At last week’s Diamond Retailer Summit, nothing got a bigger reaction than this video explaining how Diamond has upgraded their Olive Branch packing facility.

When this film was shown during breakfast, the room fell silent. The phrase “rapt with attention” is overused, but this ode to put orders, pick stations, conveyor belts and resolute yet friendly workers was packaging porn for the ages – and something that held a unique appeal for comics retailers whose daily life involved opening boxes of comics.

It also shut down the usual complaints about damages from retailers at the breakfast. While one bent corner on a copy of Life in Riverdale doesn’t seem like an industry-shaking issue, it is clear that damages were a big problem for Diamond, or else they wouldn’t have spent $10 million on upgrading their facilities. And more is coming, as one section is being converted into a cantina for aliens  an even more efficient processing shipping station.

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Damond isn’t without its flaws, but this Olive Branch upgrade – recounted in minute detail in this film – shows they have made a pretty hefty investment in their business. And fewer damaged comics means more happy retailers and that means a happier business all around.

Also, damn this thing is huge.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. its pretty captivating. I always imagined you just had lots of workers with carts going through large canyons of metal shelves pulling a bit of this and a bit of that to order.

  2. I still wonder….
    What if Diamond became the Amazon of comics shops?
    An LCS’s website would have a virtual storefront, where customers could order merchandise online.
    Diamond, via Olive Branch, would fulfill those orders, shipping from the warehouse.
    Diamond charges a small processing fee, the store offers a wider variety of products without having to stock the items physically.

    The store could then review the online orders, and see what new categories might sell well at the physical location.

    Diamond moves more product, the stores move more product, stores and Diamond compete with Amazon.

  3. Unless people are buying tons of comics, the shipping cost would be quite prohibitive. Also, much higher storage costs for Diamond and the publishers.

    Amazon’s kind of a special case. For years, they operated at a loss and even now, their revenue may be high but their profits aren’t. I remember reading somewhere that the $99 per year Amazon Prime is the only thing that makes their retail operations profitable.

  4. There is still a lot to improve in the warehouse operations that they filmed. Scanning the labels first and than applying them allows for mistakes. The method of stocking the boxes in the bin with uniformity was an issue. I thought they would utilize plastic box edge protectors for shipping to minimize corner damage to the boxes.

    Still seeing the random picking and packing leaves a lot of room for damage when filling the box. You can’t minimize human error in damaging product.

  5. Well, with their focus on throughput, picks and totes, and nothing at all on employee training or advancement, it’s all about scanner guns and conveyor belts, snd, I can begin to see their priorities. A very impressive demonstration of $10 million dollars of spending on semi automated order fulfulment, and a better understanding on why a comic book now costs us $4 each. But they are giving the retailer what they want, and that is super cool, isn’t it?

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