Diamond Comic Distributors have issued a statement and a Q&A over their decision to split the delivery of weekly orders of new comic books from reorders or 'replenishment product'. Bleeding Cool reported on this back in early March – but a lot has changed since then. Diamond reports;
Distribution Center Update and Replenishment Order FAQ
As our Distribution Center team members continue to work within social distancing and safety requirements, we want to update you on the progress of our order processing.Since our restart, we have prioritized the shipment of new, weekly product. We have successfully maintained this weekly schedule with occasional disruptions for individual retailers caused primarily by supply chain issues such as transportation delays from the printers to us or from us to retailers.
Direct Ship reorders have been fulfilled with minor delays, in most cases, because individual orders can be picked and packed alongside other work. These orders, however, are less efficient and often have higher freight costs. Because of that, many retailers chose weekly replenishment orders that had been combined with weekly deliveries.
Recently, we revised our replenishment order process to ship these products separately from the weekly shipment. This new process is helping to expedite order processing and resulting in a reduction of shortages and damages. More information on the replenishment order process follows this update, and we hope you find it helpful.
As of today, all replenishment orders placed before July 8 have been processed. Our teams are working diligently on orders placed for the July 15 and July 22 cut-offs and the staffing changes we have made are generating early positive results. We are combining the July 29 cut-off replenishment orders with those for the August 5 cut-off and possibly August 12, depending on our progress at that time. This will improve efficiencies and also have the added benefit of helping retailers reach the better rates from UPS that comes with "hundredweight" shipments over 180 total pounds. We are making up ground each week and expect that trend to continue so we can be back to a normal, weekly schedule.
We very much appreciate the patience and understanding shown by so many of you. The teams at the Distribution Centers and home office are working every day support the important work you do on the frontlines. We will continue to share information as it becomes available.
Replenishment Order FAQ
Why did you make the change to Replenishment Orders instead of continuing to combine orders with my weekly shipment?
Under the old system, items were picked and packed separately from a store's weekly shipment. They then had to be moved to the Distribution Center and combined with the weekly shipment before shipping. Unfortunately, the additional handling and time required to accomplish this resulted in significantly higher instances of shortages and damages than were the case with Direct Ship reorders.Is it working? So far, the quality of Replenishment Orders has met (and occasionally exceeded) our expectations. The shortage and damage rates, even with the substantial challenges our teams face in the distribution centers, are lower than they were when orders were combined with the weekly shipments.
Please remind me: How do Replenishment Orders work?
Individual Replenishment Orders placed before 5:00 PM ET Wednesday are combined into one order and sent to the warehouse for picking and packing. They are then shipped to retailers. Orders are prioritized for shipping by the number of days it will take for the retailer to receive the order, with many US retailers receiving the replenishment order before the weekend. This is a significant improvement over the old system, getting you the product you need faster so you can begin selling it.
Why haven't I been getting my orders on that schedule?
Since the restart of distribution following the shutdown caused by COVID-19, we have had staffing challenges. While this has caused disruption to Replenishment Orders, we are making consistent progress and expect to be closer to the normal schedule soon.
Can you go back to the old way?
The previous method of combining orders with the weekly shipment is less efficient than Replenishment Orders and would delay orders further. We understand the strain order delays cause and are doing all we can to process replenishment orders quickly.
Don't I pay more in freight this way?
Each week, we calculate what the freight charges would have been if the product had been included with your weekly shipment. We cover the difference, so your overall freight costs are not increased. We are aware that some of you have experienced what seems like higher freight costs in the past few months and have researched many invoices that had been questioned. With smaller shipments overall, due to smaller orders and reduced publisher output as we ramp back up, freight costs represent a higher percentage of many invoices. As the size of shipments increases, we expect these costs to have less of an impact on retailers.
When am I invoiced for these products?
Invoicing for Replenishment Orders typically takes place on the second invoice following their receipt. This gives retailers additional time to receive and process the product and put it out for sale before payment is due.
Can the Replenishment Orders be broken out on my invoices?
We are working to have this functionality in place soon, allowing retailers to more easily track what they have received. Again, we thank you for your patience.
TLDR: Splitting orders into new stuff and old stuff reduces damages, increases speed, Diamond will make up the difference for any increase in freight. Sorry about any delays.