Originally Posted By BossMaverick:
The biggest differences between Fedex and Brownells are:
-Fedex probably makes more money per day then Brownells does per year, so Fedex has a lot larger budget for technology. You can't expect Brownells to have an I.T. system like Fedex.
It's not difficult to produce a report, showing, estimated ship times, based on receive rate and order rate - cancel rate. The cost is a few hours of IT department staff time. Having worked in IT for awhile, I know this to be fact.
-Brownells has to depend entirely upon other manufacturers to deliver before Brownells can fulfill orders. If a supplier says a product will be delivered by a certain date but fails to deliver, Brownells will be blamed by the customers. All Fedex has to worry about is getting an object from point 'A' to point 'B' which they have done millions times over and over again so they know how long it will take and they don't have to depend so much on outside companies.
The rate at which Brownells receives product is the rate they could use to give estimates to their customers. It doesn't matter which manufacturer is backed up for whatever time period. All that matters is the rate at which Brownells receives and ships product. They have this information.
-The shipping industry has known peak business times (like around Christmas) so they can plan ahead to hire and train temporary employees. Brownells never knows when the next spike will hit and they can't afford to keep "stand by" staff employed unless you want prices to go way up.
You don't need standby staff. You can put an ad in the paper saying "now hiring" after your order rates show an upward trend lasting more than X days. It's not like they need gunsmiths with 10+ years experience to work in the shipping and customer service departments.
I will admit that it sounds like Brownells suffered a pretty big melt down with their ordering systems. With that being said, I think they will learn and improve. Also, I imagine that a part of their issue was that this rush was different then even the 2008 rush. This latest rush was almost all about magazines were before, it was just everything gun related (meaning the sales were spread out between more products). I'm sure that only 40 products (or less) made up 95% of the sales for this past rush. It would be hard for any system to process that many orders for the same items that quickly.
No, it's all just data. Thousands and thousands of transactions per second are achievable on a run of the mill server these days. You can believe they will improve, but they didn't improve after last time, and as long as their IT department, or management, doesn't know what to do to prevent a mess, they will continue to be a mess. They did have a meltdown. Peoples orders were lost. They have multiple systems and they were out of sync. They have admitted this.
Finally, getting mad at Brownells for not having estimated in-stock dates is ridiculous.
Who said I was "mad" at Brownells ? For people like myself, who have spent their career in IT, it's plain as day, their service and software sucks. It's that simple. It's not an emotional issue, its a simple fact. And I didn't say it was only Brownells either. I clearly stated the entire industry has these problems.
ETA: The in-stock at the time of starting the order to the out-of-stock status after the order placed is understandable if hundreds of people are placing orders for the exact same item at the exact same time. It sucks but a lot of stock levels can change in the time it takes from starting the order process to the time you can hit "submit order". You can't expect them to fix the order system melt down overnight when they are still being overwhelmed with incoming orders and status requests. With that being said, I hope they get things straightened out sooner than later and hopefully they can made changes for better preparedness in the future.
You can make all the excuses you want. Math and data are math and data, and this information can be calculated and communicated to customers. They have known for years and not implemented it, what makes you so sure someone will wake up and implement it now ? It requires that someone actually care enough to implement it. But as I pointed out, all anyone cares about anymore is "image." Advertising that you're the best is so much easier than actually attempting to be it.
Welcome to the big lie.
"We don't know when you will get the stuff you ordered, but see us at SHOT!"
One would think, whoever decided to add a "backorder" feature to the website, that that seems like the perfect time, to figure out how to answer customers ETA questions. It is part of a backorder system you know. They certainly didn't forget to take the cash for backordered items. They probably didn't forget to add backordered items to the amount of items they need to order from the manufacturer. Hey ... what was left out ? ETA times for customers ! "F em. Just tell em 2 weeks 2 weeks." I guess the copy of "Art of War" every mid level manager has sitting on their office bookshelf doesn't include a chapter on statistical analysis.
You can get mad at me for pointing it out if you want. I'm not upset. It's just obvious to me, given my background, that the emperor is naked, even if you think you see his shiny new coat.
From my perspective, this is an opportunity.