Risks and challenges
As with any project of this magnitude, risks and challenges exist. However, this is not the first time the team is involved in building products and shipping them to Kickstarter backers. We are very aware of the risks and challenges we will face before the product is ready to ship. In order to tackle problems head-on and solve issues before they can cause trouble we semi-moved to Shenzhen china. By being in China, we are within an arm’s length from the suppliers and factories. Instead of trying to solve issues though skype or email we can be on the factory floor within a few hours!
Below is a list of items that are notorious for causing problems and setbacks:
1. MOULD DESIGN
Mould design is a long and tedious process. We know this from previous projects. The lead time given off by factories is usually the first date they can do a test run with the mould. From experience we know that in 99% of the cases, the mould needs to be adjusted and tweaked. This process can take weeks to complete. We have taken this into account in our project time line.
Products need to be certified for safety. This is a very important step, but also time intensive (and costly). UL is one of the important certification that a smart plug type product needs to go through before it can be sold in the USA. UL testing requires that the product is in its final state (needs to be in the same state as if it were shipped to a customer). This means that the plastic tooling, PCB, software and even the documentation need to be finalized before certification can start. In case an issue is discovered during the certification, it sometimes requires changes to the pcb, components or worst case even the plastic tooling. This could have a severe impact on the schedule.
In order to greatly minimize the risk that this happens we are planning to do a pre-certification early on in the process.
3. SOFTWARE DESIGN
Software engineers are rock stars because they can create awesome software that makes the world go round these days. Unfortunately, even rock stars make mistakes (every now and then). To avoid that you end up with rock star bug in a product we have a scheduled an extensive period of beta-testing in the project schedule. We are going to solicit several beta-testers from our backer community to help us during this beta testing period and get real life feedback and experience before other backers get their product.
We are also going to make sure that SAM has a firmware upgrade feature so in case we release new features or bug fixes you have a way to update your SAM.
4. SUPPLY CHAIN
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
A good and reliable supply chain is critical to the success of product manufacturing. We have made sure that all our components can be sourced locally and from multiple sources. For the custom parts we use factories that have a track record and have ample capacity to supply parts in a short time. Our assembly factory is trusted and works with high level of attention to detail so you will get a quality product. We have learned a lot from spending a lot of time is Shenzhen and we are confident that with our expertise and your support we can build quality products and make SAM a reality.