A Big Update AKA “Where’s My Stuff?” and What’s Next?
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” That pretty much sums up the last few months for us here at Atlantic!
TL:DR It took us longer than we thought to get US production going. Now it’s working great but we have a lot of catching up to do and we’re sorry for the delays. Also Vote on New Stuff!
We wrapped up 2021 (the halfway mark of our second year) having just completed a major move. We took all our molds out of China and set up shop here in the US. There was a learning curve to get the molds running at the same efficiency as our highly experienced team in China. A very STEEP learning curve!
After many false starts - and assumptions that we were on track (but weren’t) - we finally, actually, got on track. The team is now operating the molds with sub 25 second cycle times which translates into over 100,000 frames produced each month while operating on three shifts/7 days per week. On top of this we’ve just had a second injection press installed so that that capacity is doubled. Ultimately, after a lot of pain and frustration and scratching heads, we’ve finally got this system locked in.
During all that time we were thinking we were about to be producing at the rate we needed (and not actually doing so) we quickly started running out of sets as you fine folks bought them up like crazy (thank you!)
In the past, as stock became low in one of the three warehouses we ship from (Australia, UK, and USA) we’d either shift inventory among the warehouses or run a restock in China that would typically be with us in a month or two. But with all the molds in the US and production not matching pace, we just started running out. And because we felt we were only a week or two away from getting production running faster (it was running all along just very slowly), we thought it would be easy to catch up.
But we were wrong.
So now we find ourselves in a strange place, we’re running out of stuff at a rapid pace but FINALLY able to run molds fast enough to get restocks going quickly. Over the last couple weeks we’ve run restocks of Grognards, WW1 French, French Resistance Partisans, and British Riflemen along with new sets of Horses, Boxers, and enough sprues for Grey For Now’s 02 Hundred Hours SAS Commandos and German Sentries. Over the next two weeks we’ll have Bulldogs and Goths and more restocks.
So that IS good news but…there’s always a but. Our plastic injection and boxing takes place about 400 miles from Bridge Distribution, our warehouse and fulfillment partner for North and South America, so once things are made and boxed up it’s only a couple days before they’re ready to ship to US customers (yay!). We have a good air freight rate with a consolidator for Australia (and those shipments are smaller anyway) (yay!) but air rates for US to UK shipments has gotten stupidly expensive of late. (boo!) For example, our last shipment ended up being over 2x the cost we were quoted, and those rates are holding steady. So the bummer for our UK and EU customers is that we’re back to sea shipments. US and UK (and everywhere else in the world’s) ports are still a disaster so when you have a shipment ready it can take a few weeks even to get a spot on a boat and then the trans-Atlantic crossing, and then getting through the port and customs and final delivery to Sarissa our UK-based fulfillment partner. Way, way less time than shipping from China but more time than just throwing it on a plane and having it arrive a day later. Given this, we’re planning for six weeks door to door going forward.
So what does that mean for you then?
First, we’re sorry and would like to apologize to those of you who have outstanding orders with products that are out of stock. We’re going as fast as possible to get these out to you.
Second, we’re going to change some things here to ensure we don’t have any out of stocks going forward. We have a new monitoring system in place for the inventories at the three warehouses (Australia, USA, and UK) so that we can stay ahead of restocks.
Third, we are also going to start setting aside any products that are in orders containing an out of stock or pre-order so that when those items are back in stock the other items in the order are waiting to go out with them.
Fourth, we’re going to go much more conservative on release dates (as seen in the new Release Schedule page) and give more time between pre-order and estimated release date.
We hope these thing can help smooth out the ordering and delivery experience for you.
With all of that said, we also want to add a bit of fun to the process and put you all in the drivers seat to determine what’s coming out first. We already have new sets planned for the next few months and we have a few dozen different sets in various forms of development but we know you all have your favorites so we’re going to have you vote on which ones we should do first of the sets we’ve already announced and listed in the Release Schedule.
We also want to make it fair so that one genre doesn’t dominate so we’re breaking the list into three sections: Sci-Fi which includes our Death Fields and Mark Mondragon’s Iron-Core ranges, Classic Fantasy, and Historical. We have a big poll up this week for you to pick your favorites in these three categories. The winners will then move to the top of the heap for release in September (Sci-Fi), October (Classic Fantasy), and November (Historical). Have no fears we will also be producing other sets before and during these months as well but this way you’ll have a say in getting your favorites done faster. VOTE HERE!
We’re sorry we haven’t been able to get new and restock products out to you as fast as we hoped but rest assured we are doing everything we can to continue to refine the process, speed things up, and make more sets. Thanks for joining us on this crazy journey of hard plastic mayhem! LFG!