An essential part of any successful livery yard is supporting your liveries in looking after their horses. Part of this is providing extra support beyond their base livery package. This can be anything from Turn Outs, Muck Outs all the way through to Tack Cleaning and Equissage.
This is as important for a full livery yard as it is at a DIY yard. Regardless of what liveries receive as standard, offering extra help not only improves their experience but can be a way of generating extra revenue for your yard.
Part of offering extra services involves keeping track of orders and ensuring that they're fulfilled in a prompt and reliable fashion. Most yards achieve this by creating a list of the services needed for each horse ahead of each work day. This unavoidable task is simple at first but as you offer a greater range of services it can become complicated and time consuming.
For this reason we've put together our guide for keeping track of incoming orders and building your daily Work Lists.
Keeping Track Of Jobs
Orders must be recorded and organised before you can assemble your work list. As orders come from nearly anywhere, the Yard Diary, phone, email, text message or even someone shouting it to you across the yard, it is important that they're recorded and organised as soon as they arrive.
No matter how the order came in it is essential that it's recorded and stored in a safe and reliable fashion. Update and remove records as needed BUT they must always match the latest orders made by your liveries. Each record needs to include:
- Who Ordered It
- For Which Horse
- What Day
It's from these records you can build your daily work list. When you choose to do this depends on how you run your yard, but the closer to the day, the less likely you'll be updating it with last minute changes.
For the actual list we've come up with 3 different styles:
Style 1 - By the Horse
When your yard assigns grooms or stable hands to care for specific horses this style can be an excellent way to structure your work list.
Each groom can see all the services ordered for the specific horse they're caring for; so they can focus on that horse and only that horse, completing all the services for it before moving onto the next.
Even on a small yard where the same staff are responsible for all the horses, this can still be a useful way of organising orders. By completing all the orders for a horse together (e.g. Bring In and Feeding) it can save your staff time running back and forth between horses.
Style 2 - By the Service
There are lots of services which make sense to group together, such as Turn Outs and Muck Outs. For these tasks grouping all the orders for the same service together makes the most sense. When you build your work list with this in mind it can look something like the list below.
This is a great way of organising jobs when you offer a service which is commonly ordered (e.g. Muck Outs). You can focus on the task when you've already got the equipment to hand, repeating it for every horse required until you're finished.
Style 3 - Hybrid
As you'll have already seen sometimes Style 1 makes sense and sometimes Style 2. Different services call for a different approach. A hybrid solves this by building two work lists; one By The Horse and one By The Service.
Your staff will use the By The Horse list when focussing on caring for one horse on an individual level and providing the best possible customer service. And again when completing services which make sense to group together for a single horse (e.g Rugging & Booting).
Then they can use the By The Service list when completing a single repetitive task for a handful of horses across the yard. This allows them to get the equipment once (e.g. for Mucking out) and complete all the orders, before then moving onto the next service.
The hybrid approach is all about giving your staff the right tool for the right job at the right time.
Handling Changes Throughout The Day
Inevitably liveries will want to make changes to their orders, be it cancelling or amending them. A lot of yards choose to have a cut off point at which a livery can no longer change their ordered services. If your cut off point is on the same day as the service is to be fulfilled, you'll need a way to update your staff with the latest changes.
There are many ways to do this - phone calls, text messages or email. It's important though that it gets out to them as soon as possible. One way to help speed this up is by creating Contact Groups on your phone or computer. This lets you write one email and send it to all your staff in one go both quickly and easily.
Just make sure you've got someone responsible for sending the messages.
A work list whilst time consuming to produce and maintain is essential to running a successful yard. We've shown you the 3 different styles we've come up with, which you can use to help build your lists at your yard.
However if you're looking to speed this process up and make your life easier At The Yard can help. One of the great features available in the product makes the task of building a Work List quick and simple. We call it our Forecast View.
With the Forecast View you can always see an up to date view of the services ordered by your liveries. They make the orders directly in the system from a phone, tablet or laptop and it updates the forecast straight away.
It allows you to enforce cut off times for ordering services without any effort on your part. When setting up your service you choose the latest time that they can make changes by. At The Yard will then take care of enforcing the cut off for you automatically.
When using the forecast you can, at a touch of a button, swap between organising By The Horse and By The Service. This allows you to choose the style which best suits your yard and the way you work. As part of this we let your staff mark services completed so you can keep an eye on progress and provide peace of mind to your customers.
And when a livery makes or updates an order for a service an automatic notification system sends emails to all your staff, letting them know the latest changes so they can get straight to work.
This is just one of the many features of At The Yard that makes running your yard quicker and easier. If you would like a demonstration of our Forecast view or any of the other features of At The Yard please Get In touch.