As a baker, a fundamental facet of your business is keeping track of your orders and meeting deadlines. Knowing what is expected of you both daily and in the weeks to come helps to prevent you from overbooking yourself and maintains your customer satisfaction. How you keep track of orders and due dates is up to you and your management style.
Bakers keep track of orders and due dates using a variety of methods. Some bakers use personal planners to write their order details; other bakers use digital tools such as phone calendars and professional order management software. Still, other bakers may employ a combination of written and digital methods.
Manual tracking of your business information is not inherently better than digital tracking. What matters most is what works for you. Some bakers prefer one method over the others, while other bakers use several methods to form an effective and efficient tracking system. Read on to learn about the many ways you can manage your orders and due dates.
How Bakers Keep Track of Orders and Due Dates
No matter the system you use to keep track of your orders and due dates, it is critical that the system works for you. While there are both written and digital ways to keep your business in order, it is perfectly fine to prefer one over the other. Further, technology is known to fail at times, so having a written back-up of important information can be a lifesaver.
Here are some practical ways to track your orders and due dates successfully:
- Physical boards
- Order sheets and invoices
- Digital calendars
- Order management software
Planners Keep Everything Organized
Planners typically have one or more calendars within them. These calendars are generally broken down into monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly formats. Having more than one calendar format in your planner comes in handy for charting out when an order is placed and when the client wants the order to be complete.
On the daily calendar, which usually has more room for writing, you can record pertinent details about your orders, such as:
- Client name
- What they ordered
- Details about what they ordered
- How the order was made (in case you need to go back to the correspondence to find information)
- Pickup or delivery time
One incredible planner for bakers is the Black Planner Package + Consult Notepads and Stickers from Cake & Cookie Planner. This planner is tailored for bakers and includes the following features:
- Black planner binder
- A full year of planner pages and tabs
- Laminated baking guides
- A bookmark for page-marking
- Two 50-sheet consultation notepads
- Stickers to highlight important dates and tasks
If you are looking for a more budget-buy, you can try the Cake Order Forms/Planner/Organizer. This planner caters to bakers as well, and it includes:
- 12 monthly calendars
- 100 order pages
- An index for easy order navigation
- Baker reference guides
Use a Board to Track Orders and Due Dates
If you are a more visual person who prefers to have your order details up for display in your workspace, using a whiteboard, corkboard, or bulletin board could be perfect for you.
With a whiteboard, you can write order details with dry-erase markers and mark them off as you complete them. Further, you can purchase a whiteboard with a monthly calendar on it to record your upcoming orders so that you can check them with just a glance.
Corkboard and bulletin boards allow you to place whatever you’d like onto the board with tacks or magnets. You can place a calendar, handwritten or printed orders, and even inspiration photos on these boards (if they are a part of your process).
Some excellent whiteboards, corkboards, and bulletin boards you can use are:
- For bakers who want a whiteboard installed on their wall, this 24 x 36 in. magnetic framed whiteboard is fantastic! This whiteboard also doubles as a magnetic bulletin board.
- This 38 x 50 jumbo whiteboard monthly planner is perfect for bakers who’d like to have more organization on their whiteboard.
- If you want a more modern aesthetic for your workspace, this 21 x 15 Umbra Bulletboard is a bulletin board, corkboard, and magnetic board all in one.
- For a more decorative spin on your order tracking, this 4-pack of 13.5 x 11 hexagonal corkboards includes four cork boards framed in white and comes with 16 adorable pin wood clips.
- If you cannot choose between boards, this 36 x 24 combination whiteboard and cork bulletin board is a great option.
Order Sheets and Invoices Are Tried-and-Tested Trackers
Order sheets are available in both hard copies and digital versions. You purchase a book of order forms to use, or you can create an order sheet that is as simple or detailed as you need it.
Two highly rated order sheet books you can use are:
You can fill out the order sheet or have the client can fill it out. Make sure to go over what information the client should provide and ensure that the details are correct, and you have recorded exactly what they want. If possible, have them sign the order sheet, acknowledging that the information is correct. (Source: BakeThisHappen)
Some other digital order and invoicing tools that you can use include:
- Bookipi – A free online invoice generator for small businesses
- Quickbooks – Paid software that can create invoices and estimates
- Paypal – A free service that allows you to create and send invoices and receive payments
Keep Tabs with Digital Calendars
Digital calendars are another great way to keep track of orders and due dates. Two of the most popular choices for digital calendars are smartphone calendars and Google Calendar:
- To use your smartphone calendar, simply insert your information into the calendar app on your smartphone.
- If you choose to use Google Calendar, you can use it on your smartphone and your computer! Both iOS and Android phones have apps for Google Calendar that you can download.
With both options, you can have separate calendars for your work and your personal life. This allows you to keep your order information and life plans separate while still having the option to see them in one place.
These digital calendars allow you to switch between year, month, week, and day view. You can insert all the organizational details you would put in a physical planner (and then some) with the added benefit and convenience of having all your business information on your cell phone.
Invest in Order Management Software
If your bakery business is doing well, and you’d like to invest in an online service that assists with order management, one option that is accessible across all devices is BakeDiary.
BakeDiary is a cloud-based software that allows you to:
- Design cakes using a template
- Keep track of customers and suppliers
- Calculate prices based on time and overhead costs
- Record and scale recipes
- Keep track of due dates, tasks, and to-do lists
- Issue invoices and accept payments using a Square or Stripe account
BakeDiary is a company out of Ireland, so the monthly fee is listed as €6.95. However, the website states that this is approximately $7.80, which is a terrific price for everything it offers!
There is no rule stating that you must commit to one and only one method of tracking your orders and due dates. Feel free to explore and experiment with various methods and software to find what works best for you.
You may find that you enjoy recording everything digitally and then putting that data on a large display in your workspace. Conversely, you may decide you like writing everything by hand in a planner and then transferring data into an order tracking or invoice application. And if you’re looking for one system that seems to have it all – try BakeDiary!
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