Originally Posted by John_E_Janowitz
One of the reasons I agreed to do the group buy is really that it allows me to get things in a better position to be deliverable in the future as well. The larger quantity of DIY orders coming in at once allows me the opportunity to get Tom coming to work here. This is something we've been planning for over a year but the timing just hasn't been right. With a large amount of orders coming at one time and money to be collected, it really gives me a boost to get him started.
Secondly, the current process for making TD woofers starts with ordering steel from the US. While this has allowed me to get drivers out, it is not efficient. A piece of 6" diameter round bar stock and a piece of 2" diameter round bar stock are combined to make each T-yoke. There is nearly an hour of manual machining time to turn these 2 pieces into a completed T-yoke with copper added. The top plates are made from a piece of 6" bar stock as well. There is at least a half hour of machining into each top plate as well. When I have 100 T-yokes and 100 top plates to make, that accounts for almost a month of full time machining if I'm doing nothing else. With the rest of the daily work load factored in, that can easily stretch to two months. To give you an idea of the amount of work done, imagine drilling a hole through 8feet of solid steel with a 1/2" bit, then a 1" bit, and then a 1-3/4" bit. That is just the first step in the process. The longest lead times end up happening when someone orders just as I run out of T-yokes and all the machining is ahead of me.
The same T-yoke can be forged as one piece and rough machined in China for less cost than the raw steel plate in the US. The quality of the steel is as good or better than the US steel. The main benefit though is in the time savings. All that is required is the final tolerance work on the critical dimensions and the application of the copper. This takes around 5 minutes per T-yoke. It takes about 2 minutes per top plate to bore the ID to correct tolerances. The time is cut to 7minutes per woofer instead of 90 minutes. This is around 12 hours of machining time vs 150 hours to do parts for 100 woofers.
The group buy allows me to get the steel in from China so it can be quickly machined for the orders from the group buy. At the same time it allows me to order extra steel so I can keep parts in stock in the future. Not only should I be able to deliver the group buy woofers quickly, but this should allow me to keep things deliverable in the future as well.
There won't be too much extra work with multiple payments and international shipping. I would guess that at least 40% of all orders come from overseas right now. Currently one payment comes in for the drivers and a second payment comes in at the time of completion for the shipping cost. In this case the second payment would be the final 50% plus shipping cost, so it will still be the same amount of work. Paypal lets you easily duplicate an invoice so the second one can be issued with little work. I do have someone able to handle all that invoicing end to keep the work load off of myself also.
I understand that there's a lot of work involved in making these drivers, and you undoubtedly know more about your manufacturing process than I do. I just didn't want to see your company become crushed under a sudden influx of a massive order and have to shuffle the little "2 driver" guy off to the side. If you say that it's easier and faster to make hundreds than dozens, then that tells me you have confidence in your process.
Currently one payment comes in for the drivers and a second payment comes in at the time of completion for the shipping cost.
That didn't happen in my case, I was charged the entire amount plus shipping in one lump sum, but that's no big deal. Or let me rephrase that: I was charged for the drivers and "a" shipping cost, but as completion hasn't happened yet, I realize I may be charged for some additional shipping costs. Again, no big deal.
Here's hoping that this group buy helps you further streamline your operation and get ahead of the curve. Sounds like you have a superior product, loyal customers, and a hungry market, all the makings for a growing company.
All the best.