The U.S. Mint announced this week that it has awarded a contract that will lead to better order fulfillment.
Allen, Texas, company PFSweb, Inc., will provide services from order acceptance to shipment.
Launch date for this upgrade is set for the autumn of 2014.
In recent years huge order delays have occurred in the opening hours of popular new offerings.
By employing a cloud-based eCommerce website, capacity will be available when order surges occur, according to Tom Jurkowsky, the Mint’s director of public affairs.
Order processing will be more automated and it will have a greater fraud detection capability as well as order limit verification.
The result will be the ability to ship orders within one business day of receipt, Jurkowsky noted.
Telephone orders will be directed to a primary call center in Dallas with overflow capability in Memphis if needed on high volume days or if a disaster strikes in Dallas.
The firm will also handle order fulfillment from Memphis.
From where I sit, this appears to be unalloyed good news for the Mint’s 2.5 million active customers.
I would expect that improved turnaround times will not mean that the Mint will abandon its mint-to-order policies for certain special products.
Technology, as wonderful as it is, cannot prevent collectors from feeling cheated if a maximum mintage is set too low in advance. The fact that those who successfully buy something will get quicker delivery will not assuage the feelings of unfairness harbored by disappointed buyers.
The last major upgrade to the Mint’s ordering system was in 2001 with tweaks like increased memory capacity added over time.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”