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General suggestions or questions about the SparkFun Electronics website
By StealthMicro
I have looked around on the site to see how many times this question has been answered and it has been danced around a few times but I would just like some clarity if at all possible.

I understand the shipping statuses and what they mean but I am wondering why things sit in queues for long periods of time. For example a "New Order" usually sits that way for a considerable amount of time before it even moves on to the "Invoice Printed" stage. I am curious as to why 95% of this could not be completely automated. I understand that you will always have the exceptions in all processing stages but for the most part the system should be able to handle the majority.

Things like...

1) Checking the order quantities for stock.
2) Doing an evaluation of the customer for example...
a) Has this customer ordered in the past.
b) Has this customer used the same funding source without issue in the past.
c) Is the billing and shipping address the same as used in the past.
PASS / EXCEPTION - If Passed automatically print invoice and move process to "Invoice Printed"

To me I have a really hard time with the "New Order" step as it usually will hold an order up for many hours and causes shipping to pass off to the next day.

Also any sort of priority shipping should get priority in the shipping queue. Now I know this could be a touchy subject but really should be addressed. If you have a customer that is paying for 1, 2 or even 3 day shipping they really should be processed before the ground delivery customers. If that causes tension then how about what newegg does and charge a little extra for priority shipping.

Now a few of you are thinking to yourself why is all this necessary we are talking about electronic parts here and really these are being used for testing and building new projects so there really should be no rush for people to get their stuff. While this is true for most there are times when it is necessary to order things rush to meet a deadline etc or even better yet maybe I just found out I get this weekend off to tinker!

Lets also face facts that this site as well as lots of others cater to impulse buyers. Do you think that an impulse buyer would be as quick to pull the trigger next time when they ordered something next day and it took another day just for processing? Especially if they place the order on a Thursday? or even a Wednesday for 2 day and have to wait until Monday because the processing took longer than it should have?

Lets face it SparkFun is a multi million dollar company and should really be able to streamline the order processing part of the business. Its easy for people to complain about the shipping department being slow but really its not always a shipping department issue. It could be an issue with accounts receivable and other departments that have to manually touch an order to get it to where shipping even has it in front of them.

If you look at a lot of sites that sell products you will find time lines which I think are a great thing. For instance if you place your order before 2PM Central Time your order will be shipped the same day if not it will be shipped the next business day. To me this is an achievable goal for most any company. Especially a tech company like SparkFun.

I don't even want to pretend to know your business model even as open as Nate and team is the truth is we have no idea what happens behind the doors of SparkFun but I would think this would be a valuable place to spend a little time researching. When a customer can place an order and with a margin of 95% certainty know when their order will ship it makes for a happy customer. At least I know it makes me happy when I see things like that.

Hire me even as a consultant and I would be very happy to come in and evaluate your business model. I don't think I have seen one yet that could not be automated and or optimized to allow for shipping via a timeline. Lets face it no company I have ever dealt with has been perfect but I would settle for 95% or better. I consistently fall into this issue when I order from SparkFun.

Don't get me wrong you guys are by far on the top of my list of places I would love to work. It would be my dream job to work for SparkFun and team. That is how much I like SparkFun and what you guys are all about. This is probably one of only a couple of issues I would love to see resolved and that says a lot in my eyes for any company to only have a couple of issues I would love to see get corrected.

You guys ROCK!

Thanks for at least listening...
By CS Paul
Good timing :)

We actually just completely revamped the way we process orders in Shipping yesterday. We used to deal with orders in batches, thus why you would see the order sitting in New Order for a longer time. We now deal with them individually. We do give more weight to Overnight and other express shipping method over USPS First Class Mail, but it's our goal not to have to. Everything should be able to ship out if placed by a certain time each day.

We do intend to be able to guarantee same-day shipping (if placed by a certain time of day) at some point this summer. It's been a long process of tweaking to get there, but I'm confident we will see it sooner than later.

There will still be caveats - we probably won't guarantee it for First Class Mail right away, and there can be umpteen reasons an order needs investigation or other attention that will delay it. But those 95% of orders should be getting faster treatment within the next few months.