News / Company News / Bob's Picks (12/23/10)

Bob's Picks

Last week I discussed the difficulties a shopkeeper encounters when bringing in their shipments of live tropical fish and some of the ways to minimize the amount of stress they are subjected to. Granted none of the methods mentioned are foolproof and there are numerous conditions that cannot be anticipated with any regularity. Sometimes the safest route is taking the one with no risk, but that will usually mean lost sales as you cannot sell something you do not have.

In order for us to maintain a consistently deep and varied inventory, we need to schedule our shipments weeks in advance. The puzzle is forecasting the demand, which can be next to impossible, especially when you have major holidays involved. The best analogy would be on Monday your store has 5 customers, Tuesday 4 customers, Wednesday 50 customers and Thursday 1 customer how would you even begin to anticipate what your needs are? Now imagine you have 15 suppliers. What would your criterion be for determining where to place your order? Is your decision based solely on price, depth of inventory, quality of the product, or customer service? Or is it a combination that yields the best end result?

We tend to look at our purchasing from a very different perspective from that of fish stores, as many of our suppliers are also valued partners. For them regular shipments mean regular collection. Traditionally their supply dips during this time of year for two reasons. The first is a reduction in demand due to the decreased number of available shipping days during the holiday season. The second of which is that with the onset of inclement weather conditions, collection is often greatly hindered. If collection stops by any team of divers, that directly impacts what an exporter will have available to ship. Smaller facilities that have a team of dedicated divers are better able to ebb and flow to demand. Yet, smaller shipments come at a higher cost as import fees are fixed. In addition, the same amount of energy goes into importing a small shipment as a large one. In order for QM to maintain the scope of our diversity, we often bring in multiple smaller shipments as opposed to concentrating on fewer large shipments. Also, good collectors and stations need to be supported for conducting business in the most responsible manner and the best way to reward this is by consistent shipments. So, as you look over our stock list just remember a lot of thought goes into trying to make that the most complete inventory available on a daily basis.

Christmas week through New Years is traditionally a time of limited supply but we received some exceptional shipments this week and we have a full slate of arrivals scheduled. From our MAC Certified Short Supply Chain in Fiji we received an outstanding shipment of small sized Fiji Blue Devil Damsels (Chrysiptera taupou). These are an excellent item for the smaller sized aquaria.

From our SSC in the Maldives, the Midas Blenny (Ecsenius midas) we received last night came in with a great mix of medium and large sizes. The coloration is top notch so I expect these to go fast.

Also from our Maldivian SSC we have Purple Firefish (Nemateleotris decora) that are huge this week and showing super vivid purple coloration. These are easily distinguished from the Indonesian and Philippines color variants.

From our Caribbean supply lines we have an excellent supply of that clean up staple, the Scarlet Hermit Crab (Paguristes cadenati). These are good sized and bright red.

Coral, coral and more coral! Fiji sent over some amazing pieces last night and we have more on the way! As always be sure to talk to your Customer Service Representative to get that extra special lowdown on our huge inventory of both hard and soft corals.