Firstly, we sincerely hope that all our customers and their families are keeping safe and healthy in this trying time around the world.
We understand the absolute need for communication and we apologise profusely for the lack of updates over the last few months, there hasn’t been a lot to report due to the strict lockdown procedures that happened here in China.
We have received many emails of support during this difficult situation and we would like to sincerely thank everyone. We have touched on this topic in our last blog update, but we can finally share some more information related to the on-going, now global pandemic, which has disrupted not only China, but the world, and our hearts go out to all that are still being affected.
While we have been dealing with the pandemic in China since Dec/Jan, things changed rapidly over the past few months, which presented additional barriers for our team who are still on the ground in China. The Government has imposed strict lockdown and restrictions to many areas which has made access to our factory near impossible.
Certain factory workers in China have slowly been allowed to return to work, providing they conduct additional safety measures and implement the use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Many factories have also been requested or granted tools in order to help produce much needed PPE, such as face masks to boost supply much needed not only within China, but for export to the rest of the world during this crisis.
For our team, the situation brings some additional hurdles we have to contend with. China currently has a ban on foreigners arriving, which prevents additional members of our team from flying over to help with production, and those who are already in the country must adhere to frequent checks, and new regulations around visas to remain in the country, which at this stage is a vital necessity.
Status of production
The lockdown restrictions recently relaxed in our area and we finally got access to our factory again. With a reduced workforce, and a backlog of work, this means that the tasks left for us to complete (replacing the rest of the BLE modules to the latest revision) has been slotted into the production queue of our supplier, which we are waiting to complete.
Once this step is finally completed, we can resume sending out boards to customers who have been extremely patient. For this we sincerely apologise, and we will be making every effort to keep customers updated as frequently as we can.
While we planned to send out boards via air, the new restrictions and inflated costs (4-5x) for delivery of products has made this option unsustainable, costing upwards of $250USD per board, due to a massive reduction in air freight routes.
At this stage we will be forced to shift to a different delivery method, which will require us to send boards via sea in batches to the customers’ countries, and use local couriers for fulfilment when they arrive. Sending boards out by sea may now require 25-30 days in transit, this is unfortunately out of our control.
The Good News?
Whilst we hate to deliver bad news, we are very committed to delivering the quality products we set out from the beginning to our customers and providing the support to back it up with our 2 year warranty.
As soon as all existing orders are delivered we will resume sales of boards (we stopped taking orders mid last year) from stock only. We have learnt many hard lessons during this time, and have a far better understanding of the complicated nature of designing, manufacturing, delivering products globally to customers. We know this experience hasn’t been easy for you, our customers and we apologise and will do everything we can to regain your trust and confidence in us.
As we previously mentioned we still plan to offer customers compensation in the way of extras with the shipments we are sending out. We planned to offer customers free wheels as well as vouchers towards further purchases.
Our sister company Boa has been delivering wheels to customers all over the world and has been getting great feedback from customers. The lineup comes in 3 sizes – 80mm Sigma, 90mm Hatchling and 100mm Constrictor.
What’s next for Boa? Due to popular demand, white wheels have been the first to ship and further colours are underway.
In addition to new colours, a new Boa Fang variation will be available. The Fang’s are processed with a 5-axis CNC machine to precisely cut 3mm deep grooves for ejection of water and handling of loose terrain, these will be available in all 3 sizes.
A new run of the BlackBelly bearings are underway and will be on the market again, made from high quality Silicon Nitride, with a built in spacer and speed ring, making installation a breeze and filled with nano ceramic grease.