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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:

  1. 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.)

  2. We are working towards recommitting that domestic in-stock shipments will take 10 to 14 business days to process.

  3. 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

Anovos Productions LLC April 10, 2019 0 tags (show)

Comments

Kevin T. Kolbe

Kevin T. Kolbe said:

My experience with you guys has always been pretty good. One minor quibble (you didn’t put captains rank braids on a red velour female TOS dress), but it was an “Uhura” style anyway (and my wife doesn’t really care). So it wasn’t a big deal. Your shipping is usually pretty close to estimate, and your quality is about as good as it gets. There are a LOT of con artists out there (individuals AND companies with websites)-ANOVOS is NOT one of them! You guys are top notch!

Javier

Javier said:

It’s very good that you addressed shipping; I feel more relief in this proper statement. I love Anovos but please do not do flash sales if you cannot handle the overflow and product shipping commitment.

Mark

Mark said:

James,

Of the 3 communications of late, yours is the most informative and therefore beneficial. As a business professional I’m aware of the operational issues encountered daily both those that are common and those that are not. I offer you this – Your products are very high quality items. I know first hand, but that’s half the job. You also need an equally high quality customer experience as a complement.

Now I think you’re on the right path
Mark

Tom Watkins

Tom Watkins said:

The challenge of working with overseas manufacturers IS daunting and fraught with issues like they promise delivery and then at the last minute apologies for not being able to…. all to “save face”. Very cultural thing. Then, getting samples in and they are 100% wrong. I feel your pain as I was the production supervisor for Alvin and The Chipmunk merchandise line. Thanks for the letters of explaining things, thanks for the commitment to excellence in your product line!!!

Kirk Starr

Kirk Starr said:

This is what I have been wanting to hear. A clear reason as to why I have been waiting 2 years for one of my orders to be filled. You have many excellent products that I already own and I would love to puchase more, but until you can deliver on my outstanding orders, I will wait.
Signed;
Guardly Optomistic

Luigi So

Luigi So said:

We hope you will be able to hurdle this challenge and to provide us with the promised quality products.
I am from the Philippines and this is my 2nd time to order from your good company. The 1st order I ordered were the Star Trek Beyond Starfleet patches and those met my expectations. I hope you would be able to ship the Discovery Phaser Pistol soon and am so eager to get this soon. Please do not sacrifice quality for quantity. Thank you.

Wil Colvin III

Wil Colvin III said:

Thanks for the continued updates. Honesty is always the best policy. We can understand delays as long as we are told of them before hand. There is no question of the high level of quality you put into your products. I hope to be getting my 2 pre-orders soon.

Jonathan Kui

Jonathan Kui said:

Helpful, with thanks. I’m hoping in the in-stock processing times of 2-3 weeks don’t eventually compound into ever-longer processing times down the road… My fingers are also crossed that one of the (hopecoming) forthcoming updates will give us a realistic view of the expected completion dates of the many, many items on pre-order. Thanks for the info!

Rob

Rob said:

So, how will this affect future and current sales? I REALLY want to order the newest first order Stormtrooper kit, but I have to admit that the biggest reason I haven’t ordered (beyond cost, that is) is because I want to know with certainty how long it will be before I actually see it show up on my doorstep. I’m grateful for these disclosures and acknowledging the issues but so far I’m not reading anything about how this will actually change all of the delays. If you can give some sort of trustworthy assurance that the shipping times are accurate then I will be ready to start making more orders. I think we all want Anovos to succeed. You’ve offered an amazing variety of products beyond what I’ve seen anywhere else, so please keep striving to improve like this so I can throw my wallet at you. ;-)

Barry Rice

Barry Rice said:

Keep working to get the products out the door. I cannot tell you how valuable it is to us, out in the field, to get real updates as to what is happening. Delays are not as exasperating if we know WHY there are delays…instead of just a silent wall with no communication. News helps us feel as if we are part of the process, part of the team.

Very happy to read these messages, and the news that you’re addressing the issues, and working to make improvements.

Stephan

Stephan said:

Jolly good gents.

Ronnie Beaton

Ronnie Beaton said:

The option to pay via PayPal would be helpful, as would those outwith the US (such as myself) being able to pay for an item in installments.

Alex Clark

Alex Clark said:

Very excited to know that things are moving forward. I know that products of this quality take time, and I’m eagerly awaiting the delivery of my Admiral’s tunic preorder. Anovos has been my go-to for Star Trek recreations for years now, and I’m excited that I can continue to rely on you and your team.

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