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Keeping shop jobs organized


Keeping Shop Jobs Organized


“Is my job ready?” (The answer is NO, we’re behind or a part is on
order) “Which one of you jewelers has a job for JONES?” (4 people
looking for 1 job)

For many jewelers who don’t have enough work to keep them busy 5
days a week keeping up with the work load isn’t a problem. In our
store we used to keep 450 job envelopes in house every day. Close to
600 at Christmas time. With 5 jewelers, a wax carver, polisher our
shop foreman overlooked almost 9000 jobs a year coming thru the shop
and that didn’t include “While You Wait” jobs. All told probably
10,000 jobs a year.

If a job wasn’t ready at all or waiting on a part it wasted valuable
time having several employees look for one job much less
disappointing the customer.

After visually trying to keep track we finally moved to computers.
When I had the store we used Jewelry Shopkeeper POS and since then I
helped The Edge with virtually the same job tracking procedures in
their POS system.

Many programs, these two included will print at the counter an
envelope for the customer and you can take a picture of the work
taken in. Both have an envelope with a bar code which aids in moving
jobs quickly in the program.

Step 1: Take in the job and print envelope for the jeweler and a
customer’s receipt with a picture of what they left. If a jeweler
could repair the 3 items a customer left we put all 3 in one single
envelope. Some stores have 1 envelope for each item, I believe this
wastes time and serves no productivity purpose. We’d print an
envelope for each “person” doing the job. So if one jeweler could
size the ring, retip and reset a stone she got the single envelope
with all 3 items. If there was a restringing job and someone else was
going to do that then we printed two envelopes.

Step 2: In the computer assign a location of where the envelope will
travel to in the store next. This way if someone needs to know "Where
is Mrs.

Smith’s job?" easily to find the location as location is changed as
the job moves throughout the store.

room; Wax Carver; Hold Box (maybe customer is to view a wax or view
stones we received for them); Finished Box

Step 3: If we had to order any parts we kept the job envelope, not
the jeweler, in the Order Box. The program kept track of who we
ordered the parts from and we used a form we created “JOR” form
(stands for Jewelers Order Request). You can get samples of our shop
forms at: And click on “David
Geller Designed Products”. We filled out a form for each vendor we
ordered parts from and kept them on a clip board. When a box arrived,
pulled out that vendor’s JOR forms, laid the parts on each form and
the form told us the customer’s name and location of envelope.
Updated the program that they were received.

Step 4: Using the program scanned at once all jobs going to a
jeweler and used his name as location.

Step 5: When the jeweler is done shop Forman took the jobs for
inspection prior to giving to the polisher. We always had a part time
student as polisher; jewelers could polish difficult or special jobs.
Many stores the jeweler polishes their own jobs and obviously
"jeweler"and"polisher" are on in the same.

Step 5: Foreman changes job location to “Polish”.

Step 6: After polishing, foreman inspects the work. If needs more
work, given back to jeweler and location is changed. If work is
satisfactory job location is changed to “Finished Box”. A list of
these jobs is printed and handed to the sales staff. They file the
envelopes in the finished box and use the report to call the
customers from and write on the report if they reached the customer,
left a message or whatever occurred. The lists were kept in a stack.
If a customer ever questioned “you never called me” we’d look at the
list “looks like we called and left a message with your son Ralph.”

This may seem like a lot but it’s not. It’s important to keep on top
of job due dates and making sure everything is done on a timely
basis. Believe it or not we copied the Japanese “just in time” parts
ordering. Although we kept $25,000 in findings on hand (when gold was
$300) we and probably you get your vendors to ship you same day so
there’s not a lot of waiting for part.


Our big hassle in the beginning was I promised repairs for a week
and we had a hard time delivering because we had more work than could
be done in a week. So I let the shop foreman decide on the next
available date. We had a white writing board from an office supply
store in the showroom. In nice printed letters the following 4 shop
categories and it read:

All repairs will be ready on

All watch repair estimates will be ready on

All wax views will be ready on

All finished custom jobs will be ready on

Then using a magic marker the foreman wrote in the dates he felt
like we’d meet. When taking in a job the staff would point to the
sign telling the customer when their job would be ready. Few people
argued with a written sign. But if they said “OMG, that long?” we
then offered our Express Service, charging 50% more for anything done
either While You wait or next day depending upon our own ability.

“You know Mrs. Smith we offer an express service and we can have
this ring sized for you in about an hour and its only $59.00” 40% of
them said “OK”, the rest said “that’s OK; I’ll wait until the 26th.”

So now it all comes together. Keeping track on envelopes allowed us
each morning or weekly to run reports on jobs “due” a. Each morning we
ran a report of all jobs due in the next 3 days that were in the
shop. Gave a list to each jeweler who checked off it would be done on
time or if not why. We’d give the job to another jeweler and change
the location or call the customer now and let them know about the
delay before they came into the store.

b. Ran the same report each morning for every wax (or CAD) job that
was due in the next 3 days.

c. Weekly ran a report of the “Order Box” location to see if parts,
diamonds, special orders would be arriving on time. If we could see
we are getting close the office staff called the vendor. If there was
a delay the office staff either ordered a different part (with shops
knowledge) or chose a different vendor. If there was a delay the
office called the customer and wrote what occurred in the notes
section of the program and if need be changed the due date.

d. Ran a report and faxed or emailed to outside watch repairman
"will these jobs be back here this Friday?" Same for outside pearl

Reports were the only way to keep on top of 450 jobs daily.

From time to time we’d run reports on the finished box and hold box
to have the sale staff call customers to come in.

After the customer picked up the job the envelopes were bundled by
date of delivery and packed away. That made it easier to find if
needed as the computer told us the delivery date by the date of the
paid receipt.

Lastly we ran a report of all jobs delivered. If a sale was over
$250 the sales person who sold it had a list of jobs picked up and
they hand wrote a thank you note. We printed from the computer thank
you post cards for any job that was less than $249 generated. These
customers got a thank you card from “the company” thanking them for
their business. Some stores hold the envelopes for a week and
actually call the customer on the phone “just checking to make sure
everything is A-OK with your ring”.

Whoever said “cleanliness is next to Godliness” surely meant “being
organized is next to Godliness.”

David Geller
Director of Shop Profits


What is proposed sounds like a crap load of extra work. How long did
it really take to find a repair? How many times a day did a customer
come in early to justify the expense and extra paper pushing? Kinda
seems like you could just eliminate or greatly reduce the problem by
having the jewellers complete the job the day before the customers
due date as express towards the end of the post. But then again I
dont have 400 hundred + repairs in my box and I would imagine with
that many customers things could get kinda wacky.


Guy- I’ve worked in places that had more than 400 pieces a day.
Locating jobs can be a real pain when you have that many in house.

I’m grateful I had the experience of working in big shops. it can be
a great education, but I am also so glad I left that part of the
jewelry world.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer


I am a very small workshop in rural Alaska, but this could be a
great informative thread. I use a basket with manilla envelopes. I
put the date, the person’s name and their job and the item to be
repaired inside. Even if it is a drop in, i reuse the envelopes, so i
can always tell that on 12/5/13 Donna had me replace her chains on
her slave bracelet. The envelopes can hold a dozen notations of each
size, so i have a basket of my client history at my grasp. I am not
sure it would work with larger shops, but it is great for a one

In Alaska where our last snow ‘storm’ left a powder on the porch.
Seems everyone down south has our snow.


You do need to work hard to stay organized. My shop averaged about
17,000 jobs a year, to help manage that volume of work I had someone
write a jobtracking program for me. Just back dating the customer
jobs and then printing a list, by client, of the jobs due each day
meant we never would miss anything. We put a bar code on each job
and that sped up logging in/out and billing, reports, etc. But
honestly if you organize your work in job boxes, and go thru them
each morning, you always know what you have and when it’sdue.

The boxes are the reason for this post. I thought I’d share a
recommendation for some nice job boxes. If you’re like me, you use
several job boxes (jobs to do, waxes to carve, sketches, on order,
on hold…).For years I used cardboard boxes, often wrapped with
duct tape and with magic marker labels, to hold and organize job
envelopes. Tired of my dilapidated old boxes I was always on the
look-out for wooden or metal boxes that were the right size. A few
years ago I came across a company in Arizona (a husband and wife
team) that would custom make any sort of crazy wooden box you need
(even hidden compartments if you want). I had several maple job
boxes made and they have worked out great! I later ordered a few
more. The OP made me think about them, so I thought I’d share it
with the group.

These are the boxes I had them make, with the dimensions listed.
They come unfinished, so you need to varnish them yourself.

If you’re interested in ordering any, or having them make any other
wooden box for you, here is the link to their site (just use the
Contact Us link and the bottom of the page). They are very easy to
work with, willing to make whatever you need and I appreciated the
fine craftmanship.

No affiliation, just a satisfied customer. Mark