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Delorean & excl ed. crawler orders - what can you do but laugh?

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Pretty sure most of the Aussie members here would have already put in orders for this month's Crown Jewels of Lego LEGO Shop at Home - the Delorean and the 4x4 crawler, not sure how everyone's orders are tracking / processing / (dare I say) shipping etc, my experience so far has been....interesting.

 

I'll start from the latest development. Just got an email today - "Your Lego order has been shipped!". Could it be? Could it really be that they've shipped 1 of my 2 orders, which are supposed to be on backorder? Heart pounding, hopes rising. Scrolling further down, I realized who was on his way - the brave little Galaxy Squad Orange Team member Jack Fireblade, and his trusty 4-legged mini mech. All by his lonesome self, on a long perilous voyage across oceans and continents. I just had to laugh. No doubt he will be welcomed with open arms and a well deserved rest and debriefing when (and if) he eventually arrives, though I do wonder why Grand Command had dispatched him so hastily...when he was supposed to be on security detail escorting an important load of cargo to which I have resigned to patiently wait for...

 

Flashback to Aug 1st - D-Day. Onto LEGO Shop at Home like a flash, first thing in the morning. No sign of the Delorean. Checked the UK site. There it was, fresh and ready for the taking. Got sidetracked a bit browsing through the other new offerings. Back onto the Oz site - additional webpages for New listings had been added. Yes! Delorean - available now. Ordered just enough (3) to qualify for free shipping. Redeemed some VIP points. Order submit / confirm / set and engrave in stone. Confirmation email received after 5 minutes. Relief and contentment.

 

Aug 2nd - checked on LEGO Shop at Home to see if it was sold out already. Saw that the crawler was also a top seller, decided to take a closer look and actually read the product description. Must confess that I'm not a Technic fan, so had ignored any prior news about this one, and was initially put off by the price. Suddenly realized the exclusivity of this thing, and the product image started to look much, much more attractive. Even the wife, who saw it as she walked past, said it looked impressive. Knew I had to put in an order, and I did.

 

Receive an Important Update to your Order email on Saturday morning, 2 days after the order. "As you have ordered this product before, we will have to cancel one Delorean....limit of 5 per household..." Bewilderment, and then the silent swearing and cursing starts. Checked my order status on LEGO Shop at Home - sure enough, 1 cancelled, the other 2 on backorder, Jack Fireblade decommissioned and dismissed, and charged for shipping. Pretty sure that they had stuffed up my order somehow, tried hard to stay calm and rational all weekend, in anticipation of the possible confrontation on my hands at 8pm EST on Monday, when Grand Command becomes accessible to outer rim inhabitants.

 

8pm Monday - armed with original order confirmation on my screen, on the phone with Agnes (name changed to protect identity) from Customer Service. Agnes promises to call back in 5 after her discussion with the consortium known as Admin. True to her word, she rings back. "Admin says only 1 Galaxy mini-mech per household, so they took it off" I said that's not the main issue, and explain the whole situation. She says there's a new limit of 2 per household / customer worldwide. I tell her about the limit of 5 clearly stated on the Oz LEGO Shop at Home, she responds by saying she can't access that site and can only see what's on the US site. Sensing a cop-out and a brick wall forming, I go to plan B - and request for an order cancellation, explaining that I wasn't willing to pay for shipping if I can't order 3 (which I would have been willing to go through with if she had agreed to it, and then try to put in a new online order for 3 sets again). Agnes pauses. She then offers to put the 2 Deloreans onto my crawler order, so that I'll get free shipping. I'm not averse to this and ask about my VIP points redemption, which I want to make sure was being applied to this new bastardized order. Again, Agnes has to consult with the Admin high council. I request that she ask them about the order limit, and if the new rule is 2, then stating a limit of 5 on the Oz site is misleading for customers. As promised, the phone rings in 3-4 minutes. Apologies start flowing abundantly - Admin made a mistake, the cancellation email should never have been sent, the limit for Oz customers is 5, the order will be reverted to its original, VIP points redemption and all. Galaxy mini-mech on this order is unfortunately permanently discharged, but will be revived in my crawler order. Feeling of relief sets in, I assure Agnes that I understand its not her fault, she mentions human error and the crazy avalanche of orders that has struck them, and stresses that all my orders will be on backorder. I accept this (I have no issue with waiting, though slightly disappointed that Deloreans will be on backorder despite putting in an order when it was clearly tagged as available) and the conversation ends amicably. A final order status check online - back to Defcon 5, sanity restored - at least for now.

 

I suppose not being on the frontlines of Lego customer orders and service, I can only imagine how crazy it is like at this time. I wonder if they might have underestimated the popularity of these 2 products, and are now struggling to cope with orders in real time, with customer reps unsure about the different order limits. Somehow, I seem to think that by now every Lego employee would probably not fail to forsee the immense demand these products generate, especially after events such as the Great Minecraft Sale and the Comic-Con Chronicles. Or is mine just one of a few expected human error type stuff-ups, and Agnes was momentarily distracted during key moments of the customer limit team briefing? Has your order experience been an eventful one as well? Or is it chugging along smoothly with no nasty surprises?

 

 

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After many attempts (simultaneously on pc, laptop and ipad) and many anxious monument I managed to get a crawler and lego have confirmed shipping and is Aus bound. Just have to wait now. You'd think they would have a better setup to manage that many hits at once.

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Yep, you would think they'd have things in control (or put into place robust and efficient systems to have orders in control, like their manufacturing system) - but there's clearly more work to be done on their part, seems to me they have either underestimated the initial demand for these products, or maybe having operational issues with trying to be extra vigilant on customers who order more than their limits. I imagine its been insane over at Lego Orders Command Central since Aug 1 - staff on stress leave rotations, 3-4 emergency meetings per day, new action plans determined on the fly while the order numbers spike ominously in real time on the big communal screen....

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Yep, you would think they'd have things in control (or put into place robust and efficient systems to have orders in control, like their manufacturing system) - but there's clearly more work to be done on their part, seems to me they have either underestimated the initial demand for these products, or maybe having operational issues with trying to be extra vigilant on customers who order more than their limits. I imagine its been insane over at Lego Orders Command Central since Aug 1 - staff on stress leave rotations, 3-4 emergency meetings per day, new action plans determined on the fly while the order numbers spike ominously in real time on the big communal screen....

 

Wait until they see all the orders this next month with perhaps the best Shop at home offering in a long time.

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Building their servers or systems to handle 100% demand levels at the top of spikes is a pretty expensive and inefficient way to run a business though.  Not sure it works the same for IT, but when I was in manufacturing and logistics we would build or stock levels or daily production capacity to meet 95-99% percentile of the daily demand totals.

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Building their servers or systems to handle 100% demand levels at the top of spikes is a pretty expensive and inefficient way to run a business though.  Not sure it works the same for IT, but when I was in manufacturing and logistics we would build or stock levels or daily production capacity to meet 95-99% percentile of the daily demand totals.

 

Straight from my networking experience - taking care of things like this is pretty cheap. A lot of it is not more expensive equipment - it is just dumb network design. Definitely more servers = more money - but really it is about having backup plans and planning for things like this, not money.

 

I have seen -people who spent millions on networking equipment still have the same problems because they don't know how to set up a network properly.

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Building their servers or systems to handle 100% demand levels at the top of spikes is a pretty expensive and inefficient way to run a business though.  Not sure it works the same for IT, but when I was in manufacturing and logistics we would build or stock levels or daily production capacity to meet 95-99% percentile of the daily demand totals.

Just out of interest, what's the reasoning behind stocking to meet 95-99%? Is it more a cost related thing, or some other reason?

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Wait until they see all the orders this next month with perhaps the best Shop at home offering in a long time.

Are you referring to the mini camper van & clone trooper lieutenant giveaways?

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Straight from my networking experience - taking care of things like this is pretty cheap. A lot of it is not more expensive equipment - it is just dumb network design. Definitely more servers = more money - but really it is about having backup plans and planning for things like this, not money.

 

I have seen -people who spent millions on networking equipment still have the same problems because they don't know how to set up a network properly.

 

Ah fair enough.  They should probably be anticipating a spike like that as well I guess.  They knew when those items would go online well in advance, as they also new the May 4th sale would be a spike as well.

 

Just out of interest, what's the reasoning behind stocking to meet 95-99%? Is it more a cost related thing, or some other reason?

Pretty much does boil down to cost.  If you have a factory capacity or stock levels to meet demand on the highest day of the year then it gets very costly as for 99% of the time you have too much, just to cover you for that 1 massive day.  It's usually better to just run out of stuff and apologise to customers or create back orders etc and push the demand down the line a bit.  It's way more complex than a simple example like that in a real supply chain though as you have to factor in lead times right through from raw materials to transport time etc.

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Ah fair enough.  They should probably be anticipating a spike like that as well I guess.  They knew when those items would go online well in advance, as they also new the May 4th sale would be a spike as well.

 

Pretty much does boil down to cost.  If you have a factory capacity or stock levels to meet demand on the highest day of the year then it gets very costly as for 99% of the time you have too much, just to cover you for that 1 massive day.  It's usually better to just run out of stuff and apologise to customers or create back orders etc and push the demand down the line a bit.  It's way more complex than a simple example like that in a real supply chain though as you have to factor in lead times right through from raw materials to transport time etc.

Thanks for the info, I think I'm starting to understand a little of Lego's order fufilment woes here.

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I don't think there are many people who wouldn't want one of the mini VWs

 

Definitely. Think back a while - how does a Hot dog cart, a mini mech, etc. compare to this?

 

I think they will sell for $25 or so online easy. Plus add something star wars and you can add in the other minifigure. Gonna be a big order month.

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