I’m back with your new month check-in for May. Let’s see how things are going.
Order Finalization & Payment Process
- The finalization process has not rolled out yet, though it’s very close. What’s left to be done? Well, let’s talk specifics:
- We’re finalizing some items in our inventory and production software. This is necessary to ensure that the items you order on the website are correctly tracked and slotted for production and shipment in our other systems.
- We have some configurator tweaks being worked on and wrapped up. These are minor adjustments, but since we did work with an outside firm on this, they need to be carefully planned and communicated.
- We’ll need to credit user accounts with your deposit credit. This crucial step allows you to checkout and apply your pre-paid deposit credit. This step will only need to be done just prior to the rollout itself, and is largely an established process, but we do need to agree on a few points and set up a few “flags” to sort your order correctly.
- The shipping cost matrix needs to be fully fleshed out and uploaded to the website. We have some shipping figures and estimates, but we need to figure out how to map and apply those to your actual orders. We are leaning towards a “flat rate” system, which would seem to work well based on the numbers we’ve got so far. This would likely land at $400 for Standard orders, $600 for XL orders – but this is not set in stone yet. If we find the flat rate approach won’t work after all, it would involve some more intensive quoting and research.
- All of the above are actively being worked on now, and none are estimated to be serious issues. The shipping numbers are perhaps the stickiest, since they rely on outside verification, but if we find our current estimates are solid enough to go on, and we go with the flat rate approach, we’ll be able to move quickly.
- We expect to be able to deal with all of the above (with the possible, noted exception of shipping) in the coming week.
Project Progress & Development
- The finger-jointer is powered, and operational! I’ve got a bit of video footage from when it was being tested. I’ve included it in the main video, but I’ll add it separately below.
- The Mount-Mount and Mount Extension Plate will not be available at launch, due to the discovery of some engineering problems. The bottom line is we aren’t happy with these in their current state, and we want to make sure the products are right before we take orders for these components. We’ll be working on these issues, and will add them to the website later on. We’re also going to work out a system to allow those of you that already have your desks to get priority shipping on these items, once they’re ready. I apologize for any disappointment at this news.
- The custom frame vendor has been in touch with our lead designer Jason MacDonald as recently as today to work out the details on our design. The steps that we’re tackling to get final frames in are as follows:
- Determine the final mounting points & any potential interference (the existing desktops were, of course, built on the prototype frame. The new frame could present points of interference with cubbies or cable management, so we have to circumvent those.
- Once this is complete, we’ll order initial samples to test. Due to the manufacturer being located within the United States, this shouldn’t take too long, which was a factor in our choice.
- With the samples in hand, we can finalize our engineering and approve the frame design for production.
- Once that’s complete, we’ll be ready to place our initial order.
- Modular Desk Rail Accessories are all in production right now, and things are going well. By the time we’re shipping desk orders, we’ll “production tested” methods in place. Oftentimes, even with the best planning, issues crop up during full-scale production, but these will have been resolved by the time we begin to ship Modular Desk orders, so we fully expect smooth sailing for you all on these items.
- Last time, we discussed the Pre-Production Alpha products. Jason is working on getting these entirely built out and sorted through on the CAD side. This will drive our production, and it’s crucial that it be done correctly; with a modular product line, everything needs to assemble easily and work together. Now that we’re making finger-jointed boards at scale, we can start making panels and producing prototypes with the “real” material – the exact same pieces we’ll use for full production. We expect to be putting together Alpha prototypes next week.
- Alpha production will follow the sequence of Cubbies, Desktops and then Cable Management; this is due to the dependencies of each item (for example, the cable management placement can’t be determined without knowing how and where the cubbies will be).
- Once everything is fully settled, we’ll be able to make the assembly instructions. This will likely start with a video, and then evolve to an illustrated, concise and clear booklet detailing the assembly of all components, including the order in which they should be assembled and attached. The print materials may not be available for the earliest orders, given the time it will take to put together and get printed; at a minimum, there will be detailed assembly videos, with QR codes provided to link to them.
- Finally, given all of the above, it’s hard to nail down the fulfillment timing completely, but Jason estimated 6-8 weeks before some orders are produced. This puts us more towards early June than late May, unfortunately.
Finger-Jointer Testing Video
The Modular Desk: Timeline Update
Note that this is a “zoomed out” overview, meant to give a broad impression, rather than a super granular take. The nature of reality with complex projects is that the more granular a timeline is, the less likely it is to remain accurate.
- Early May: Orders begin finalizing. Production on all products begins, based on earliest orders and estimates.
- May: Production continues based on concrete order data.
- Early June: Frames arrive, fulfillment begins: the first desks are planned to ship in late May, early June.
Coming Soon: Finalization & Production
Thank you for your patience as we move ever-closer to production and fulfillment. To this point, most of the work has been intangible; software, engineering, planning. We’re moving into the physical phase or testing and production, and that means more interesting content is soon to come.
I look forward to sharing that with you very soon. I’ll check back in on the 15th with the latest news. Thank you again for your support of this project; we’re excited to be producing the Modular Desk for you all, and can’t wait to get them on their way to you.
~ Ed Maranville, Customer Experience at Wyrmwood