It’s late July! It’s late July!

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dice4hire
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Re: It’s late July! It’s late July!

Post by dice4hire » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:40 pm

I wish my glasses were that rose-colored. DF has said since KSIII that they are doing everything more quickly and working on more before the campaign starts, but they always are scrambling mid campaign to get things done.

Simply, they are trying to do too much. Too many crazy sculpts and too many new things each KS. They are setting a too ambitious goal for themselves,and indeed a goal higher than the customers would put on them. Did CF need to have all fifteen encounters PLUS the lava they originally intended to pout into it? How many people would have expected that, or based their purchase on having all that variety?

If they had done encounters 1-11 and one of encounters 12-15 (or 16 for lava) I think everyone would have thought it was well done. Maybe do two of the big encounters.

DF is really doing all this to themselves.
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Re: It’s late July! It’s late July!

Post by Riley » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:44 pm

I would like to think that the success of KS 6.66 and the delayed launch of KS7 will allow DF to be more pessimistic/realistic in their future delivery estimates.

First, they have several more months to get the KS7 sculpts finished, and hopefully they can get more production issues identified and worked out even before the campaign starts.

Second, if they plan to alternate KSX’s with KSX.XX’s they can anticipate more frequent cash infusions, and will have less need to rush/hope for early delivery of KSX so they can start KSY.

I hope.

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Re: It’s late July! It’s late July!

Post by dice4hire » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:16 pm

I do not think the problem now is how long it takes the warehouse to ship out items, but how long it takes DF to get product to the warehouse. In the last update they said that some containers were arriving soonish, then some more not so soon in August ad then finally some not soon at all in October.

Really that is the problem. Yes, DF is not crazy late, but if they are late every time, it is a problem that needs to be worked on.

I liked the timeline above, and I agree the PMs should be coming soon, like in a month or so. Run them fast and get things going at the factory. It can be smoother.
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Re: It’s late July! It’s late July!

Post by MrMorden » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:06 pm

Law, I agree there are delays for which DF can be considered responsible, and some others that are beyond their control. I just meant we need to distinguish between the two, which you seem to agree with. 👍

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Re: It’s late July! It’s late July!

Post by Law » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:21 pm

MrMorden wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:47 am
Amazon has two day shipping sure, for product IN STOCK. Many times I have tried to order via Amazon and found estimated delivery times a month out. Supply chain is a challenge for every company.
I’m glad you made this point, because it means I wasn’t clear. I’m talking about when DF has stuff in stock, too. When the product has arrived and “shipping has begun.” At that moment, the official “delays” are over, but some customers still wait two months to get their order. It just takes that long for the warehouse to ship out 2000 orders.

Which, fine. Sure. I get why it’s difficult. But it still means in stock product could have another two month wait even when the official delay has ended. And that’s what DF needs to fix. Regular delays can hopefully be mitigated better as well. But there needs to be attention paid to what can be done to make the “backer shipment window” a lot smaller. I remember posting DoD pics and seeing people posting “still waiting on mine!” well over a month after I had my order. That’s crazy. We don’t live in a world where people wait a month or two to receive in stock product. Especially when they waited a year already. And paid on average $1500 for it.

There are two distinct issues here and hopefully DF is looking into both. First, the delays. Second, the long shipping windows - which exacerbate the delays. DF may feel like “hey, we’re shipping, problem solved, there’s nothing else we can do, it takes time to ship 2000 orders.” But from a customer perspective it means being told the delay is over but, yeah, you still have to wait two months. That’s what I was calling “lawyer spin.” If I’m still waiting two months, don’t tell me the delay is over.

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Re: It’s late July! It’s late July!

Post by MrMorden » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:47 am

Amazon has two day shipping sure, for product IN STOCK. Many times I have tried to order via Amazon and found estimated delivery times a month out. Supply chain is a challenge for every company.

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Re: It’s late July! It’s late July!

Post by zenako » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:03 am

Many good points Law. I would add a few more. While we all tend to love the offering growth that happens during each KS, those new items/sculpts also incur some more overall delay in the KS as DF has to ensure those new tiles are complete, the molds are right and everything is good to go before green-lighting production at the factory. That generally means more delay in the overall KS timeline. When they build that into extending the KS Pledge Manager open time even more (since they are not ready to go anyway) that further extends the timeline.

Many KS have the entire design scope under control from day 1, and all they are really doing is finding out how many backers and for what they have and then how much production they will be planning on. This lets them have a more controlled timeline. If we look back at KS6 for example:
KS6 Launched July 22, 2018, with expected delivery in June 2019
KS6 Closes and is Funded August 14, 2018
KS6 Pledge Manager finally opened Oct 24, 2018 ( 2 1/3 months after funding) which seems long
KS6 Pledge Manager closes Nov 19, 2018 (having been open about 3 1/2 weeks) which was fine
KS6 Pledge Manager reopens to reflect more changes Mar 7, 2019, which was good for some, but more delay
KS6 Pledge Manager closes Mar 11, 2019, but more delay in the timeline

Since then they have their usual shipping delays, etc.

So how can they tighten up parts of that timeline and avoid as much slippage? For one thing, I would hope they have a good handle on how to run the Pledge Manager by now and they should be able to open that up at least a month sooner. They also had to/choose to reopen the PM 3 1/2 months later, which probably further skewed some of the timeline and production to accommodate any changes. This reopening was to accommodate new terrain tray patterns and overlays. While potentially useful, not sure it was truly needed. I hope that this reopening had no impact on tiles since it did not allow any backing changes to anything beyond the new items, but this also served to distract while other production delays were being factored into delivery times.

The extra time taken on opening the PM meant that later on, they ran smack into the Chinese holiday time. Had they been able to open the PM in Sept, close it in Oct, actually have all the tiles molds approved by then and fire up production so that it happens BEFORE the holiday break, then the shipping could have happened last spring and they likely would have been meeting the planned ship date of June 2019.

As to the other end of the equation, getting full containers with hundreds of SKU's in them is a logistical challenge for a small operation. No one disputes that. We love the ability to tailor our backing to a fine degree, but that comes with the above-mentioned shipping challenges. Reaper runs similar scale KS's and they, however, have managed to productionize their shipping so that the time from shipping container hitting their docks to parcels heading out to backers is measured in days (not weeks/months). Reaper looks like they spin up a separate temp warehouse for a month or so to both handle the volume and give space to make it easier to pull each backers orders and package them for shipment. Perhaps something DF could consider if the extended shipment time and waves (and extra self-inflicted shipping expenses those incur) could be mitigated by a more efficient location to process and handle the new stuff for each KS in those containers. Just some thoughts.

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Re: It’s late July! It’s late July!

Post by Law » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:03 am

I would also add - there’s a hidden level of spin in this, in that the spread of shipping times to complete the backer orders is huge. I’m a lawyer, I know spin! ;) It takes months to get it all shipped. So even if DF can say “Shipping has begun!”, you may have to wait two months to get your stuff.

This is a big issue for me. While I recognize the warehouse moves as fast as it can, from a customer experience it’s crucial. Even when shipping begins - and disregarding the multiple waves issue - you may still have two months to wait before you receive your product.

This is an area DF needs to explore to find improvements. It’s not something we should just accept as inevitable. We live in a time when Amazon is taking over the world with two day shipping. Sometimes it’s one day. To be clear I’m not asking for that (!) But it highlights what customers can expect in other markets with what we accept here. Forget waiting a year for production. That’s baked into the KS model. We have an additional period of months to wait between production delays and the length of actual shipping. From a customer experience, even when the official delay is over, you could be waiting another month or two. That’s - I don’t want to just accept that. It may be unavoidable. But it may not be. If the warehouse takes three months to cycle through all the orders, find a way to fix that. That’s too long for people to wait for an order when, officially, “shipping has begun!”

All the extra activity compounds it. When DF only did one set a year, a month or two was less of an issue. The quality was there, it was your only DF that year, so if it came in April or in May, what’s the difference.

But now we’ve got KS6 in store, KS 6.66, Castle builder sets, Pathfinder stuff, KS7 set to launch. That’s a lot of product. The end result is - you’re asking us to give you money, then asking again, then again, then again, then again - and you STILL haven’t put product in our hands!

This is all sounding more negative than I mean it to. I don’t mean this as a criticism - I mean it as an agenda. DF is always looking to improve. As artists, that’s usually where we see their attention in this regard - better sculpts, new creative ideas, better engineering. But they’re businesspeople, too. This is an area of concern that should get attention going forward. How is distribution being handled? How is shipping being managed? What can we do to reduce the gap between “shipping has begun” and customer actually receives an order? That should be a big issue for KS7.

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Re: It’s late July! It’s late July!

Post by Riley » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:48 pm

dice4hire wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:08 pm
I read it as whole encounters, not parts of them. Or add-ons that are part of the encounter.
Nate confirmed that in the update comments section:
Nate wrote:“I think the only component pack that will ship as part of Wave 1 is the Cavern Entrance Pack.

Hopefully Wave 2 will be hot on the heels of Wave 1, and we can get you your core and adventure packs quickly.”

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Re: It’s late July! It’s late July!

Post by Riley » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:33 pm

Wave 1 will be substantial for those who went with a simple Essentials 1-X pledge, or a Whole Cannoli pledge.

Not so good for the micromanagers among us who picked and chose. Oh well.

OTOH, the paint on the stump patches looks great!

Image

I ordered a bunch of those. :)

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