There’s no easy way to say this, but my Black Friday sale has so far been massively more successful than I anticipated. On Thanksgiving day, I did as much business as I usually do in an average month. Black Friday isn’t far behind that amount and it’s not even noon yet. I’m humbled.
Also creates a small problem. I’m running short on assembled product, and I’m running short on inventory. So I’m doing my best to keep up but it’s only going to last so long before I need to wait on parts shipments. I’ve already ordered a big heap of parts once reality started to hit. However that still means there will be some delays over the next couple weeks while I catch up.
Wow! I’m very happily surprised to say that, other than 1 assembled piece, my 2532/2732/2532 adapter bare boards have completely sold out! I won’t call them a huge seller, but still well in excess of expectations. And with 2532’s becoming harder to find I believe a 2nd run is in order.
This means I have a window of opportunity for a design tweak. So if there are changes you’d like to see, now is the time. Drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas.
Here’s the tweaks I’m already working into the revised design….
1. Moving the silkscreening a bit to make it, to make the pin numbers visible once assembled.
2. Having them scored or tab routed, so you don’t get the rough and un-even edges like the 1st run.
(Going to just have them done as 1-up. Since they have to be hand soldered, no sense in doing an array)
3. Adding one more jumper location, to make programming with the adapter easier.
(Cancelled this feature)
4. Nicer labels on the box for assembled units.
I will be keeping the machined pin SIL sockets on the topside for these, as some boards using 2532’s have very tight spacing, and going with a stamped socket would need to make the board slightly wider.
(Decided to make them a bit wider and keep with double wipe sockets)
MSRP will be going up a bit for assembled units when the time comes, from $10 to
$12 $15, and bare boards will likely go up a bit too but I don’t know what the pricing will be until I place the actual board order. I will be offering wholesale pricing as well on these for assembled units but not bare boards.
I’ve done a lot of thinking, and the decision I’ve made is to discontinue my repair service. It goes back to the core issue that if I’m not able to turn around repair jobs in a short enough time, I am doing a disservice to customers. Customers are too important to a business to create ill-will and a bad reputation. If I can’t make them happy to the standards of both them and myself, then I’m not holding up my end of the deal, and I don’t intentionally follow bad business practices. I’ll finish up work for customers that have already sent it to me, or have contacted me for specific repair jobs, but I won’t be accepting any more repair work after that point except for local customers. Once I get the backlog of existing repair work cleared out, I’ll then do an inventory of spare and repair parts, and likely clear some out via Pinside.
Then it’s time to buckle down and take care of building up inventory of completed products and get back into product development. It’s only 5 months until MGC again! I don’t want to get caught flat-footed without inventory again.
There are also other potential reasons I need to make this change, which may or may not ever come to fruition, but I need to be in the right position to take advantage of a potential opportunity if I decide to pursue it. Sorry, that’s all I can say, but I wanted to reassure you that my business is not going away any time soon.
This may get a bit long winded and winding, but it’s a concern I have lately.
I am SWAMPED in repair work right now. My turnaround is around two months, for all but the easiest repairs. If this was due to pure volume then it would be one thing, but I don’t really have THAT many board sets here for repair. I just don’t have the time to properly dedicate to repair work. It’s time consuming to do it right, and give full diagnosis of issues. My parts supply is pretty well stocked, and I rarely have a case of waiting for parts. Where the problem comes up is that I have a lot of time and space dedicated to assembling product, which can quickly fill up the bench completely. It doesn’t help that I’m still having some small issues with the soldering machine that keeps me from putting it into operation. This all is pushing me close to burnout.
Notice I said ‘close to burnout’, not that I’m burned out. I do need to keep myself on the ‘not burned out’ side of that equation.
Doesn’t help either that I was having constant issues with my rework soldering station, which really set me back a lot. That is now fixed finally after a near complete rebuild of the thing. It does have me thinking of upgrades… but that’s a question for next fiscal year. I need to prioritize funding and don’t have the $1,300 laying around for the system that I want.
Yet, and I’m sure I said this before, rework does have a good profit margin. Yes the labor time is high, but the materials cost is low, and my financial situation needs things like that. More than once I’ve had timely rework orders literally keep my business in operation. I wouldn’t be operating any longer if it wasn’t for my very patient, very wonderful, rework customers. I can’t say how thankful I am for you guys that trust me with your precious boards. It leaves me humbled. Times like this I feel unworthy and that I am not holding up my end of the bargain.
So this all puts me in a very big thinking mode that seems to come up every year or so. I want to keep doing repair work, but only if I can do it well enough to keep you, my customers, properly happy. If I’m not doing that, it makes me doubt if I should be doing repair work. Product growth is slow, but it is growing. I don’t know how much longer rework is going to be viable. I also need to have time for product development and testing.
Like I say every year, I have a lot of thinking to do.