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The Problem With Being A Small Company

We’re back from Origins! And naturally, we’ve come back to an absolute storm of people asking about when their books will ship. The short answer to that is they very likely already have, with the longer answer being… well, longer. Here goes an attempt to do “longer” without getting TOO long.

Shipping Started On The 23rd: In actuality, it may have even started a day or two earlier than that. But note our careful use of the phrase “start shipping” throughout our announcements — at the scale we operate at, we simply can’t take a population of 1,600+ preorders and get them all shipped out on the very same day.  The warehouse is working through all of this pretty rapidly all the same, on the scale of a few hundred orders per session, despite some hiccups like fedex not delivering the refill of packing materials on the day it said it would, or medical issues for one or more of the packing squad, or some of their crew needing to run off to Origins to make sure everything works on the ground there as well.  I asked the warehouse to do their best to serve our earlier preorders first, so they’re going through these mostly sequentially.

Slowly Entering Tracking Data Is Slow. It’s Also Manual, and Done By One Guy: I (Fred) am the guy who enters information into the Evil Hat webstore. I also do other small tasks like take care of my one-year-old, coordinate the Evil Hat team at Origins, run the company’s day to day administrative bits, answer the customer service emails (while on the road, at Origins), and so forth! These distractions mean that I haven’t had time this past week since I flipped the switch that let the preorders transmit to the warehouse to enter in any tracking data (that’s what the change of order status to “Preparing” meant). :) I’ll get started on that this week, but I won’t be surprised if folks get their packages in advance of the tracking information going out. Again, 1,600+ preorders is a hell of a work-load, and entering that data has to happen alongside everything else I just listed (and more).

Our Warehouse Is In The Middle Of The Desert: So even UPS — the method we’re using for any “free shipping” order in the USA — can be a little slow in getting the shipments out there. We’ve got them on a regular “dead-head” rotation out into the wilds of the black rock desert, though, with all the packages we’ve got for them these past and current weeks. But it does add time.

We are doing our absolute best to make sure this stuff happens as quickly as we can make it happen — but yes, many game stores will have the game in stock already because, frankly, they outnumber us and are gonna be just a tad more efficient at spreading product throughout the land. But everything “free shipping” from us is getting shipped out from UPS, and tracking information does exist, so we’re hoping we can get as on top of this as is possible now that I’m back from Origins and many of the preorders are already shipped!

July 4th Update: I’ve been piecing some more details together over the course of the 4th and had a brisk conversation by cell phone with the warehouse head as he was on his way with his family to the hospital (again). The rundown can be found over at RPG.net: http://forum.rpg.net/showpost.php?p=12437409&postcount=202

July 6th Update: Some more perspective on the shipping situation over on Fred Hicks’ blog, Deadly Fredly: http://www.deadlyfredly.com/2010/07/some-lessons-from-kinda-screwing-up/

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  1. Mark
    July 19th, 2010 at 14:47 | #1

    Sweet, shot Colin off an email – bit of luck they are just about to send em out :) Doesn’t suprise me milsims wound up with a bigger order – got my first thing off them years ago – came wrapped twice around with cardboard that was a couple of cm to large lengthways, and in a plastic bag – so all dents were taken by the cardboard, and no rain damage either. The stuff i got looked in better condition than my local bookstore can usually manage.

  2. Scott
    July 20th, 2010 at 08:10 | #2

    @Mark The packaging job on the books ordered directly from Evil Hat was really well done. Not a bump, dent or scratch on the books. I’m very happy with the quality of the books and it was definitely worth the price.

    Evil Hat needs to now get some custom Dresden Fudge dice made up and offered for sale! =)

  3. fred
    July 20th, 2010 at 09:01 | #3

    @Scott, working on those. Late Fall at the earliest, I suspect.

  4. Wyrdrune
    July 20th, 2010 at 14:23 | #4

    you’re really working on that? cool…
    it will be a nice gift to my DFRPG-players.

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  1. July 6th, 2010 at 09:51 | #1

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