Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Its March, Wondering about Logistics

So Reaper is supposed to deliver their Bones kickstarter at the end of the month.  They have shown some videos of them unloading some of the vampire packs from shipping containers and that got me wondering about how long it will really take them to ship all of them out.  Are we looking at Mid April to actually get the goodies.

Now Reaper is a small enough company that all the kickstarter sales allowed them to invest in new equipment.  They have about 18000 units to ship and I doubt they do anything more than a few hundred a day normally.  Even if they ramp up the shipping work to like 1000 packages a day they are going to be 4 work weeks to get them shipped.  Do you annoy all your customers by holding until all are ready or anger some who happen to be on the end of the list.  I know there was a ton of griping about Mantic's shipping of various things.

They also did not make it easy for themselves as they added over 50 options which customers could pick which need to be packed.   Obviously their pickers have plenty of experience, but when you have 18000 units to pack quickly short term how would you organize it.  Set up the minis in bins but do you organize the bins by how many people ordered that, break them into zones so that one picker works like 20 options then hand the pack to another.  Do they do one order at a time or a cart of twenty orders.  I am sure Amazon has all the issues designed down but how much effort for a one off event.

You could bring in temps to help the packing but you have to care about proper picking since with shipping costs a missed picked package costs about an hour of temp salary.  If you assume about 5 minutes a package which seems like a lot but you have get order, choose and assemble box, pick minis, check minis, pack minis, seal box, attach label, and place in outgoing pile, with 18000 packages you get 1500 man hours so 10 guys, 4 weeks if they can keep up the pace which they probably cannot.  I will be interested in what they say about the process as if comes to a close.

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