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Product Backorder and Subsequent Delays

Here is an edited version of an email that Stampin’ Up! Demonstrators received today (I took out the parts that referred specifically to demonstrators), and I thought it pertinent enough that I would share it with you all. Stampin’ Up! is not the only company that has been overwhelmed with backorders; the situation is pretty grim for everyone.

Why Are My Favorite Products on Backorder?
February 19, 2015

“We know there has been a lot of frustration surrounding the current backorder situation. We understand that when you are excited to purchase these fun, new items and then you can’t get them, there is a lot of disappointment for you.

There are three main factors currently affecting availability of Stampin’ Up! products: (1) higher sales of particular products than was forecast; (2) contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA); and (3) the Chinese New Year.

Higher Sales

For accessories in the Spring Occasions catalog, Stampin’ Up! sold 100 percent or more of some products in eight weeks than was forecasted for a period of 13 weeks! While this is certainly exciting news in many ways, it has also resulted in frustrating backorder situations.

West Coast Port Labor Negotiations

Nearly 40 percent of all US imports pass through ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. As ongoing contract negotiations continue between the ILWU and PMA, a record number of containers are arriving at the ports due to new “jumbo” freight vessels. In addition to these record numbers, there is also a shortage of equipment used to actually deliver the containers. You can follow news about the ports and the labor negotiations here. Unfortunately, there is no end in sight for the negotiations or the congestion at the west coast ports.

Like almost everyone else who imports through these ports, Stampin’ Up! is looking for alternate routes to bring in their products and make them available to you.

Because of the congestion at the west coast port, more companies–Stampin’ Up! included–are using air freight from China to bypass the congested ports, which, ironically, is now causing congestion with imported air freight.

Chinese New Year

During Chinese New Year (February 19-March 5)–a very important holiday to the Chinese people–most Chinese manufacturers shut down and none of those products will be shipped to the U.S. during this time.

Unfortunately, these three factors have combined to create the “perfect storm” of backorders and, sadly, the situation will probably get worse before it gets better.

The Temporary Solution

Because backorders cause so much consternation Stampin’ Up! has decided that until there are improvements in the factors causing backorders, accessories that become unavailable will be turned off, rather than allowing them to go on backorder. Please note: because stamps are manufactured locally, stamp sets will be allowed to go on backorder status as needed.

If you currently have an item on backorder, Stampin’ Up! will fill your order as soon as the item comes back in stock. Occasionally the product shipments that are received will not cover all backorders; in these instances, the remaining backorders will have to wait until subsequent shipments are received.

We apologize for the frustration the backorders have caused you, but we hope this information has helped you understand some of the circumstances that are affecting how quickly we can replenish our inventory.”

I am so grateful to Stampin’ Up! for sharing this information with us as demonstrators, and I hope that providing this alert to you, the customer, will at least offset some of the frustration you may have been experiencing with long delays in product backorders. Here’s hoping to good things happening quickly!