Lets face it, the practical reality is that unlike how Vanguard sells to AAFES (with a set of standards and probably with a QA process at the buyer), CAP is really not Vanguard's "customer," the individual members are the customer.
Does Vanguard fix things quickly? They do. They're very good about fixing things and taking care of the end-customer, the individual members.
My post here about the chaplain insignia for the ABUs I was sewing up for Chappie touched off a flurry of emails that basically wound up to "OK, we'll put the merrowing 1/8" of an inch from the insignia embroidery." Noooooo, that's not supposed to be merrowed _at_all_.
But even worse is the fact that CAP hasn't provided a "standard" to Vanguard since the beginning of the relationship, and Vanguard, having previously made insignia for the Bookstore, has basically continued to make this "like we did for the Bookstore." So the reason the medical, nurse and chaplain insignia have merrowing around them dates back probably > 10 years. IOW, someone back in the Bookstore days _told_ whomever the embroidery vendor was (Vanguard? Someone else?) to make it that way. When Vanguard took over from the Bookstore, there was all this insignia that was made that way. Lacking any other clear guidance from CAP on how some of our insignia was to be made save a bin full of examples, Vanguard probably shrugged their shoulders and said "OK, we don't make it like this for the Air Force, but there's gotta be some weird CAP reason why these are like this, so we'll keep making them this way...."
When Vanguard sells to AAFES, there are very detailed specs that are included: a "cartoon" (diagram), weight of fabric, color of fabric, colorfastness, color of thread, dimensions, thread count, type of thread, etc. So when a batch of insignia intended for sale on the wall at AAFES comes in to the AAFES HQ for distribution, they select some samples, compare them to the spec, ensure that "Yep, its all within the spec" and the stuff goes on the wall at Podunk AFB's Clothing Sales store. (my company does the same thing to every piece of material that comes in the door from vendors. They don't just do it to a sample of a batch, they do it to every
piece of a batch.. I swear, I feel like we're Lockheed or something. LOL) If the "quality-reject" percentage exceeds a certain number as specified in the deal with AAFES, I'm sure there are penalties, to include potential loss of the contract, so I bet that Vanguard does their own QA process before stuff goes out the door there. But we're talking tens of thousands
of pieces of insignia a year for the military. Not a
thousand. Or a couple hundred.
In the case of CAP insignia, CAP, Inc is not Vanguard's customer. You and I are. Individual members by and large know very little about insignia standards, stitch counts, etc, right? So they order this stuff, get something thats a little whacky in the mail and they don't know. They tear open the package, say "Well, it came from Vanguard that way, it must be correct.." and slap it on their uniform, completely not knowing or understanding that its wrong, inconsistent or looks bad.
Its only when someone goes "Hey, why does your wing patch look *completely* different that mine?" that someone notices the inconsistencies between batches. Or "Hey, where'd you get those shoulder marks? They look awful!" I suspect that a tremendously small number of people who buy from Vanguard actually complain about the quality
of the insignia. Most (even me) just figure out how to make it work.
Example: I got the wings pictured below from one of my officers who ordered them from Vanguard a month or so back. Notice the vertical centering? These are AIR FORCE wings, too! I didn't have the time or energy to dicker with Vanguard and wait for them to remake wings correctly. I made it work, but it was a pain in the backside. But at the end of the day, why should I have to show the vendor that they're not even making Air Force insignia to Air Force standards (minus the obvious difference in fabric color and thread color)? That would *never* fly on the wall at AAFES.
Its the inconsistency over time that is the problem, too. I can show you differences in insignia purchased from Vanguard over a period of a year or 18 months:
Look at those cadet shoulder marks. They're all over the map!!
So my point in all this, sort of, is that since members go VFR direct to Vanguard on all issues (shipping, customer service, order quality, insignia quality), the powers that be have no real solid visibility into the depth and breadth of the issues the individual members are having with insignia quality. So the only way we're ever going to know is if we start reporting on quality issues *somehow* to NHQ/the NUC, etc.
Maybe we need a centralized point of complaint at HQ? Something like an online form where people can submit their issue, you know, with contact info, a description of the problem, maybe a photo or two uploaded, etc. It gets logged for National-level information, and Vanguard gets notified "Hey, this guy has a problem. Fix it." That way, NHQ / NUC / The National Leadership now have a modicum of visibility in to what is going on. They can see a report or a listing, and someone can say "In the last 4 months there have been 72 Vanguard complaints. 29 were related to shipping, 17 were incorrect items shipped, 10 were complaints about the quality of the polo shirt, 6 were complaints about the quality of metal insignia, and 10 were about embroidered insignia quality...**"
Now someone can say "OK, apart from the spec issues, lets talk about the 46 service delivery problems.."
(**completely made up numbers)
Unless and until we know the scope of the issue, its hard to deal with the problem.
At the same time, yes, we need some legit specs for Vanguard to then build insignia against, and that can be held up as "accept/reject".