Of course last week would consist of some sort of happening to make this seem like a reaction post, but in reality, I had finally finished the 2021 Drift King write up and had planned our update post to immediately follow. It did give me some topics to cover though, so maybe it was meant to be.
2021 has been another crazy year here at Super-G. As the majority of us are well aware, the world is less than back to normal, and at this point we find ourselves wondering what normal actually is and will be as we look forward.
Our main drive here at Super-G remains as it always has, to create something we have always wished existed. From the track, facility, store, events, and inventory, it’s what we wanted as a customer. This means we are always striving to improve since there is no such thing as perfect and we believe things can always be better. For Joe and myself, as quickly as we are moving, it’s never enough, and quite honestly, it’s frustrating.
A SYSTEM CHANGE
As things have been progressing, shortcomings in our system became apparent. Having an order or 2 per day online becomes a lot different as that number increases. We found many times an item would be purchased online, and when we would go to grab it from inventory, we would find it was sold while our physical store was open and we were not able to be checking the orders coming in online. In hopes to eliminate this issue, we started to migrate all our inventory into a single system. Now the majority of our items are online (Soon to be all), with correct available units indicated. Both Online and In-Store purchases go through he same system. Everyone has the same chance at purchasing any item we have in stock. Nothing leaves the facility unless it passes through our system.
Inventory online is now correct
Once a purchase is made, it is reserved for that customer. No surprise “back orders” for customer
Better customer experience
STORE LAYOUT CHANGE
As many of you know, we have always had everything accessible to the our customers. You could get right up on the products, hold them, inspect them, and compare. We wanted to create a place where you felt at home. A place you could come and know you are trusted. Yes, things would “Disappear” from time to time, but for the most part the community respected this trust and seemed to “keep an eye on things”. As the scene started to grow, more and more people would frequent the shop. We had spotted a recent “regular” stealing from us on more than one occasion. Yes, we know who you are. Rather than to pursue it (with video proof), we decided it was time to flip our display cases around, no longer giving our customers direct access to our inventory.
Cut inventory loss
Increased inventory accuracy
Gives customers more one-on-one interaction to ask questions
ADDED TEAM MEMBERS
With the increased number of orders, we had no choice but to bring on more help. We didn’t want to hire just anyone since R/C Drift is pretty specialized. So we added people from the community who were both good with people and also knowledgeable with R/C Drift and R/C in general. We went thought a growing phase where we had some issues with correct items being shipped, but with growth comes the need to new and different systems. We are now able to ship in stock items usually the same day they are ordered. If not, the following day. We have a mail pick up around 1:00pm, and then we make another mail run at 5:45pm. The second mail run is just because we want as many orders to ship as we possibly can make happen. We know everyone is anxious to get their products.
Faster turnout time
Same day shipping
Products available sooner (after arriving)
More quality help for our customers
SHIPPING HAS IMPROVED, BUT IT’S NOT BACK TO NORMAL
Since the 15 days of the lock down to you know, flatten the curve, shipping had really become bad. We know everyone has been frustrated with it and some have just accepted it, and others continue to just be angry. I myself find I am impatient, but if I have learned one thing from all this mess, it’s to have patience. Life has just slowed down a bit and there is nothing we can really do about it. On the consumer side, shipping is considerably better. Delays are far less than a year ago. For our international shipments, it’s really a roll of the dice. We will get some shipments in 4-5 days, and others still take up to 3 months. There is no way to know which shipments will be the lucky or unlucky ones.
I would like to add, it would be a really good thing if everyone could realize that once we ship their order, it is out of our control. The postal service has its issues at the moment, but the packages do show up eventually for the most part. This has created a huge issue for us. Quite a few customers become very irate with us, even when we shipped their order in less than 24 hours. We do our part as best we can, yet end up with customers just letting us have it. Some even demand we ship another when the tracking clearly states it’s been delayed. Please understand, once we ship, we have done our part. If it get’s lost, that is a different matter, but when it says it’s still on its way, that usually means it’s still on its way.
So what’s with the backorders. Here is exactly how this works and why we continue to offer products on backorder. The people who understand how this system works have requested we continue to offer this. We hope as more understand how this is working, it will make more sense to them. Our goal is to be fully stocked with every product we sell. Unfortunately, it’s a supply issue, not a purchasing issue. We physically cannot get our full orders fulfilled due to our suppliers not being able to meet our quantities ordered. In addition, we also have many products ordered and shipped, and are awaiting their arrival. They have been paid for and we are really at the mercy of the shipping companies. So when an item goes on backorder, we already have more on the way. Purchasing the item will secure this item for you, and will ship as soon as it is received. It never even goes into our available inventory, since it’s already sold.
You may see many items that seem to always be on backorder, this is because the demand is exceeding the supply. The majority of backordered items ship to the customer within a week, but sometimes it’s days or months depending on the product. People are receiving the backordered items all the time, but some products never make it to “Available Status” since there is still a backlog of orders that need to be fulfilled.
This is how it works:
5 people backorder Product A
5 Product A comes into stock
All 5 Product A ship out to the 5 people who backordered Product A
Product A still appears as a backorder item on the site since there are none that can be shipped immediately
5 people backorder Product B
4 Product B comes into stock
The 4 Product B’s will ship to the first 4 people who backordered Product B
Product B still appears as a backorder item on the site since there are none that can be shipped Immediately
4 more Product B comes into stock
1 Product B ships to the remaining person who backordered Prodcut B
3 Product B go into inventory and show on the site to be available for purchase
Basically, the backorder system ensures your place in line to get the product the soonest possible. We make it a priority to ship backorders ASAP since we know they have been paid for and are just waiting to be shipped. No waiting for payment, no back and forth messages and emails. They just ship as fast as is humanly possible. Most are not even in our possession for more than an hour or 2. This is also true for pre-orders. This happens everyday.
Many of the “They took 3 months for my order!” comments you read are from people who ordered back during the start of COVID when we asked the community if we are hurting our reputation by continuing to provide product during that time. That was a rough time for everyone involved.
Please keep in mind, nobody is saying you must backorder anything. If you don’t want to wait after you have actually purchased an item, and you would rather it ship as soon as you purchase, make sure it is not a backorder item. Just be aware, some items sell solely through backorder since people are willing to place their order and wait for it to ship.
Some backorder items appear to never be in stock but in fact, we sell hundreds. This is the reason you may hear, “All their stuff is always out of stock.” The reality on most of those items, there are just people lined up to get theirs. We get pretty large shipments daily, so most backorders are usually fulfilled sooner than expected. Again, shipping (to us) plays a major role in how quickly backorders are shipped out. Sometimes a day, sometimes a week or month(s).
Over the past 5 years our shipments have increased dramatically. As we implement new systems and bring on new team members, we unfortunately go through growing pains. It’s unavoidable, but we really do try our best. As of right now, we are experiencing on the high side, 1-2 errors per 500 orders. It may seem like there are a lot on social media, but keep in mind, the complaints you may hear over and over are an accumulation of years of orders and we have had a good amount of “made up” problems sprinkled in from people who don’t even appear in our system. Don’t get me wrong, we are striving to be 100% accurate and every error is unacceptable. We understand the percentage of errors in our shipments may be on the lower side, but for those who receive those affected shipments, it is a 100% fail to them. We understand their frustration and will continue to improve. We in no way feel any error is ok. It simply is not acceptable, but at the same time is the nature of the beast. Not even Amazon is perfect, but we will try to be even better than them.
2021 CHANGED R/C DRIFT FOR US
As many of you know, Joe and I started Super-G back when there were no dedicated R/C Drift facilities, shops, or tracks in our area. It was a struggle to find parts from over-seas and when you wanted them, it would cost an arm and a leg to ship them here and it would take forever. We really wanted all these things to exist and be more convenient. Super-G was born. This not only made it easier to bring people together on a more regular basis, but also gave us a spot to drift as well.
Jumping to 2021, we are still those same people who love R/C Drift, but since things have continued to grow, we have been forced to take on different roles. Keeping the business going and getting the products here and into your hands has taken priority over our time for our hobby. Just as it does (or should) for each and everyone of you, work must come before our hobbies.
Present day, as the product supply chain has become unpredictable and the demand has grown, Joe and I find ourselves answering questions and putting out fires constantly. The number of “Angry and demanding” emails and messages we receive daily from people who ordered less than 24 hours prior is staggering. It easily consumed 75%+ of our time daily. Messages between 3:00am – 5:00am requesting us to check on orders is a daily occurrence as well. This has forced us to set times to deal with emails and messages. We are not a multi-million dollar operation where we can hire a team dedicated handle messages and emails. We are just 2 guys trying to make it work, and hiring team members as it becomes possible. Does it make more sense to go back and forth with people who just placed their order and want to get crazy that their order hasn’t shipped within 2 hours, or ship out the orders to all those who have been patiently waiting? We are forced to chose our battles. We still end up taking our daily beatings from our more impatient customers, but now we do that at select times during the day.
THE CHANGE I SPEAK OF
2021 has cut my and Joe’s time to drive time to almost nothing. Answering messages, emails, and keeping things going has replaced our drifting time. Our local customers can attest to this fact. It’s a rare occasion for us to be able to hit the the track. Maybe we’ll get 10 minutes in during a session, but even that is rare now days. We really are sacrificing participating in the hobby we love to try to provide the very best service and experience we can for the community we are a part of. Contrary to popular belief, we are still one of the little guys just trying to make this work. We are just 2 guys who have dumped all our eggs into the R/C Drift basket. Write-ups, Reviews, Events, Competitions, etc. are all additional extras we provide on top of our normal grind. Our typical work week exceeds 80 hours each just for R/C Drift. We are the same people from the community who want to bring cool stuff to the scene. Unfortunately for us, the last 2 years have left us with little to no time to enjoy the hobby. We really hope the shop and track owners around the US understand why we haven’t made it out to visit them yet.
Joe and I could have taken on regular 9-5 jobs and be doing a lot better financially, and have a lot more personal time, but we made a conscious decision to pursue this full time to try to create something for everyone. This has never been about money, but for the love of this segment of R/C. We still believe this is the best R/C community around, and are grateful for all your support through out the years. We will continue to improve as long as the community wants us to.