CAS Announces Operational Improvements that Will Reduce Turnaround Times and Provide Better Service
CAS ANNOUNCES OPERATIONAL IMPROVEMENTS, PAUSE ON COMPLEX CUSTOM SUBMISSIONS, AND NEW PROTECTIVE CASE POLICY ALL AIMED AT DRAMATICALLY REDUCING TURNAROUND TIMES AND PROVIDING BETTER AND MORE COST EFFECTIVE SERVICE TO OUR CUSTOMERS
At CAS, we always operate our business with the goal of providing the best and most cost effective services possible to you, our fellow collectors. Because remember - we are collectors like you! On that basis, we are pleased to make the following announcements, each of which is expanded upon below:
- Hiring of allocation and production manager and substantial increase in staffing have lead to dramatic increase in production output and efficiency, with additional production gains expected by first quarter of 2023
- Pausing of acceptance of "Complex Custom" (as defined below) submissions will increase production speed and efficiency
- New policy regarding return of protective cases, which will go into effect November 1, will free up manufacturing space, reduce administrative tasks, and reduce return shipping costs to customers
Substantial Staffing and Experience Gains Have Increased Output, Improved Efficiency, and Will Lead to Dramatic Reduction in Turnaround Time
This past July, we hired an Allocation and Production Manager with over 40 years of manufacturing, operational efficiency, team building, and production management experience. From day one, he has implemented procedures and allocated the work among our staff in ways that have immediately increased our operational efficiency, resulting in a dramatic 50-60% increase in production across all areas of CAS's organization in just over three months. In addition, he has increased accountability among our staff to do better each day, continuously improve, and take even more pride in their work than they did before. During that time, we have also substantially increased our staffing across all areas of the organization. We believe that, with these staffing improvements, by the first quarter of 2023 we will be processing submissions at 200% of the capacity we were as of the end of June 2022...or higher. Ultimately, this will lead to shorter turnaround times, and we look forward to updating you on that progress in early 2023.
Pause on Acceptance of Complex Custom Submissions Will Increase Production Speed and Efficiency
When CAS first burst on the scene in 2016, we quickly developed an almost "cult" following based not only on our superior services and additional offerings compared to that existing in the marketplace at that time, but also because of the amazing work our staff did in fabricating "Complex Customs." "Complex Customs" are kind of a "you know it when you see it," but one can describe it as placing more than one item together in the same case to create a diorama, include multiple different items in the same case, or include the various inner contents of a toy box such as loose parts, pieces, instruction booklets, etc. "Complex Customs" often include a loose ship, creature, etc. as well. As an example, here are images of some examples of "Complex Customs" we are pausing for now:
And here are some image examples of submissions that, while still technically "custom," we will continue to accept, such as runs of multiple standard loose figures, carded figures, or simpler items to case up (i.e., not involving many different parts and pieces) in the same case:
While our production of Complex Customs helped catapult CAS to be the top option for grading and display services for collectors, the time required for our team to fabricate Complex Customs has undoubtedly contributed to longer turnaround times across the board. As such, and consistent with our stated goal of dramatically reducing turnaround times, we are pausing accepting Complex Customs at least through 2023, and will provide a further update over time.
To be clear, we will no longer be accepting submissions of Complex Customs at collectible show appearances, and if a customer submits one through our online submission process and sends it in the mail to us, we will be sending it back to you (i) ungraded along with the balance of your graded order for those standard items we do grade for you, or (ii) by itself if it was a one-item submission. If you are unsure whether your submission constitutes a "Complex Custom" or not, please make sure to email us at email@example.com to confirm BEFORE sending the submission to us.
We hope one day to get back to what helped endear us to our customers and the overall collectible community, but for now we are squarely focused on increasing efficiency and reducing turnaround times.
New Policy Regarding Return of Protective Cases Will Free up Manufacturing Space, Reduce Administrative Tasks, and Reduce Return Shipping Costs
One of the most important things to our customers is ensuring that their ungraded items arrive at CAS in the same condition they were sent, so that we can protect and preserve them in such condition for you. As such, oftentimes submissions are sent to us in Star Cases, hard acrylic cases, clam shells, or other protective materials. To date, it has been standard practice for grading companies to retain those protective cases during the grading process, spend time to store and track them with the balance of the order, and stuff them into the boxes also containing the finished, graded items that are sent back to the customer.
During the grading process, tracking those cases (which, other than the hard acrylic cases such as those offered by GW Acrylic, often have little to no value) and pairing them with the relevant submission takes time and attention, and the storage of those bulky items often takes up significant space that is misaligned to the lack of value those cases typically have. Even worse, sending them in the boxes back to customers increases the size and weight of the return boxes and, accordingly, the shipping and handling cost we must ask our customers to pay for such return.
As such, effective as of November 1, 2022, we will no longer return any protective cases to customers with their graded items unless the customer elects, as part of the submission process, to pay the $5 "Return to Customer" cost per case. On November 1, as part of the online submission process, you will see an option to pay the $5 "Return to Customer" charge, in which case we will retain the case for that particular item and send it back to you. We recognize of course that some of these cases, notably the GW Acrylic cases, do have value, so we want to ensure a process for the return of those cases to the customer, at his or her election.
If you have any questions about this new policy, which is in effect for new submissions placed on or after November 1, please don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.