Posted March 16, 2013
Dear ZBoard Community,
Since we received your Kickstarter backing funds a month ago, we’ve been working to ramp up our manufacturing plan. Most of the growing pains involved with increasing capacity so fast (our new volume is 25X our pre-Kickstarter projections) have been finding the correct manufacturer for all our components. Some of our old familiar manufacturers can handle the new capacity and some cannot, meaning for some parts we’ve had to find new sources.
Manufacturing Facility – We’re very excited about how our manufacturing facility in Sacramento, CA is coming together. We’ve been spending some long days building tables, shelves, etc. As you can see in these pictures, we’ve got a lot of space to not only build boards, but also test them. We have a lot more work to do on this facility, so consider these “Before” pictures.
Decks – All decks have been paid for and production has begun. In order to have enough raw materials to build these, our SoCal deck manufacturer had additional wood shipped from Little Rock, AR. We expect the first 500 decks to be delivered to our facility in 4 weeks.
Trucks – When we approached our old truck manufacturer with our new quantities we found they were unable to handle them within our timeframes. Thus, we’ve switched to a truck manufacturer that actually has higher quality units. We've tested the new trucks like crazy and we are very pleased with their performance and appearance. Switching to a new factory also meant that we had to do a new audit. We sent our Chinese auditor and their operation received high marks. We are finalizing the manufacturing agreement now and production and shipping (by sea) are around the corner. We expect shipping to take 3-4 weeks.
Batteries – We’ve been working closely with our battery manufacturer to make sure we have all of the paperwork and certifications necessary to ship tens of thousands of dollars of batteries from China to Long Beach. This has proven much more difficult than we initially expected. The logistics of this industry are regulated by the UN (lithium ion batteries are considered hazardous materials) so as you can probably imagine, the red tape is thick. Here is some light reading on some of those regulations. After sending our auditor to the factory and working with a battery shipping firm, we believe we have resolved the issue and have obtained the correct documentation. We are hoping to have batteries arrive around the end of June.
Battery Boxes – We’ve identified a new Sacramento source for battery boxes that can handle our quantities. Soon we will be anodizing and engraving the boxes. We will let you know when your box is to be engraved and if you’re interested, we can send you a picture of your box when it is done.
Shipping Packaging - We're working with the Bay Cities Company on designing a custom packaging box that will protect the ZBoard in the shipping process.
Overall, this means that we expect to have all parts at our facility at the end of June. We'll be assembling and shipping starting then.
Next week we are heading to the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference in New York. Our next update will include pictures and videos of that trip.
In other news, we ended up in 7th in the MobiPrize Contest that we wrote about previously. The $250 Gift Card Contest was won by Ryan Yust. Congratulations to Ryan and thanks to everyone for voting!
Again, we really appreciate your patience - none of this would be possible without you.
Ben and Geoff
Behind The Scenes:
Since we build ZBoards by hand, the surprising amount of orders means we will be hard at work for the next few months. Initially, we set our goal at $10,000 and projected selling ~20 ZBoards. We told people they’d receive their ZBoards at the end of April / early May. But since our volume projections were off by ~2,000%, not everyone will receive their boards that fast.
ZBoards outside our initial projections will take longer.