Grand Prix International • The Toy Book

Michael Fisher | Source: GPI / the Toy Book

Michael Fisher, president at Grand Prix International, talks about the shipping crisis and potential solutions in the Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.

The Toy Book: What was your company’s experience with tracking shipping container delays and price gouging? Do you expect this to continue into early 2022? 

Michael Fisher: Between the constant delays with shipping schedules and obscene increases in pricing, we certainly had limited ability to improve the situation by much. However, we have a dedicated freight forwarding specialist on staff who works extremely hard to constantly communicate with our customers to keep them updated. This did help: Our customers were kept up to date on where their shipments were at any point in time. We also got very aggressive with booking containers and securing vessel space as early as possible as production deadlines were approaching. This also helps to reduce delays. Without a doubt, we expect this situation to continue into early this year, likely through the second quarter.

TB: As a result of the 2021 shipping crisis, do you think toy companies will rethink their overseas operations? If so, what strategies could they implement in 2022? 

MF: In general, I don’t think toy companies will rethink their overseas operations. What we’re experiencing with supply chain issues is global in its impact, whether it’s material shortages, shipping delays, or increased costs. And while some are actively looking for alternative manufacturing options in other countries in an effort to save on costs in general, this is a strategy with numerous challenges. There is too much at stake in the product development and manufacturing cycles to risk major changes. Consistency in material supply, manufacturing quality, factory certifications, and stability with logistics are just a few of the key issues that can make or break a manufacturing experience. And, China continues to offer stability across these critical elements. We work very hard to keep an eye on all of the variables that impact production schedules, quality, and pricing.

TB: How do you think retailers will cope with holiday 2021 toy shipments arriving in early 2022? 

MF: I think any concerns about the inventory carry-over into 2022 causing a lag in ordering activity will be overridden by the fear of continued freight forwarding delays. The economy continues to be quite strong and demand for the products we produce (tabletop games) is very high. If anything, we expect that order volumes will remain strong and we’ll see orders getting placed sooner rather than later. This is really forcing game publishers to forecast their product demand further out in time. 

This article was originally published in the February 2022 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!

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