Hello Backers and fellow makers following our project,
First, the bad news: because of issues that have lined up and the 3-week Chinese New Year holiday, it’s likely that we won’t have the Nomiku on your doorstep until March.
We know this news is very disappointing, we are sorry we let you down. And while we’re unhappy with this development, we are not discouraged. We are doing every possible action on our side to move our manufacturing along faster. For instance, we’re working on several steps in parallel such as hacking together final prototypes.
However, like many hardware companies, we’ve had some surprises on the way that have set us back. Some factors of mass manufacturing mean that a few critical steps depend completely on the factory. We’re going to go into full detail now of the challenges we faced and are coming up.
So what happened? We can review our original schedule:
July: Send out Request for Quotation (RFQ) to factories.
August: Finalize design and pick a factory
October-November: Revise tooling, assembly builds and testing, certification testing
December: Mass production and delivery
We talked about some of our problems with factories in a previous update. The first batch of factories we visited didn’t meet our standards and couldn’t provide us much support. This put us back one week just spent visiting these factories and finding out their capabilities through rigorous audits.
Fortunately, we found factories that we really wanted to work with during our second week. But these factories were new to us and D2M, our development and manufacturing partner here. We wanted to do a type of quotation called “open book,” in which the factory details the cost of every line item. This helps us prevents huge variations after design changes. Manufacturers typically don’t share their costs so openly, so it took time to dive into the cost details and negotiate the use of this quotation format which resulted in the RFQ process taking two weeks longer than we expected.
Even after the RFQ, we needed to negotiate on key business terms so we wouldn’t have to pay for everything before we could make sure the Nomikus are tested and delivered. This added an extra week. Then, surprise! Last week was a holiday for everyone in China.
That brings us up to today, 10/9. We have identified and selected a very capable, excited, and vertically integrated partner in producing the Nomiku. Our factory has worked with world class appliance manufacturers in the past and we’re very confident in their capacities for quality. We fought really hard to get them on our side.
In talking to D2M and our factory, we’ve gotten a lot of help on re-designing to simplify assembly and meet UL standards. This means we need to go through additional design iterations and prototyping before we can kick-off tooling. Our planned tooling start is now the beginning of November, after our prototype tests. This adds another week and is really an investment in making sure that the Nomiku will pass UL certification and survive a tumble off your kitchen counter.
With tooling starting in November, our first off-tool shots should be coming off the line in mid-December. The first 30 parts coming off each tool will be measured in every critical dimension, and the tools will be refined until they produce results consistent with our required tolerances. We can expect to have our finished tools by mid-January.
The next step is something we didn’t plan for: a pilot run. Because of your massive support, we need some time to refine our assembly process with a full-scale test run. We would run for one week, producing about 300 units, and then do testing on those units for another one week. Unfortunately, this puts us right on top of the Chinese New Year, which begins in February but people start leaving in January. Everybody here goes on vacation for three weeks, and there’s a good chance we’ll lose many people we trained on the line.
At the end of February, we will ramp up production to finish making over 1500 Nomikus for our US and Canadian backers in two or three weeks. The shipment of these units to the US takes two weeks by fast boat, and the USPS should then get you the Nomiku within a week. That lands squarely at the back end of March. International backers can expect the Nomiku to be at least a month late.
There’s still a lot that can go wrong, and a lot that can go right. We’re glad to be on the ground here in China, and we’re doing everything we can to shorten the critical path to production and bring in the schedule. We’ve really pulled our hair out over this long delay. We wanted to see you all make wonderful sous vide treats for your families over the winter holiday. But we know that we need to deliver a product that is beautiful, effective, and safe. We’ll keep you up to date on any new developments and hope to deliver as early as possible.
Lisa can be reached directly at Lisa@Nomiku.com.
Lisa, Abe, and Bam