The Toko

The Toko

Being in Indonesia for almost 4 months now, I have enough stuff in my head to write a book. The culture, the village life, the people, the good, bad and the ugly. It’s all part of this diverse and lively country.

As promised in our last post we wanted to show you around in our everyday office, the family business store (store in Indonesian is “toko“).
This toko has been around for several decades. If you’ve been to Asia you might have an idea about how the tokos here look. They are messy, dirty and extremely efficient in using the available space.

When we decided to move to Indonesia we committed ourselves in modernizing this business to 2018 standards. Therefore, four months later this is where we stand statistics wise:

  • ERP system reviewed and selected (open source software)
  • 1700 different articles inventoried: these are not quantities but only different types of articles. Every type has its own quantity. We estimate these 1700 articles are about 10-15% of the total stock. so we are not there yet…
  • We keep everything updated in a main Excel as a global reference
  • We made our own barcode system based on EAN-13
  • Relocated many articles together so they are not so spread around

Because there has never been a system before we have spent most of our time counting and reorganizing. And this will not change until everything is inventoried.

Let’s take a little walk through our office!

The toko has a main entrance in the front of the house where customers come in. We always enter from the back of the house through the garden which is shown below.

You can see a mango tree on the left and a jackfruit tree on the right.
The lunch area when entering the house from the garden
The kitchen where we don’t prepare food. Primarily used for doing the dishes and cleaning up

In Asia food is everywhere almost 24/7. We don’t really have that culture in Belgium where places do have fixed hours and close pretty early.
For lunch we always get street food from the market or from the dozens of food stalls outside in the street.

In that same space where the kitchen and lunch table are, there is also a bathroom with shower and a stairs to the first floor.
On the first floor there is a little seat area next to one of the warehouses

The first floor also has 2 bedrooms intended for family or guests that stay over. These are not shown on the photo. If you ever come over and stay you will most likely sleep there.

Inside the first floor warehouse, working hard 🙂

The warehouse upstairs is the first warehouse we counted and inventoried. It took us 2 full weeks working every day. In the villages, people don’t really have weekends. They work every day. We work six and a half days out of seven with half a day off on Friday afternoon.

In the garden there is another seperate warehouse
Which is mostly used for motorcycle tires

Back on the ground floor, when you advance from the lunch table area to the front of the store you will first pass this brainstorm area (see whiteboard) where the car tires are stored. Here you can do some resting if you are “tire-ed” 🙂

More stuff walking further to the front
And more… The grey door is the front of the store but not the main entrance.
The dirty oil department 🙁
There are two ways to go from the lunch table area to front of the store. This is the second way parallel to the way described before. A lot more stuff here…
An overview of that same space but further advanced to the front. Sooooo many things

It must sound very confusing if you are not physically there but for us it’s a fair representation of our daily office. Stuff, stuff and more stuff.
I haven’t mentioned there are also 6 employees working there every day. So 11 people running around, serving customers, relocating goods and making a mess. Trying to keep order in that disorder, is and will be the biggest challenge of all…

PS: Actually, I am writing this post from Belgium. Yes, I arrived yesterday and will stay until the 9th of January. So if you have some spare time, let’s meet up and sing Christmas songs together!

Happy Holidays!

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