In the time since our last update, we’ve continued to make steady progress and conclude our QC checks on the individual components from our molds. However there is a very slight delay of three weeks as we’ve had to postpone our flight to the factory. This is due to the Shenzhen lockdown that happened earlier this month, and while technically lifted, continues to impact logistics of a few of our final components coming out of that region.
Let’s take a closer look at that:
Shenzhen Lockdown Causes Slight, Three Week Delay
While the assembly and manufacturing of many of our components is being done in Mexico, some components do need to be sourced from other places around the globe. The increasingly globalized supply chain for modern manufacturing is due to a number of factors, and any sufficiently advanced product will require components to be sourced from a variety of regions. The iPhone, for example, features component suppliers and manufacturing that’s spread across 43 different countries and 6 continents!
In some instances components can only be sourced from a particular region. This may be because the tooling for creating said components is so complex and expensive that only one or a handful of factories are set up to produce it. It could also be a climate based limitation or a limitation of the ability to transport the raw materials needed to produce the end component.
Other instances are merely a cost savings measure due to labor or transportation costs being too high to make sourcing components from a particular region a wise business choice.
In our case, the power supply used for the Instafloss is produced in Shenzhen and in all of our testing (58 different power supplies were considered before we selected this unit), the only power supply we were able to identify which met our strict requirements was produced there, and nowhere else.
These power supplies, like some of the other components within the Instafloss, feature manufacturer warranties that begin when the parts have shipped. So we purchased the power supplies, with the agreement that they would be shipped when needed for manufacturing. This is an example of another trend in modern manufacturing known as Just in Time inventory or JIT. You can learn more about it here.
Shenzhen locked down for COVID just before our parts were supposed to be shipping out. Luckily, the lock down is already being eased with 50% capacity being allowed in workplaces now. However, there is now a small backlog at freight forwarders and shipping industry within Shenzhen as they struggle to catch up with the backlog that the week long closure caused while still operating at 50%.
In talks with our Shenzhen based supplier, we estimate that our parts should be able to be in Mexico in 2 weeks from now. As a result, we’ve changed our plans to fly out for assembly QC in 3 weeks, giving the parts an additional week just in case there is some delay in shipping.