How to run an operator friendly business

Many companies claim that they exist to serve the needs of the warfighter or professional end user, but they often lack very basic features or SOPs that are absolutely necessary to cater to that crowd.

This isn’t an end-all-be-all list, but I definitely want to point out two companies that, in my opinion, fit that bill. I’ll go point by point as to why.

First I don’t really buy gear for zero reason. I usually need to have a mission first. Often times I will only fully understand what I need, get my packing list, etc., days before going wheels up. This always leaves me in a time crunch. Needless to say, this automatically eliminates my ability to shop from a myriad of high end stores.

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The crux of the problem here follows: not having a live inventory, taking orders or charging for an item that isn’t even scheduled to hit your production line for months. The picture above shows that First Spear obviously doesn’t have a live inventory. You need to call in to check whether or not your item is in stock.

Great products aren’t great unless they can be made readily available. Needless to say I’ve habitually skipped over certain products or brands simply because I can never get them when I need them.

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Live inventory unfortunately isn’t always the problem. Having a rock solid reliable and clearly laid out shipping schedule and pricing is mandatory. A live inventory doesn’t help you at all when it takes them 6 days to ship a product.

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OPT doesn’t specify same day shipping on their front page like SKD but their performance has been just as satisfactory. Both companies ship extremely rapidly with no back orders and a live inventory. Everything you need for last minute shopping before going to slay bodies.

Both SKD and OPT have a foundation in combat arms, specifically Special Operations. It’s not really rocket science to figure out why both companies have prioritized the ability to rapidly field gear to their customers.

Interactions with the staff at either company are good-natured and friendly. I’ve routinely taken the piss out of the SKD CS team for little reason at all, to which they respond in kind. My emails to OPT are personally answered by Chris or Jon. No outsourced CS team, knowledgeable friendly guys.

I have no agenda with either company. The simple fact is other companies have arguably lost hundreds and/or thousands of dollars due to not running their business in a similar manner. I patron both SKD and OPT out of necessity. I spent 4-5 thousand dollars on business expenses/equipment last year and any gear purchases came from a seller on Amazon, SKD or OPT.

 

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