The long and winding road
Just got back from another trip to the West Coast to check on the machines. When we booked the trip about two weeks ago, the idea was to be in San Diego just in time to see the final beta units go out (after several delays, of course). By the time we actually arrived, the timeline for the second beta build had been pushed back further, and instead we spent time meeting with project management to once again discuss why the timelines keep slipping.
What’s the cause? A combination of miscommunications/inefficiencies in the process, and problems setting up the calibration rigs as they transition from manual end-of-line calibration/QC to automated rigs.
What does this mean for you? Today we were informed that the build will happen tomorrow, which means the second half of betas can finally go out and we can wrap up this stage. To clarify, we’ve already had machines in the field, and we think we’ve identified most of the problems.
The silver lining of the delay is that it’s given us time to make fixes to the second build that we learned from the first, including an updated drip tray design, steam functionality optimization, and a few other design fixes that minimize the possibility of injury due to sharp corners, folds or temperatures. Hopefully the second round will serve primarily to confirm the issues we’ve already begun to solve.
This is an incredibly frustrating development and even more hair-pulling and demoralizing than usual as we pass the 2-year mark and barrel into the Christmas holiday. We’re with our current manufacturer now specifically for their UL certification and timeline management expertise, and it’s tempting to try to point fingers, but that’s not productive - we’re all on the same side, and we’re all responsible.
So what actions have we taken instead? We’ve had a series of very serious meetings between our and their executive teams, and have identified several actions to take and inefficiencies to correct to ensure that we minimize the risk of any further delays.
We know that no one wants to see testing go on forever, and it’s tempting to just skip the second beta build altogether. But we are trying to make sure that we’re measuring twice and cutting once, so to speak. Now that it’s the home stretch - especially during the holiday season and the two-year mark of the project - every additional day is more painful than ever. We know that. You know that.
We currently expect all of the beta units to have shipped by the end of the week, and we'll obviously be moving swiftly to try to wrap up beta as quickly as possible after that.
We wanted to touch base with you and let you know that things are moving, slowly but surely.