Arctica enjoyed one of the smoothest years ever in 2012. This was due to a number of improvements and changes from the lessons we learned in 2011.
2012 was our third year to offer ice sales pre-event and we were ready for the onslaught that never quite happened. In 2011, we were hit with an unbelievable amount of people wanting ice pre-event, while the previous two years we’d only had a trickle of a line. So this year, we had the early sales operation fully-staffed. While the lines were long, our stellar crew worked efficiently to keep them moving as fast as possible. We rarely had more than a 15 minute wait, and that was at the busiest of times. We increased our hours for pre-event ice to six hours per day which seemed to help even out the lines and gave everyone more time to get their ice, lessening the rush.
Working with our vendor, Crystal Ice, we arranged to have additional ice trailers onsite prior to the event. We were also improved at keeping up with ice counts each hour, allowing us to always know exactly when we needed to get more to one of the igloos. Additionally, we had a twice-a-day communication with our vendor so that they always knew how much ice to send. This helped us keep up with the never-predictable demand and was the reason we NEVER RAN OUT OF ICE at any location!
We increased our crew size this year, and added a few new positions. As safety is always a concern, we increased the size of our truck escort crew and also added a new truck driver. This took a lot of the pressure off of our existing crew and gave everyone a chance to have a break. We also added a new position of Dispatcher. The Dispatcher’s job was to manage the moving of trucks/people; keeping up with hourly pallet counts; managing the office inventory; and signing in/out radios, carts and equipment. It was challenging at first, but by the middle of the week we got into a good flow. By the end of the week, everyone agreed it was a good addition to the crew and made us all more efficient.
We added a welcomed new feature to our downtown Arctica location: additional shade for those standing in line. DPW built us a 12’x48′ shade structure on the street side of Arctica. This was a huge improvement that worked well for a few reasons. It allowed us to keep everyone in a structured line, away from blocking frontage of neighboring camps, and kept everyone out of the fire lane. Adding the shade prompted many thank yous, and kept the participants quite happy. We will be extending this in 2013 so that we have twice the shade at Arctica as well as adding shade structures to both of the satellite locations in the 3 & 9 plazas.We learned this year that we have to do better with scheduling our volunteers. We have one person who schedules all 1,200 shifts and it’s just too much. We are looking into using Shiftboard in 2013 to allow our volunteers to schedule themselves and make changes to their schedules as needed. We hope this will make it easier on everyone, including our overworked Volunteer Coordinator.
Many participants often leave tips for our crew when they are purchasing ice. These tips are split up and the crew is given the opportunity to keep their share or donate them. Most of them donate their tips. This year we collected just over $13,000. These collected tips were then donated for the benefit of polar bears, snow leopards and to our friends at Burners Without Borders.
Once again, we want to thank the participants in the city for helping us make this another year without any safety issues. The camps along our truck paths helped us immensely as they offered to help keep the roads clear and made our drivers and escorts feel welcome with cheers and cool drinks. It requires a ton of patience for our truck drivers and the truck escorts to move the ice around the city. Having that extra help from participants keeps them moving and boosts their spirits.
Finally, we want to thank our DPW crew, Just*Ice. They are as much a part of Arctica as everyone who volunteers with us. They build our structures, they camp with us and some of them are actually on our Polar Bear team too. These folks work so hard and we appreciate everything they do for us.
Looking forward to a great 2013!