Chad Spano of Comic Lair in Trenton,
I am writing regarding the many problems I am experiencing with regard to delivery of merchandise from Diamond and to make some suggestions for possible solutions to the problems many industry retailers seem to be experiencing. Every Wednesday has become a very stressful day, filled with consistent delivery problems. I have spoken with my Diamond rep on more than one occasion and was told that only multi-store accounts can have their product delivered on Tuesdays.
The reason I am bring this subject to light is because recently Diamond made some suggestions on how to receive your product at an earlier time on Wednesday. Their suggestions were: 1) Have your merchandise held at the UPS center for pick-up earlier on Wednesday, or 2) Get a UPS mailbox and have the items sent there, which of course increases the financial burden on the retailer. The 'solutions' being offered by Diamond amount to nothing more than passing the burden of responsibility for timely delivery from them to the retailers.
The fact that retailers are being forced to deal with UPS exclusively is also a problem. UPS is a company with its own set of financial and logistical problems, all affecting the retailer's bottom line. As UPS raises shipping rates, retailer profit margins go down. In addition, retailers are forced to tolerate the ongoing problems related to UPS shipping and late/damaged deliveries, without being offered any alternate shipping options, such as other carriers. This could potentially improve the situation dramatically for both the retailers and Diamond, from both a cost and service viewpoint.
One proposed solution would be to offer pickup points where retailers could pick up their merchandise as early as they wanted on Wednesdays, thereby eliminating the UPS shipping and damaged merchandise problems permanently.
Another option, and one that should already be offered, is shipping via other services, like FedEx and USPS, who could potentially provide better service at a cheaper cost.
A third potential solution would be to give retailers the option to have their weekly orders shipped on Tuesday, with the condition that nothing is to be sold until Wednesday. The response from Diamond will probably be that there are many retailers who will begin selling the day the product is delivered, but that could be handled by implementing a rule which states that if you are caught selling on Tuesday, you would lose this early shipping option permanently. I do not know if something like this is even possible logistically for Diamond and the manufacturers who distribute through them, but I do think it is time for Diamond to help retailers find solutions to the problems they are experiencing.
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