Monday, May 12, 2014

Heroclix Delays Explanation

Here is an explanation from WizKids regarding why so many of their Heroclix releases in the past year got delayed.

Last year was a pretty amazing year for HeroClix, however, it did not come without a few bumps in the road.    Specifically, a number of last minute delays forced us to move release dates on short notice. There are many things that can (and will) derail a products release date.  Most are under our control; unfortunately, some are not.   During the last six months, we got hit with so many issues, it is remarkable that we were able to perform as we did.  It is a testament to the hard work of our distributors and the patience, creativity and tenacity of the retailers and customers that shop at FLGS.  We know how disruptive a release date change is to an OP program. We know that release date changes ruins schedules, planning and participation.  We appreciate the effort to work with us while we cope with changes outside of our control.

So why were the release dates impacted?

1:  Weather: As I’m sure you recall, last winter was one of the worst winters in recent history. The weather had a tremendous impact on our shipping & warehousing infrastructure. We had numerous logistics issues and closures caused by inclement weather.  Obviously, all this wreaks havoc on a release-date driven system.

2:  Customs:  In an attempt to curb counterfeit product, the U.S. Customs office increased their screening of containers filled with games and toys, especially those with licensed products.  Over the past six months, we’ve had an unusually high number of containers pulled for routine inspection.  Even if we pass through these inspections with no issues, the entire container may be detained for up to four weeks.   The issue here is that the last containers are usually coming in one to two weeks before release and, if they are detained, it usually creates an automatic delay.  The complexity comes from the fact that  you don’t know for how long the container is going to be held. You literally have to check on the items everyday.  So when a container is pulled for inspection, it could take one day or it could take 21 days. This makes announcing a delay very challenging.  Do you announce a delay on a container that might clear in one day, only to have to announce a false alarm?  Do you wait until you have better information and can estimate a release date?  We optfor the latter, as it allows a store to reset their event and communicate complete information and eliminates the ‘false alarm’ issue.  We have hundreds of containers delivering each year.  Announcing potential delays for every routine inspection is not feasible.