Dear Nat Turner,
Thanks for firing Joe Orlando; that was the first move in the right direction. Don't get me wrong; Joe did great things for the hobby. He's a nice guy, but PSA got too big, too fast, and the ship has capsized.
Now fire the rest.
Fire all management with heavy connections to the auction sellers and bulk submitters. BTW you don't need to give discounts to bulk submitters (I will get to that below), but the cronyism that created the scandals, the investigations, the leakages of company information created a tsunami of boxes in March. Those people have to go.
Fire all the leadership that lost focus on Quality Control. Quality control is your entire business.
Hire smart, motivated people, but I know you know this.
But what kind?
Industrial engineers, quality control engineers, assembly-line experts, and data analysts, yeah, I know, you aren't making cars. Still, you have an assembly line, and there is science behind how to improve the processes.
Find those that have studied W. Edwards Deming? Have you heard of The Deming Prize? The Deming Prize is the longest-running and one of the highest awards for Total Quality management. I can sum him up quickly. In the 1940s, W. Edwards Deming tried to teach quality control to the US auto companies, they laughed. He went off to Japan, taught them his management and quality control techniques and his philosophy. Well, we all know the rest of this story once the Japanese car companies came here, don't we?
OK, so what else can PSA do? Here is my quick list:
Kill the magazine in print. Yeah, I know, some old-timers will get pissed, but buy them an iPad to read it online. Just kill it. No one reads print magazines anymore, and it costs a lot to produce. I have the last seven still in the plastic wrappers stacked up on my coffee table. And I'm sure I'm not the only one that has this stack.
Charge upfront for cards submittals. This has to be a massive cost to PSA and can easily be fixed by charging upfront on submit. It will save all sorts of issues with changed addresses, expired credit cards, chargebacks, lost contacts, forgotten submittals, etc.
Install a chat-app on for CS. There are plenty of excellent services out there, Zendesk, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, MailChimp, etc. Give the customer less friction to get the support they need.
Use Earth days in your service levels. Once PSA gets off the Mars and Venus calendar, obviously, but adding days and turn-around times to services levels, stick to it, analyze that data, improve, and eventually you'll be able to guarantee to turn around times.
Allow for n-submittals a week and close down once it's complete. Your industrial engineers will get you this number , and this way, you can guarantee days on your service levels, scale it, and improve on it.
Ditch the Qualifiers. Nobody likes them. If it's a PSA 6, it's a 6., it's not a PSA 8(MC). Take the off-centering, the marks, miscuts, print defects, etc., and put them back into your grading system. The qualifiers seemed like an excellent idea, but it's diluting the other grades, it's confusing, and hurting the PSA brand.
Dump discounts for bulk submitters (for now), and while you are at, discontinue all subscriptions. You do not need them. Look at your warehouse full of cards. All these new collectors are just waiting to submit to PSA. When the time comes, sure, open the subscriptions and bulk discounts back up. Use that as a marketing tool when you need it. But right now, you don't.
Keep developing computer technology. Bah, you know this, you acquired Genamint, great job there!
Well, that's all I have for right now. I love this hobby. I want to see everyone have fun and succeed. PSA is a cornerstone of it. Right the ship.
My name is Joseph Bunevith. I am an avid sports card collector. I am Director for a Gaming Laboratory in Las Vegas, NV. I'm known as Joe Tall online. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @joetall or feel free to send me some feedback on this article at: firstname.lastname@example.org