Straight Talk About Shipping
So, let’s jump right to it and talk about the elephant in the room. Shipping.
Following last November’s Black Friday sale, we have been struggling to consistently stay ahead of the orders placed for in-stock items. We are aware that many of you have seen delivery dates shipping beyond our current anticipated windows. It sucks, and there are no apologies that are sufficient for that ball being dropped. The only thing that matters are solutions.
Now what are we going to be doing about it?
Let’s start with the root cause and go from there, just for the sake of “setting the stage”: The reasons for these exacerbated delays stem from a perfect storm of internal changes, ranging from the technical to internal personnel changes. Fulfillment is both a digital task that segues into the physical realm, and you can’t have one without the other.
Beginning last summer, we began upgrading our internal systems that handled, well, practically everything in terms of data for products. From order queuing, to inventory allocation, and all points that lead to the final fulfillment of your order. While this was a Herculean task, we took this on to further optimize and shore up our process for easier streamlining.
Regrettably, this preparation and onboarding process spanned into the holiday season, and took staff members out of contention. Both of these facts were very much undesirable for obvious reasons, but once the train overcomes inertia there’s no stopping it…
The second point is that we have lost key people in the fulfillment division, and unfortunately were not able to adequately backfill during the holiday season. Due to the small nature of the company, it wasn’t feasible to simply throw people at the problem to address it, as putting people in a situation without proper training—in a high-stress situation to boot—is a recipe for further problems.
This is particularly true as our product (frankly, esoteric in and of itself) undergoes final QC spot checks before we ship it out. Further, our fulfillment personnel not only handle consumer goods, but also items that require the utmost discretion (as we offer services beyond consumer product), and so trust, discretion and adherence to Non-Disclosure Agreements play heavily into any of our talent onboarding decisions.
Now, how does that help you?
I get that’s what you’re really here for, so let’s get down to it.
Starting a few weeks ago, you will have seen a definitive increase in fulfillment after we’ve allocated proper resources to that division. The reason being is that we are catching up on the backlog, not only of in-stock products, but also of long-awaited product (such as the Rey Jakku Ensembles and Star Trek: Discovery Hand Phasers).
That said, we are going to readjust expectations to the following:
We will only be shipping on Mondays and Wednesdays. (Unless there’s a holiday that falls on either of those days, then those days will shift to the next available business day, e.g. Tuesday and Thursday.)
We are working towards recommitting that domestic in-stock shipments will take 10 to 14 business days to process.
- International shipments many take as much as 21 to 30 days to process.
The reason for this is pretty simple: our shipping people also handle other tasks in the company regarding operations, maintenance and other tasks. As you may have already surmised, we do not have a full-time fulfillment team, and due to the esoteric, highly-specialized nature of our product offerings we have to allocate our resources accordingly. File under: Work with what you’ve got.
For those who have items on pre-order, this one’s for you: as we progress through the year, we will be deploying “flash fulfillment teams” to handle the processing and fulfillment of pre-order product after it arrives at our freight forwarder (so it doesn’t even hit our warehouse, thus removing another “stop” along the product’s way, and shortening processing time). We beta-tested this during the unprecedentedly massive launch of our Classic Imperial Stormtroopers, which we saw great success in, and will be going back to that. More on that program in the future, as it’s exciting stuff.
To wrap this up, I cannot thank you enough for your patience and support. You are just like us in that we’re all insanely passionate about our fandom, and we appreciate you!
J. James, Operations Coordinator
ANOVOS Productions LLC