Posted on the FRC Blog, 11/18/2016: http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2017-first-choice
It’s the time of year where we talk about what to expect from FIRST Choice. This blog should have all the information needed if you’re new (or need a refresher), but can also be skimmed by experts to get the gist. Here goes…
We’re doing FIRST Choice again. If you already know what FIRST Choice is, you can skip this part. If you’re still reading, you’re a rookie team, want a refresher, or can’t resist reading something you were told you could skip.
I’ll start with a general introduction of what we mean when we talk about the “Kit of Parts” (KOP). The KOP is a term that’s evolved to mean “goods we obtain from companies on behalf of, and provide to, FRC Teams.” These items then get to you, our customers, via three different methods:
- the Kickoff Kit: items that we pack in totes (mostly in totes, there are typically exceptions for late or big items) and distributed to Teams at local Kickoff sites. There are two permutations of this – one set of items that go to all Teams and a second container that goes to 1st year, aka “Rookie,” Teams
- the Virtual Kit: items donated by Suppliers, but don’t actually come to FIRST
for redistribution. Custom orders (like Bimba cylinders), software downloads, and Product Donation Vouchers all fit this category.
Choice: FIRST Choice consists of an online menu of items available to 2017 FRC Teams, and it’s hosted by our friends at AndyMark (for free!). Its purpose is to make available a variety of goodies that Suppliers cannot provide in volumes to support all of the Kickoff Kits. Instead, Teams use a limited number of credits to pick and choose the items they prefer. Because of the limited inventory, we typically run out of popular items, but we’d rather make a variety of items in limited quantities available than none at all.
Priority Lists are back, and we’ll do two rounds (one before Kickoff and one after Kickoff). The Priority List process remains unchanged, and it’s illustrated in more detail here. Based on our experience from the previous two seasons, we believe that what it lacks in simplicity, it makes up for in user experience and satisfaction. The Priority List is optional, and the deadline for Round 1 Priority Lists is noon (Eastern Time) on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.
Each Priority List created by the deadline (one per Team), will be assigned a random rank. The order in which individual teams complete their Priority Lists before the deadline does not affect their rank. All teams that add at least one item to their Priority List by the deadline are put in a common pool and then randomly sequenced. This is what we mean by ‘random rank.’
Then, in rank order, AndyMark’s auto draft system will query the Team’s highest priority item and, provided the Team has the credits and FIRST Choice has the inventory, issue the item to the Team. This applies to each Priority List line item as ranked. If the team doesn’t have enough Credits to cover the entire amount (but at least one) or FIRST Choice inventory doesn’t have the entire quantity (but at least one), the team will get as many as their credits/FIRST Choice inventory allow. If credits or inventory can’t cover one, it will move on to the next ranked item so the team is not skipped for that round.
Once it gets to the last ranked Priority List, the draft system will query that last Priority List’s next item and work its way back up the ranks (for Teams that know how we’ve done Alliance Selection in the past, this serpentine process probably seems familiar). This draft continues until inventory’s gone or Priority Lists have been exhausted. Inventory will be updated for when FIRST Choice opens for traditional “first come, first served” live orders.
Some new things:
We’ve added sample lists like “pneumatics” or “vision”. You can select a sample list for your priority list – or use it to get started and edit/customize as you see fit. Caution though, when you select one it will wipe an existing list and start fresh.
A little disclosure: Any motors you see available in Round 1; you can assume they’ll be legal on your robot.
A few other notes about the process:
Login information will be posted in each Team’s registration account (your Lead Coach/Mentor 1 and 2 will see a button labeled “Access Passwords/Voucher Codes”). Only registered FRC Teams will have access to their login information, and thus only registered Teams will be able to create and submit a Priority List.
Priority Lists will be created using (and only accepted via) the Priority List feature on AndyMark’s FIRST Choice site.
Shipping charges will apply (details to be posted on FIRSTChoiceByAndyMark.com before Priority Lists are due), and just like last year, a billing address, shipping address, and credit card information must be provided before creating your Priority List. For international Teams, additional charges may apply, for which the Team is responsible and AndyMark will address on a case by case basis.
Priority Lists are saved each time the user clicks “Update,” letting teams add, subtract, and reprioritize items until the deadline.
Upon the deadline, any existing Priority Lists will be locked, processed, and no additional changes may be made (we strongly encourage you complete your list at least a day before the due date to avoid unexpected delays or surprises).
We will not publicly publish Teams’ Priority Lists, the assigned rankings, or final order contents.
Any priority list submitted by a Team that has not secured first event registration payment with FIRST by noon, 12/6/16 will be discarded before lists are ported in to the auto draft system (please anticipate at least one business day for registration payment to be processed and the updated status to be relayed to AndyMark).
So, the timeline for FIRST Choice is as follows (all events happen at noon, Eastern):
11/21/16 Round 1 begins, FIRST Choice login information in the Team's registration account (for registered teams) and credit allotments live at FIRSTChoiceByAndyMark.com 12/06/16 Round 1 Team Priority Lists due (with any unsecured teams' list discarded) 12/08/16 AndyMark notifies each Team of the Round 1 draft results
12/12/16 FIRST Choice opens for traditional live orders 01/06/17 FIRST Choice closes
1/07/17 Round 2 begins, additional credits issued (unused credits do carry over) 01/13/17 Round 2 Team Priority Lists due 01/17/17 AndyMark notifies each Team of their Round 2 draft results
01/20/17 FIRST Choice opens for traditional live orders 04/7/17 FIRST Choice closes for the 2017 season
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank AndyMark for their generosity and commitment to improving the FIRST Choice experience. They donate such a valuable service, and we’re so happy they’ve continued their support.
If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to ask in the comments below or post them to the FIRST Choice Forum](http://forums.usfirst.org/forumdisplay.php?1582-FIRST-Choice-2017&__hstc=212927755.f5436b72433ffb3ce95a3ddfd9deb131.1449696726009.1479431901456.1479511408201.120&__hssc=212927755.1.1479511408201&__hsfp=876281983).
[quote]Poster’s Note: Or just Chief Delphi. You don’t need any other forum.