To be honest in this entire internship process I hardly encountered any challenge that I didn’t overcome. I guess my biggest struggle was to find meaning for this internship, and I did, which I would talk about in my next blog. I do recall a time when my advisor asked me to write a sourcing article on kayaks and canoes. When I heard about the assignment I was like, okay, I’ve done supply chain stuff before, but that is going to really tough! How do I know which supplier to choose? How do I figure out what is the best option for new small business, when you are not sure any specific details about your readers?
There’s a few questions I need to address for sure, though. What kind of kayak and canoes to buy and where to buy them? What are the best options?
This is literally all the information I got when I started the assignment, and I absolutely know nothing about this kayak and canoe industry. Great. Steep learning curve and research again. I’m excited. So first I went to browse all the online articles about kayak and canoes, especially those buyers guide for beginners to kayaking and canoeing. After an hour, I learned that there are many types of kayaks depending on their intended use: sea, recreational, white water, fishing, etc. And each type of kayak come with different length, width, depth, design, material, and various features. I have to say I was definitely a little bit lost with the overwhelming information I found online. I do want to write an article as detailed as possible, but at the same time I wouldn’t want to flood my readers with tons of information that they cannot digest. Meanwhile I have to make sure that we are offering some unique articles that are not just replicas of our competitors.
So I researched and researched. Finally at some point that afternoon I discussed with my supervisor about my research findings and came up with a somewhat decent outline of the article, suggesting that perhaps we could make this into a general format/outline for all the sourcing articles. Turned out that my supervisor actually liked my proposal. Judging from my experience in writing research briefs, it would take a lot of extra research time off if we knew exactly what kind of article format we are using and what kind of questions we are trying to answer. In other words, to standardize the article and make it more of a flow. The format goes like:
Heading: How to choose___?
1: discuss different types of____comparison, pros and cons
2: list popular models and recommendations
3: discuss different types of____, offer comparison
4: list popular models and make recommendations
5:list other equipments that you need for _____
6: where to buy them: List buying sources a)b)c) and prices
7: Tips when buying
After having this outline, things went like 50% smoother and I was pretty happy about it. It was a challenge as it took me about two full days to become a kayak/canoe expert, but I learned a lot in the importance of having a proper framework and a good workflow. I later on wrote more sourcing articles for other business, and this outline saved me a ton of time down the line.