand and people finding my stuff I sold out! That's a great problem to have and I tried to keep producing at the same time but I ran out of some hardware that I can't get locally so now I'm waiting until Saturday for UPS.
Here's what's going on. I use metric screws and inserts in the storage crates that I make. I do this because I have found that metric hardware is much cheaper because the countries which use the metric system also happen to be the countries which do all of the manufacturing of hardware for the world (Asia). The problem is that here in the US if I go to a hardware store in a pinch to get some hardware everything is in the imperial system. There's a tiny metric section, but it likely doesn't' have what I need. So I'm waiting.
A few weeks ago I looked good on hardware, but in the last few weeks I've received more orders (thank you), and that's what triggered the shortage. It made me reflect on how many consumable things it takes to make a vinyl storage crate. Here's the list:
1. Maple hardwood plywood
2. 1/2" upcut endmill
3, 1/2" downcut endmill
4. 3/16" drill bit
5. PVA wood glue
6. wood filler
7. metric inserts
8. metric fasteners
9. zero-VOC varnish
10. 220 grit sandpaper
11. 500 grit sandpaper
12. 2.5mm hex key
13. 8.5x11 printer paper
14. craft shipping tape
15. craft paper for wrapping
16. 15"x15"x4" box for shipping
17. 4x6 labels for shipping
Four of these 14" Hex Vinyl Crate sets waiting to have inserts
Every time I make a vinyl record crate I consume those things. For reusable things like endmills which I use to cut the plywood I only use a small portion of the usable life. Some other things like wood glue and varnish I use a portion of the bottle. Everything else I use quantities in the final product. That means I have to keep an eye on my stock of all these things, at least subliminally, to keep producing without delays. It also means I have to have a feel for my demand so I know how far in advance to order. This is all super common. Every manufacturer does this. Part of running a smooth business is staying on top of this.
So while I wait I'm producing ahead waiting for the parts. Stacking up partially completed work in the shop. And while I do this my beloved Hex Vinyl Crate is listed as "out of stock" online. I know I could switch it to in stock, because I do have everything almost ready but I've determined that I don't like selling things that aren't ready. It puts too much stress on me to have sold something that's not yet complete. When you see stock available on my site, it should be sitting in my shop, in a box, waiting to go to the post office.
So come Saturday/Sunday I'll get the hardware, install it, pack some, and be back in stock. Just wanted to share the back story.