Behind the Scenes: Stock and delivery challenges, what we're doing about it
Image: Behind the scenes with Chief Co-founder Kalle and his family hiking in his backyard (Blue Mountains, NSW) to capture Chief photos and videos. They've just welcomed girl number 4!
This year has been both a great one and, like most businesses, a challenging one for us at Chief. We've grown enormously thanks to your support, but we've also suffered some growing pains so I wanted to give you, our tribe, a proper update on where we're at.
If you've ordered online from us in since COVID hit you'll probably have experienced either a delay in stock being available or longer than usual delivery times (sometimes extremely long). We hate letting people down so we're incredibly sorry if this has affected you! Here's what's happened and what we've done about it.
Stock has been a hard thing for us to predict. We've had our production dates locked in and so we have that stock available for sale on the website, but things like ingredients or packaging randomly taking 3 weeks to arrive rather than the normal 2 days due to COVID has meant we've missed production windows, which means we have to wait (sometimes weeks) to get a new production slot.
Until now we've been ordering smaller batch sizes for 2 reasons. Firstly, we've still been tweaking the manufacturing process for our collagen bars, trying to make them less crumbly. Secondly, one of the hardest things with growing a business is having more and more capital tied up in stock the bigger you get.
I'm happy to say we've made great progress on the crumbliness, and we've raised some capital which means we can now produce larger batches and hold more stock. All of that production is booked in over November so by the end of the month we'll be well stocked with our full range.
Long Delivery Times
It's no secret Australia Post have been super slow on deliveries, and randomly too which is almost worse! From what we've been able to gather it has mostly been due to Melbourne being in lock down which has both severely impacted their ability to process orders and online orders across the globe have gone through the roof.
Because of this, Melbourne has been sending orders to Sydney for processing which has meant our distribution centre has been swamped too. If your packages aren't going through this bottleneck then you may not have noticed, but we've watched as many of our deliveries sat for weeks in a "waiting to be processed" state.
In addition, we outsource our warehouse which has also experienced huge surges in online orders across their entire customer base. This means at times they've struggled to deal with the extra volume - it has been hard to predict when surges will happen because they've not been happening at the usual times.
You may have already noticed that we decided to upgrade all shipping to Express Post at no extra charge to mitigate this. Australia Post still aren't guaranteeing next day delivery, but it means we get priority when there are backlogs and it's proving to be much faster in 99% of cases.
So, a big THANK YOU for your patience and support as we've worked our way through things. We have a small team working their butts off to deliver a great experience so it hurts when we don't do that and we greatly appreciate the emails of understanding, encouragement and support we've received. We're excited to give you a consistently amazing experience as we continue to grow and make an even bigger positive impact improving the health of our food and our planet.
Justin Babet, Co-Founder