Sports Illustrated Blog #106 – It’s A Business Decision.

Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

Graded mag lead times have become purely a business decision and not reflective of actual manufacturer capabilities.   

Consider the facts.  Three years ago, lead times for modern and economy levels were approximately 8 weeks. 

1. During February 2020, lead times expanded from 8 weeks to 1 year.  In the time since, there have been promises of new equipment, new hiring, new processes, better quality shipping and improved customer services all in the name of more responsive customer performance. As of today, lead times for modern and economy submissions are 259 days or broken down as follows…  

259 days to grade + 122 days weekends and holidays + 7 days ship in days + 30 days to open and record submission + 7 days ship out days = 425 days (1.2 years),   approximately the same lead time as 3 years ago. 

425 days if shipment is made on time – you decide how often that happens.  

What can we conclude from the facts above?  With all the promises of change and the passage of 3 years, deliveries haven’t improved one single day.  Why would things change when the manufacturer can charge and you will pay four times the long term submission levels – $150 for a walk thru submission and $85 for a standard submission?  

It’s purely a business decision.  

This is a big deal for any business.  Speaking for myself, I rarely submit modern or economy because waiting 1.2 years for a mag to be graded is just not sustainable.  So my only real options are to pay for expedited services and the manufacturer knows it.    Given this scenario, why would a manufacturer work to lower lead times?  I maintain they wouldn’t.  That’s my opinion but I’ll let you, my readers, decide for yourselves as to whether or not you believe improving manufacturing deliveries have been the real focus.  

Further, I believe that all available operational services are dedicated to expedited services first and long term services if and when they are available.   

Even with that focus, my last three walk thru submissions were quoted on the website to ship in three days.  They actually shipped in 12, 22, and my most recent submission hasn’t moved in 10 days.  For this service, I paid four times the cost of non-expedited services.

Service in this manner should result in exponentially increasing profit margins.  Why change anything???  

Here’s what a manufacturer can do with the right incentive.    Pressing Services used to be a 365 day lead time.  Currently they are 4-15 days.  Why do you think the same manufacturer could make this stunning improvement?  It’s because the hobby now offers a plethora of outside individual pressing operations with two week turnaround times at one-third the cost which has lead the manufacturer to make a business decision to compete or die.  

I also believe that none of these current practices will change without competition.  Again, why would they?  For the first year, it’s a shame on you situation.  For the past two years, it’s a shame on me.  Maybe we’re finally getting it.  

Feel free to submit any questions/comments you may have on these subjects to [email protected] .    

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of SI, SPORT, and TIME magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you in our second century of blogs and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/SPORT magazines.

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