Interesting points raised here.
The situation downunder is just the same as your experinece Roomie. Campaign literature is easy to obtain, but special items are very slow in arriving. Why the delay?
Here in Oz we receive our supplies of books from Brooklyn, so when an item arrives, it comes by the carton-load. You can have an oversupply of one item whilst no supply of another. When a consignment arrives in Shipping, the congregation orders are filled and if any are left over, an announcement is put in the KM. In practice, we found that a congregation has to be pretty quick off the mark to get an order filled from an announcement. Thus, the unfilled orders are put on "back order" to await the next consignment from the States, and that could take quite a while.
The easiest method is to go direct to Bethel and buy direct. Of course, this is discouraged!!! Why wouldn't it be, it's breaking the rules!!!
Roomie's point is valid and highlights the poor distribution offered from "God's earthly organisation" (so-called). It certainly is a problem.
Do the congregations bear some responsibility? Of course they do. Most times the literature servants are not the most positive of characters. From what I've seen, they'd prefer to under-stock than over-stock. Well, they've got to count the stuff, haven't they? And they don't want to make a "rod for their back". They also often seem to be, well let me try to be tactful, not the brightest of guys. Good solid men, maybe, but not exactly Type A personalities, for the most part. Getting them to actually be "on the ball" could be difficult, and if the Service overseer is a lazy guy, then the poor pubs haven't got much hope! That's why in the Sydney region, each day there's a stream of individual Dubs arriving at Shipping to get personal orders filled.