Operations Improve but the Supply Chain – and Inventory Visibility – is Worse

With peak season approaching,  we want to update you on both operational and supply chain challenges that will affect your shopping experience for the foreseeable future.

After you place an order, you will receive another email notification, including tracking information, when the order ships.

As you know, we are now in the Holiday High Season in a year where nothing is business as usual. We are doing our best to control what we can – sharpening, quality inspections, and making sure your product will arrive undamaged.

We can’t control everything – we still need to hire more to ramp up for Holiday, but supplier’s manufacturing, the container ships, docks, rail, trucks and new employees are ….. unpredictable.

If you ordered an in-stock item, please reach out to us by email only if you have not received a shipment notification after 10 business days (orders@kultofathena.com). If your order is of a usually ships item, please only reach out after 14 days. If you added sharpening, please only reach out after 21 business days.

We truly appreciate your patience. Our staff is working overtime every week – and has been for 16+ weeks.  We are making new hires… and those that show up and hardworking and learning quickly.

Sharpening in action at Kult of AthenaOn the sharpening front, an additional workstation is in place and a team member has transitioned from packing and quality control to sharpening.
2/3 of our staff is vaccinated or recovered from catching the virus. There is no certainty about anything covid related, and downtime from any employee will still slow us down, but we hope that we won’t lose 40% of our operations crew for 3 weeks as we did in May. Our employees are free to make their own decisions when it comes to vaccinations, and standing incentives are in place for those that choose to do so.
The External Situation:
This is not business as usual, and we ask for your understanding and patience as we navigate a crazy flood of circumstances. We have published our best estimates of “cut-off” dates to receive your purchase by the holidays.
Yet the supply chain is and remains unpredictable.
Overseas, many manufacturers are still not at full capacity, and some countries require that a workplace shut down for 2 weeks if there is even one case of Covid identified.
Additionally, energy rationing in China is leading to brownouts and fewer work days.
The shutdowns are in the ports, as well. The largest ports in the world are in China, and they follow the 1 case = 2 weeks protocol.
The news has highlighted the lack of containers overseas, as well as the lack of labor or updated infrastructure to receive the number of container ships that are lining up at US ports.
Once unloaded, we are facing a shortage of drivers. For over a year, many new drivers could not earn their CDL as state offices were not open, and now more drivers are also retiring.
All of these factors have contributed to surprise delays and under-shipments.
Often, our suppliers cannot predict these changes, and update us as they learn of them.
Items that we do not stock in the warehouse are shipping from us, on average, one to two weeks later than our normally stated “usually ships” time period. We are working closely with all of our major suppliers to stay apprised of their in-stock positions and turnaround times.
We have also published estimated arrival dates of major shipments.  However, some of these dates have moved dramatically.
To see the uncertainty in the global supply chain, you can keep an eye on:
Track the increase in tonnage moving into North American Ports here:

Throughput into North America is up 27.5% compared to last year -Dewry

Track the increase in price for a container year-over-year here, which is a good measure on the number of containers available.

From China, the container cost has increased 360% –Dewry

Some of our suppliers have moved from shipping via containers to using air services. 
This is an unusual step because of the cost involved, but it is the only way to get goods here. The situation is so odd that some suppliers are actually finding it more cost effective to ship multiple small bundles via delivery services than it is to book a container. This sounds ridiculous, but it is currently happening. Although we are getting some goods more quickly, this type of opportunistic shipment reduces our visibility to when a specific item will arrive.
You can also track the number of tankers and container ships sitting at anchor.
This is a live view of the container ships and tankers at Long Beach Port. And the image is a shot on September 2nd – where you could find The Hyundai Pluto – highlighted because we have a Deepeeka shipment on that boat. That shipment reached us in Elgin Illinois on October 4th.
All of this is to say – we are working hard to stay on top of where our inventory purchases are in the supply chain and how that will affect your back and future orders.
We are monitoring when major updates reach us and then passing them to you.
Below is our major supplier’s estimates on receiving their next replenishment shipments:
  • Age of Craft: Regular small deliveries
  • APOC: October / November
  • Balaur Arms:  December
  • Baladay: October
  • Burgschneider: Regular Small Deliveries
  • Cold Steel:  November, December and January (previously October)
  • Deepeeka: October and November
  • Devil’s Edge: November and December
  • Dragon King: October and November
  • EKGH: The Covid situation in Nepal is unstable
  • Epic Armoury: Regular Small Deliveries
  • Hanwei: November and December
  • Honshu: Regular Small Deliveries
  • Iron Tiger: September / October
  • Kingston Arms: October – limited deliveries
  • Legacy Arms: October – limited deliveries
  • Lord of Battles: October and January
  • Lord of the Rings: Regular Small Deliveries
  • LK Chen: September / October
  • Musha: Regular Small Deliveries
  • Musashi Regular Small Deliveries
  • Ronin Katana: November (previously October)
  • Traditional Filipino Weapons: November / The Covid situation in Philippines is unstable
  • Universal: November / December
  • Weapons Edge: October
  • Windlass: Regular small orders
  • Zombie Go Boom: October