Hi again everyone!
TL;DR: Don’t panic. Due to covid & worldwide logistics challenges we are adjusting delivery estimate to late summer. Need to update your shipping info? Visit the bottom of this post. We love our backers!
As many of you know, my day-job is as a program manager in tech based in California. As such, I’m always looking at timelines, program roadblocks, risks, and solving how to get around them. Before that at school, I got a degree in Communication and I thought I’d be a pretty good player in public relations. One thing that both my professional and academic careers agree upon is to be truthful and authentic. I’ve been working hard, gathering information from all the corners of the industry and our vendors to get some substantial information and I hope that you’ll forgive the unusual lateness of this update for the month of March.
Printing is underway. We expect to hear back from the factory soon. Our production run should be completed by April 5th, and we’re planning to review a factory copy selected at random to review. Once we have done that quality assurance, the rest of the games should be able to print and package quickly out of the manufacturing line. Again, we’re using BODA games which is a company that’s produced dozens of high-quality board games and they’re no stranger to the Kickstarter ecosystem.
Shipping and logistics have always been something of a wildcard for us. Although the COVID pandemic is now being addressed worldwide with vaccines, there are still backlogs that are being worked out of the system. Trucking, shipping, dock loading, and unloading has been much slower because of the physical distancing requirements enforced for human safety. Plain language – it’s just taking longer to move goods safely. This will affect our schedules, and I’ve got a schedule at the bottom of this update.
Shipping prioritization is challenging during a pandemic. I’ve spoken to other game developers, Kickstarter creators, and even the US customs brokers. Board games are being deprioritized in shipping because they’re non-perishable items. Food and beverage is taking a priority because when they have a spoilage date they need to get where they’re going. Since we don’t recommend eating the game to enjoy it, the fact that we’re shelf stable means that we may stay on the dock shelf longer as well.
The Evergreen Ship stuck in the Suez Canal this past week is also adding to the complexity for us and about 15% of worldwide supply chain. Obviously, a container ship going from China to Portland won’t be going through Egypt, however many ship schedules have been totally thrown out of whack as a result of the 1-week blockage, rerouting throughout the oceans, and other things outside of our control.
April 5 - approval of proof/production copy
April 12 - truck from factory to dock
April 19 - picked up and loaded on to ship
May 10 - arrives in Portland
May 17 - cleared customs / offloaded from ship
May 24 - arrives at warehouse
May 31 - in the mail to backers
Mid June arrivals of official copies
Likely impact to the timelines at this point:
+2 weeks for the loading / shipping of the game (prioritization of perishable goods by the shipping companies, and Suez Canal debacle)
+1 weeks to offload from ship
+1 weeks to clear customs since this is our first project and customs is scrutinizing stuff from China
Late Summer for the delivery of games to our backers
Bottom line – Nobody panic. We are going to deliver Dogs BOND. When the games arrive is, unfortunately, mostly out of our control at this point. We’ve got the right vendors for freight, insurance, and other things all lined up. We’re just beholden to the market forces and world events.
Since this is a project on the Internet, I know that there’s sometimes passionate words that show up in the comments. Please understand that it’s just me working within the global supply chain, and at this point even larger projects cannot spend money to make the process go faster.
Dogs BOND has always been a “little project that could”, and that’s all thanks to our backers. We cannot thank you all enough for your support. Hopefully some of the SuperBackers in the group might be able to share some stories in the comments below, this does happen to Kickstarters. Projects like ours are fueled by passionate and driven individuals, but there’s just some things that are out of our control that will add delays to the delivery dates.
I hope this update is helpful for everyone. I don’t want to cast doubt on the project. I’m only calling out impacts to the timeline and hopefully we can proactively set everyone’s expectations on delivery timing for the game. Please leave a like on the update, and if you have a story about your Kickstarter being a little behind to share with some of our first-time Kickstarter backers please feel free to share in the comments below.
FAQ: Couldn’t you fly the board games to the USA?
Air freight is a possibility; however I have estimated costs about $900 USD to fly a single copy of the game from Shanghai to San Francisco via FedEx. Customs fees not included. Air Cargo rates are equally unappealing. It’s simply not cost effective for anyone involved.
FAQ: I need to update my shipping information / email / order
Thank you all for your patience and support!