Updates on Shipping and Production
We wanted to give you a glimpse into the sausage factory to show you how things are going and a better understanding of what's happening with logistics these days and what we're doing to try to keep ahead of it all.
Now that we're producing all our plastics in the US instead of China, we can get product into the American market much faster. The Australian and UK warehouses still require some transit time. In some as yet unrealized glorious future we may be far enough ahead on production that we can stage product into all three warehouses and have a global release date...but as a small and relatively new company we are more focused on just getting product out as fast as we can right now!
That said, we've been figuring out how to speed up production. One aspect is box printing. We had had some hiccups with past printers and our friends at Sarissa came to us with a clever solution. Going forward (first batch is arriving in the US shortly) we will be printing our boxes in the UK - sending what's needed to the US - and sending unboxed sprues from the US to the UK so that they can be packed there (and also have excess sprues on hand as needed). 11 more boxes have just been submitted to the printers as well.
This arrangement actually reduces costs as well because we save on box printing (even with shipping 1/2 to the US) and we save on freight from US to UK as the volumes are much less when sprues are sent unboxed.
But what does this mean for you you ask? Ideally as we ramp this process up the boxes will be printing/shipping at the same time the sprues are being produced/shipping so that the release times between the two warehouses can start to move closer. For Australia we are using a consolidator to send all new product and restocks via air so that warehouse should receive product not too much longer after the US warehouse.
That said, we are still dealing with global freight issues. Our air shipments regularly get bumped to later planes - the most recent several times. We're told it's getting better so we hope that's the case.
Sea shipments are also regularly bumped. We wanted to show you a typical run these days:
Our latest shipment to the UK was packed toward the end of August. We were scheduled for a boat. That boat's schedule changed and it skipped the port we were meant to be picked up from. On September 8 we were booked for a new boat:
So now our stuff would leave on September 26 from New York and arrive in Southampton on October 13. So now we wait, nail bite, and hope it doesn't get bumped...
Later we see that the schedule for this ship (they are constantly moving between ports so you can see where the one that's going to eventually carry our stuff is at any time) - and the schedule is delayed and now not even arriving in New York until the 29th.
So we email the freight company:
A quick reply adds in some extra bad news:
Ah dreaded port congestion. Ports worldwide are down workers so everything is taking longer to get unloaded. This causes backups where ships are just anchored off shore waiting for their turn to dock. Here's New York right now where you can see all the green dots are ships that are just sitting around:
Now the ship that will be taking this latest shipment to the UK is en route to New York. Originally meant to leave NYC on the 26th won't actually get to port to be loaded until the 5th of October - that's another 10 days added on top of the original bump.
So as you can see, not only are shipments being bumped from ship to ship but those ships are also adding a day or two or more at each port as they move through their circuits. As of today the earliest date this one shipment can arrive in the UK port is 10/22. That assumes there aren't further delays waiting for a berth, or delays unloading, delays with unpacking the container, delays with customs, delays with local freight (or complications from all these rail strikes we keep hearing about)!
Anyway, none of this is meant to be an excuse or to complain, but just to show you what we see from our end as we're trying to get products from our factory in the US to our warehouse with Sarissa in the UK. If only we had a Hyperloop under the Atlantic!
We hope this was informative and maybe interesting. We're trying to get the Release Schedule updated so that it can display on the page better - especially on mobile devices. We've had numerous complaints about the formatting and have been trying to find a form builder that will display properly. There have been a few attempts that have not worked and we'll continue to work at it. If we can't figure it out we'll add ETAs for out of stock products directly on the product pages.
A new shipment is being prepared for the UK right now and we've just put the schedule in place for the next one after that. Our hope is that by the end of the year we will not only be caught up with restocks but also all the new sets that are in development will be releasing every week or two and we can finally realize the kind of speed and volume of releases that is our goal. Thanks for bearing with us!
UPDATE 9/30/22: Another wrinkle for us - but this time in our favor! Our cargo was switched on 9/28 to a new ship: MOL Experience. The Experience left New York, briefly stopped at Philadelphia, and is now en route to Norfolk. It will leave Norfolk early next week for the UK and is scheduled to get in a few days before the Tolten's estimate on 10/19. Still late but a little better.
UPDATE #2 10/06/22: MOL Experience is en route to Southampton from Norfolk today and expected to dock 10/15 which cuts 4 days off the previous schedule.