Last night was October 31st, All Hallows Eve, better known as Halloween. Kids (and adults) across the country dress up and go door to door, trick-or-treating. Have you considered all the procurement implications of a simple holiday? If this is your business then you certainly have. If not, think about what you can learn from this holiday.
Stores everywhere dedicate multiple aisles of shelf space to this one day. Costumes, knick-knacks, make-up, and of course, candy. Depending on the study you read Halloween often boasts the holiday with the most candy sales.
Where does it all start? We could follow it back pretty far, but for the purposes of today’s blog post let’s start with the candy manufacturers. October is likely their biggest month for the entire year. Purchasing departments work with forecasters to obtain the raw materials necessary to produce massive amounts of the yummy stuff consumed by the handfuls on this single night of the year.
Stores from the big-box retailers to small mom & pop shops have to clear out shelf space and increase their candy quantities available for this month. They will include everything from the ever-popular big-name chocolate bars such as Snickers, Reeses and Kit-Kat, and the seasonal suger-laden treat like candy corn (does anyone actually eat that stuff) and let’s not forget the more common and often inexpensive candies like suckers and Smarties.
Next come the adults – all the parents, grandparents and really anyone who loves the holiday sets out to procure an acceptable amount of candy to pass out to all the little ghouls and goblins when they come knocking. Some adults put as much planning into the procurement of their offerings as a small business carefully calculating the rate of candy distribution over the alloted time. Then when the night arrives they mentally track how many pieces of candy are distributed in the first half hour and adjust up or down to ensure they have adequate supplies to last the entire evening. They start early and make sure they have plenty of candy and just the right kind. Some will load up on the cheaper options to be able to give something to everyone. Others buy the “good stuff” – you know CHOCOLATE! Some wait until closer to the end of the month when retailers start discounting to clear the shelves of the inventory purchased for the holiday.
Finally, you have the kids themselves. With and without parental help, depending on their ages, who get their costumes and strike out to procure bucket loads of the stuff. With experience, they learn which vendors…errr…. houses and neighborhoods have the best goods.
So how was your Halloween candy procurement? Which step of the process did you have your hand in?