We try to fulfill products in the order that they come in, and usually, we’re able to do that. But now we’re experiencing unexpected Cyber Week volumes. We usually plan for peak season months in advance and spend time hiring new staff and installing more equipment, but we couldn’t do that now. With social distancing measures in place, it’s extremely hard to scale up production and hire people as quickly as we need to. To manage our order queue, we route orders to whichever facility has more capacity. Fulfillment order depends on the product and where it’s routed to, so newer orders might get fulfilled faster if they’re routed to another facility.
As an example, let’s say you have two t-shirt orders. The older order might include a t-shirt that’s only be able to be fulfilled at our NC facility, so it’s waiting in line. The newer order is a shirt that we can fulfill at a backup facility, so we might route that order and it gets fulfilled faster.
Keep in mind that when you change an order, that also pushes it to the back of the queue.
Our order routing system wasn’t built for this situation. We won’t be able to solve everything immediately, but we are looking at solutions to improve.