Your April Update...
This past weekend must have everyone itching to get their railway layouts up and ready because we received a record amount of emails and questions that I want to address to all of you as a whole.
Just for reference, our current fulfillment completion is at 20%.
First and foremost, we are still actively shipping items to our backers. Should your pledge contain ONLY ABS rails in black, dark brown, or reddish brown, you should have received the rail portion of your pledge. If you ordered ONLY ABS in Dark Bluish Gray, your order should have already arrived, or will be arriving very soon.
Now, with regards to the metal, first, a little history, During our last batch of extrusion that we ordered from the company, several of the rails were "corkscrewed" rendering them unusable. The manager had attributed this problem to sending them too fast through the die. He felt that slowing the process or re-timing the feed arm would correct the issue. Now, fast forward to today. We spoke with an engineer at the facility as well as an engineer from another facility who told us that that reason they were being corkscrewed was due to excess pressure in the die. With the small size of the parts which we are pressing, a special press is needed which limits the total tonnage of force used to press the part. In short, we were referred to another extrusion company which has the correct equipment to accommodate our needs. Why this was just disclosed to us now and not six months ago when we asked and were put on the list is beyond our scope of knowledge, however, I can assure you we're doing what is necessary to get the job done as quickly as possible and the correct way.
I have fielded several questions from backers regarding the plastic and why we are also selling product at retail while some backers have not been fulfilled yet. To answer that question, I would like to share with you a brief financial statement of the project:
As you are aware, the project was funded with a total amount of $87,357. Of this $47,965.94 was actually collected. This difference reflects fees taken from the total amount which were allocated to both KickStarter and Amazon.com payments as well as pledges which went uncollected due to non-payment of backers. For those doing the math, that's 57% return. An additional $11,952 was raised through BackerKit, of which, $9168.96 was collected after fees giving us a grand total of $57,134.90 to work with.
On the expenses side, the molds needed to make the plates and curves in ABS came to a grand total of $43,640. The balance due on the metal fixture cost $3770 as most of it had been previously funded via the company. Also, an additional $3400 was spent on CAD drawings that were needed to create the mold and for the metal process. That gives us a total of $50,810 not withstanding any incidentals, or, at the end of the day, around $6325 to work with in order to pay for product and shipping to roughly 400 backers and pre-orders.
As you can see, the funding shortfall left us in a position where we needed to find a solution to make up this difference. During our initial release of product, we were seeing very good retail sales which allowed us to begin shipping items to our backers and pre-orders by using any profits made to cover the manufacturing and shipping costs of those items. Within a month after release, those sales began to taper slightly, thus necessitating our need to slow the fulfillment process. Now that word of the product has spread and thanks in part to all of you who have been writing reviews and telling your friends about the product, sales have began to pick up again which will allow us to continue feeding the system.
I hope that this somewhat lengthy explanation now sheds more light on "what is taking so long". I can't promise you when your items will arrive. What I can promise you is that we will continue to diligently promote our product and that ALL of you will receive your items and you will be more than pleased with what you receive.
Again, I can not thank you all enough for making this project a reality and granting us your extended patience as we continue to give 100% effort to getting everyone taken care of as soon as possible.
Mike & Eric