Since the CIA has just released the "Family Jewels", describing how they spied on Americans and tried to assassinate various heads of state, I thought I would release some data on getting bike parts manufactured. Many people e-mail to ask how various projects are coming so I thought we needed to explain the delays. Now I'm still new at this, so I probably don't know all the secret shortcuts, but here is our basic operational plan.
Let's take the VO water bottle cage as an example. First we look at dozens of historical drawings to get ideas. Next I make sketches of the cage and send them off to my Taiwan agent by e-mail, not secret courier. At this point a few weeks have elapsed and he has given the drawings to a real draftsman and stopped giggling at my sketches, (Tom, have you stopped laughing?). The plans are drawn in Solid-Works, sent back and forth a few times as various versions are considered and several small changes are made. Now finished, translated, and double checked, they are sent off to five factories that make cages. Most have no interest in doing a small run of high-end cages for an unknown company, but one likes the idea. The problem is that they can't find exactly the right stainless steel rod to meet our specs. We broaden our specs as a few more weeks slip away.
So here we are, in a few more weeks we'll receive samples. Then we will pay for tooling cost. The tooling will be made and then the cage. Now months, not weeks, have slipped away as we wait for our turn in the production schedule. Eventually the first run will be completed and packed. Then we will wait for a freighter, not Air America, to bring then to the US and a truck to haul them to Annapolis. Eventually they will be for sale, but it won't be soon.
27 June, 2007
Posted by Velo Orange at 8:07:00 PM