The Bee Barrel is a perfect example of literally thinking outside the box!
If you're already a beekeeper or would like to become one you are going to love what the Bee Barrel is doing for beekeeping. Nearly every aspect of the trade can benefit from this new and innovative design. Inspections are simplified, bees have an improved environment to live in and thanks to the exciting technological world we live in, science can now play a real role in backyard beekeeping as well as on the commercial side!
In January 2014 we completed our Bee Barrel prototypes and introduced three-pound colonies of bees into them at the end of April. The bees and the bee barrels performed exceptionally well. You can learn more by visiting http://www.beescientific.net/projects/
The prototypes of the Bee Barrel we built are made of wood. They taught us a lot and after a little 'tweaking' we determined that the design was sound enough to move into the production phase. In the production phase the Bee Barrels will be manufactured from alternative materials which will give our customers the advantage or durability, strength, longevity, light weight, environmental friendliness, and affordability. Not to mention less stress and a better environment for the bees.
We are raising the funds required to create the tooling and other components to mass produce the Bee Barrels using an injection molding process including engineering, machining, testing, and finalizing the injection molds.
Once the molds are created (the process will take about four to five months) the remaining funds will be used to cover the costs of an initial order of Bee Barrels placed with our manufacturers and the operational costs associated with final construction, packaging, and shipment of the orders.
Sales and marketing will continue to attract new customers through the use of social media outlets targeting beekeeper and hobbyist groups and add placement in agricultural and hobby magazines and websites.
We will also recruit regional distributors already in place across the country that have established clientele and know their markets and their customers' needs.
As a matter of perspective, Bee Culture Magazine stated in their 2012 industry survey that there are roughly 115,000 to 125,000 beekeepers in the United States and reported that 2.64 million U.S. honey bee colonies produced honey in 2013. http://storyofhoney.com/press_kit_docs/Industry%20Facts.pdf Other sources reported numbers as high as 200,000 beekeepers in the United States.
Our initial goal is to reach out and sell two Bee Barrels (known as a 'stack') to 10,000 individuals within the first 12 months of operation. This number represents 8% of the more conservative number of 125,000 beekeepers which equates to twenty thousand bee barrels. And if we were to replace just one box for every colony in 1% of the estimated number of 2.64 million colonies the first year, we will produce over twenty-six thousand barrels!
At the end of the day we want to produce a product in an affordable manner that generations of beekeepers can enjoy.
Our business plan outlines a strategy of producing 20,000 hives within the first year but also factors in the probability of exponential growth beyond our initial goal. The growth will be accommodated by contracting more manufacturers to produce the Bee Barrels faster and in higher quantities. This can be done through the use of remaining funds from this campaign as well as revenue from previous orders or lending institutions once we have established production trends.
To learn more about the Bee Barrel and Bee Scientific be sure to check out our website at http://www.beescientific.net
Risks and challenges
1. Overwhelming Orders
The possibility exists that orders for Bee Barrels out-pace our current ability to manufacture them.
Plan of action: Our business plan requires that we identify and have business relationships with at least two additional suppliers beyond the number of suppliers currently manufacturing the Bee Barrels.
In this way, these suppliers will be ready to take orders and start production immediately upon receiving the injection molds.
2. Customer Satisfaction
Since this is a new concept in beekeeping we expect some resistance to embrace the change.
Plan of Action: We will leverage YouTube and other websites to publish how-to videos and other success stories and testimonials about our approach to beekeeping to help bolster customer confidence. Our business plan mandates a strong customer support structure that will enable us to hear what our customers are saying about our products, listen to their needs, address their concerns and improve where possible.
3. Delayed Manufacturing or Tooling
Stuff happens. Changes in designs, supply shortages, etc.
Action Plan: We will work very closely with our manufactures and suppliers to ensure timely delivery of the products and services required to mass produce the barrels. This includes multiple vendor sources for raw materials and utilizing local tooling shops to maximize our ability to interact, collaborate, and proactively intervene if things start to stray. We will set very clear, detailed expectations for our vendors that can be measured and achieved.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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