Thanks for hanging in there with us. It’s been a much longer wait than we expected as well. The new production batch is a revised version from the Summer 2017 release and we’re very happy with it.
No problems at all Lars. You guys are doing great things and I’m really happy to be along for the ride.
In regards to the new upcoming Shapechanger units. Would the revisions be noticeable in the performance or just the way it’s manufactured?
It’s mostly mechanical. The second PCB is lower profile, like the Marble Index assembly. There’s also a revised power entry circuit and we’ve switched to 4-layer boards on everything now. If you’ve got a great power supply in your system already, you won’t notice a big difference – but if your power is suboptimal you’d likely notice a significant improvement with noise floor and bleed. Functionally speaking there are no changes.
My order status for the vidiot shows that I am #326, and I started at #322. Does this mean I am moving further back in line?
I had the same thing happen a few weeks ago…reminded me of a scene in the Simpsons where the clock starts going backwards.
Could we get an idea of what the daily Vidiot output is? Do you have all the parts to build and ship them now? Are you prioritizing distributors or direct orders?
Definitely not moving back in line! In fact, that part of the site (waiting list position) should have been deactivated, we have about 250 shipments to make – not 320. The system calculates waiting list position based on an order tally that takes into account quotations and unsuccessful order attempts. In the case of orders placed where you saw your number scoot up it’s probably because someone paid for an order before you, but we had to confirm the payment manually afterwards.
We have ~250 units to ship, about ~170 of those are backorders that we’re on track to deliver around the end of September, and the other ~80 are new direct customer and dealer orders (since we opened ordering back up) that will ship in October. We can take another 30 orders before we need to close down orders again to reassess and get caught up. On the production side we have ~80 units undergoing final QC and packaging right now and another ~90 with their main assemblies finished out. We had about 2 weeks of incredible output, then the team here had to go do the KnobCon event, and the week after returning our assembly team was on break. Everyone’s back at it full force as of Monday this week.
We’re building these in 100 piece sets, in phases, rather than a daily output. Ask me again about 6 weeks into continual production and I can give you some numbers on daily throughput, but while it’s a big assembly project, it hasn’t been the build times slowing us down, it’s been access to labor and purchasing/funding related to meeting the batch sizes required to meet demand. Those issues are now resolved and we’re plowing through the backlog. The overall milestones we’re making decisions by right now is all the pre-September backorders shipped around the end of this month and any orders placed this month shipped by mid/late October.
Everything’s being shipped exactly in the order payment was received, whether dealer order or direct customer order. We’re not sure of a more fair way to do it.
I’ve been vigilantly looking out for a box from LZX for the past month or so even though I haven’t received a tracking number hope I’m in the next batch!! longest I’ve waited for gear, but I’m so sure it’ll be worth it thanks for the updates!
I ordered my Vidiot in Feburay - it’s been a painful wait to say the least! However I’m not hear to add fuel to the fire, just to say I appreciate the honesty in the posts above - and fingers crossed I’ll have my Vidiot soon!
woah so you ordered in feb and haven’t got yours, and i’m sure were told something about fulfillment that has been extended. I ordered mine in june and was told i’d have mine by the end of july. but you still haven’t got yours, and lars is saying that switched on’s back orders are going to ship at the end of this month? man, it’s not even something i’m uspet about i’m just confused lol.
@7pip Let me break it down for you:
- Up through February, we were expecting new orders to ship in March or April. We were well past sales of our first production batch at this point, which was still in progress with our CM, and had already completed purchasing for all of the consigned components for the second production batch, which we assumed would be handled the same as the first and begin right afterwards, sometime in late February or March.
- Completion of the first production batch drug out past February, March and well into April. By this time we’re sweating a bit, because we were already heavily invested in components purchased for the second production batch, but orders were coming in faster than the CM was making progress. At this point we were in a pickle, because we’d committed to a second run of 300 units and spent all our funding on components; but without a manufacturing solution that was going to have them built fast enough. We decided to undertake some assembly in house while our CM was finishing up the first batch.
- Most of May was spent just trying to set up new machines and processes; most of which has stuck with us and is a huge help to us now (new inventory system, website, erp, etc.) as we prepared to take distribution and manufacturing management back in house. Bringing the timing of everything under our control seemed like the only way to pull through and get everything shipped, but with any new process comes a lot of lag time. At this time we thought we were only weeks away from getting caught back up finally. We were just going to power through it, as elbow grease was the only good option.
- In June our first production attempts crash and burn and we’re only able to get 1 out of 5 units through QC, and lack the endless hours of inspection and rework required to push them all through fast enough. Around this time we stopped taking orders for Vidiot entirely, since we were going to be dealing with yet another delay. We got another contract manufacturer involved for SMT assembly, someone who’s fabricated our PCBs for us in the past. We placed the order and wired funds for complete assemblies, meanwhile organized parts and tried to squeeze a few more units through here. We had to tell all of you it would be not just a few more days, but a few more weeks, before we were shipping (and this was the second time we’d had to backtrack on expectations, for anyone who had ordered in Feb/March.)
- In late August (3 weeks ago) the assemblies arrived for the second production cycle and we immediately got to work with a new team that was ready and waiting. Everything’s passing QC beautifully and we’re handing more and more parts of the process over to the builder team each day. We have all the parts to build 300 in this second production run, and any orders placed now are part of that run. We’ll close orders when we sell out of what we’ve already allocated to build (we’re pretty close now) and open orders again once all the purchasing of components is done for the third production cycle.
When it concerns pre-orders placed through dealers, we’re shipping the dealer’s order based on the date they ordered and paid for it, the same as we do direct customers. I’m not sure what date Switched On’s order was exactly placed, but it’s not worth worrying over at this point since everything will be in the mail soon.
I know it may seem like LZX should be doing much better, with such a successful product. The truth is, despite how expensive our products may appear from a synth gear consumer perspective, our margins are lower than most others in our synthesizer industry – even for a small module, the upfront cost of a production cycle can be daunting. So when timing and fulfillment in our supply chain go awry, it really screws us up, and we have to double time it until we’re caught up. We may consider refactoring the pricing on some of our products at the end of the year, but only if we have to. We’d prefer to run a tight ship and get more of our work into others hands than raise pricing.
Thankfully the juggling act is much easier after having pushed through the Summer and with a new production era in full swing around here.
yeah i mean seriously all chaos aside i’m going to patronize your business for as long as you keep the good stuff coming. in general i wouldn’t even voice my position in matters like this, but because i truly value the technology that you are bringing to market at the affordable rate you are doing so, i wanted to be involved in the conversation. that being said, please take more of my money. if you can charge more and also have a better grasp on your fulfillment, i think there are a lot of people that would support you through the short term cost of that sort of improvement. anyways, sometimes tough love is hard to give and take, but this thing with the vidiot has been a bit of a bolo and i’m sure you guys will fix it moving forward. godspeed you filthy animals.
Just chiming in to say that I appreciate the candor, and the insight into running a boutique electronics business.
Also, 7 vidiot orders shipped last night! \o/
Man, I remember waiting a year plus for LZX modules I’d ordered back in the olden days.
The important things to understand: Lars & the LZX family are SUPER dedicated to this shit. There’s so much completely out of their control that it’s amazing they pull this off so cleanly and in such a big way. Ya just have to be patient, approach the game as a lifelong hobby not a shiny new toy to get this second and forget about in 3 months.
Like I get that y’all have/had expectations but it’s through no fault of Lars/LZX that they haven’t been fulfilled. If they could have foreseen any of the myriad obstacles best believe they’d have kept your expectations in-line with reality.
Just the way it is with small batch boutique electronics.
Also, you’re a VALUABLE member of the team. Your dough, and patience is what allows the badass wizards of LZX to bring all these amazing ideas to fruition.
So when you get bummed on timelines… get super psyched instead because you’re part of making magic happen. You’re gonna love your new gear and so will we the community. We’re all in this together.
Everyone should just send LZX all of their money. 3rd mortgage your houses, work 80hrs of overtime, sell your grandma’s pearl necklace so we can get banging digital video delays and more TVFKG’S to play with. Forget about deadlines, just paypal LZX all the money in your damn bank account right now so they can realize you some amazing gear you didn’t even know you needed.
Hahaaha, @Jesse gives the best testimonials.
I wouldn’t say we’re blame free when it comes to fulfillment issues on Vidiot, after all we’re the responsible party here. That said, we certainly haven’t been negligent and we certainly haven’t been lazy when it comes to navigating our supply chain woes this year, and we’ve certainly learned a lot and made a lot of proactive changes in response. The big one is that to make this all work and prevent delays in the future we need to be managing the flow of materials and projects in and out of our queue as an in house process rather than putting everything production and distribution related in the hands of a single external contract company.
Another thing that we’ve learned is consumer expectations have changed, especially dipping our toes outside the modular world. When we first started selling modules in 2011, the industry was a fraction the size it is now. It was a natural offshoot of Synth DIY traditions. Waiting 6-12 weeks or longer for an order to be built and shipped was a natural expectation when dealing with a manufacturer directly – it was more like commissioning a specialty instrument than a retail purchase where you expect next day shipping. We need to adapt around our current customer base’s expectations and find ways to do that.
Full house in the LZX basement today, very proud of everyone who’s been helping us get caught up, they are a bunch of badasses.
Any updates on Switched On’s preorders?
Switched On’s units were shipped.
How about the Perfect Circuit orders?
Perfect Circuit’s order has not yet been shipped.