Over the past couple of weeks my work at B.A. Games has been focused solely on fulfilment of Cult of the Deep. Fulfillment for this project has actually been an ongoing project for quite some time. As I have dealt almost exclusively with fulfillment, I had some thoughts on some of the pluses and minuses of using a fulfilment company to ship your game out to your backers.
First thing to think about is the fact that you are trusting your game into the hands of another company. You have to trust that they are going to handle and ship your product with care. This is where research and asking after other people’s experiences with companies is really important. Using a reputable company can definitely relieve a lot of worry.
Another problem to consider is you are adding another step in the process of fulfilment. You now have to communicate what product and accessories are going where and to whom. Adding another layer to communication always runs the risk of a misunderstanding of what is supposed to happen. This in turn can lead to mistakes, unnecessary shipments, and increased costs.
When using a fulfillment partner, you have less control of when your product can go out. You are at the mercy of when your fulfilment partner has time on their schedule. Your product may sit at their warehouse for several weeks waiting for its turn to be packaged and shipped. If you decide to fulfill yourself, you have complete control over when you ship things. The only mitigating factor is how fast you can pack and the time you have to do it in.
One of the last things I will mention is that handling problems can be harder to coordinate and sort out when using a fulfillment company. Taking care of problems can be hard enough as different backers have a tendency to use different mediums to contact you about their issues. Adding in a fulfillment company in the loop as well as backers who reach out to them adds in another layer of making sure you have all of your boxes checked and taking care of everyone.
The absolutely last thing I will mention is relates to the title of this article. Time. One of the interesting things about engine building games is that as time goes on you can do more and more. In the end the game is about lining up your engine so that you can accomplish more than your opponents in the same amount of time. You line everything up, accounting for everything you would like to accomplish with what you have on hand and then, when the time is right, let the engine run and get things done.
Using a fulfillment company is really the same concept. You are lining up your manufacturing, shipping, orders, and all necessary information to ship out your product. Once you have everything set in place and the time is right, you hit the button, let the engine run, and get things done. In the end saving you time and money, letting you get more done.
Ed “Duke of BAzlandia”