Friday, November 26, 2010

Container time yay!

One of the more interesting aspects of working as a distributor is seeing a giant shipment of stuff arrive at your warehouse.  Our product is Gundam mainly and when it arrives, it's quite a site to see.  How it works is that a container with a large assortment of items leaves Japan once a month to head for the U.S.

Now it takes about 2 weeks or so for ocean freight, which means we typically get items almost half a month behind release date in Japan. especially if it leaves at the beginning of every month.  There are items that are made to have earlier than Japan release date however to leave, and those get special treatment (PG Strike Freedom will be released in America a few days earlier than Japan at our urging.  In fact it's already left Japan as I type this.  Lucky California retailers will be able to sell it on Dec 11 with it physically in the U.S. already.) Other times an item will ship slightly earlier than usual for the U.S. or other countries so that it arrives at the same time it's officially released in Japan (e.g. HG00 Quanta, Zabanya, Harute).

As for the contents themselves, to be the most economical, we have to pack it until the container is as full as possible.  This truck before we emptied it was literally full of boxes from end to end.  The total after my superb count verification was 433 boxes.

Now for those who aren't familiar with how products are shipped they come in X quantity, not singles.  For Gundam models they range anywhere between 4-60 models in a box, otherwise known as a master case.  PG 00 and PG Strike Freedom come in a case of 4.  While some like the EW HG 1/144 kits come in 42.  Most retailers usually don't get master case quantity because it would take up a lot of inventory.  However for a hot item, they will make an exception and take an entire case.  Of course there's a case discount as an incentive :)

As you can see from the pictures, there's a LOT of Endless Waltz models that we ordered. We're just meeting the American market demand for these things so we have to get this much. One of the funny things I've discovered about American influence on Japanese production is that we have the power to ask Bandai to bump their production schedule up a notch on select items because they realize how high in demand models from series like Gundam Wing are. We stopped the plague of $120 HG Epyon models on ebay D: And now, Bandai is making an unprecedented move by having a large quantity of PG Strike Freedom as physical retail locations throughout the U.S. They've never done this before for the American market and I'm pretty happy to be part of that effort to spread GunPla in the U.S.