Kozmo feedback: The milkman speaks



Kozmo feedback: The milkman speaks

In response to the April 23 column by Mike Yamamoto, "The laziness factor":

Good article on Kozmo. I'm a route supervisor for a home delivery service of...hang on...milk in glass bottles and another 110 items. We've been around since 1881, and everyone knows us as the milkman.

The company is AB Munroe Dairy out of East Providence, R.I. We've got a Web site now at Cowtruck.com. We're always careful to keep our finger on the pulse of expenses. When I started there in 1987, I believe I was the first to coin the phrase "sales per mile."

It's an accurate barometer of what's going on. Going too far too fast has been cited as the great demise of most businesses, especially when they venture into completely alien territory from their original basis.

We're not lighting the world on fire, but we keep the customers happy and manage to make the payments and have some left over. When I started at Munroe we had 19 total items of inventory and four of them were seasonal, so there was never more than 16 offerings at any one time.

Eventually and pragmatically we altered the fleet and added freezers and consolidated territories. As much as limiting someone to a restricted schedule seems antithetical to good customer service, it's the only way to cap expenses and achieve longevity. People who venture into home service have to realize they are going into the transportation business, and they'd better have a handle on it...like it or not.

Bringing the world to someone's door is a pricey venture, and most everyone wants the "grand slam" buyer who purchases two of everything every time you show up. So do we; who doesn't? No one is going to establish permanency in the door-to-door market if they're totally unwilling to deal with the "base hit" buyers too.

Just like baseball, you need a whole bunch of them to score a profit but they set the table for the grand slam opportunity. This sounds corny and time-worn, but "keep it simple" is a maxim.

Rick Gregoire
Providence, R.I.