Another Friday, another update!
Project status update
96% of the Pledge Manager surveys have been completed!
At the end of this month I will lock the Pledge Manager. After that point changes can only be made through contacting me at email@example.com
Before the fulfillment I will send everyone a quick check to let me know if your address information is still correct.
Ok, so this is a bit of a bummer...
As mentioned for the last few weeks I've been getting quotations from various suppliers to get these dice manufactured. Even though the prices were higher than half a year ago I made a top 3 and went down the list contacting them and getting the final details for the contract on paper.
Here's where it got I learned the true nature of the suppliers that I've been dealing with.
None of them share all their details: I wasn't allowed to know where their factory was located (red flag), I wasn't able to send a local auditor to their factory (red flag), and they weren't able to guarantee some or all of the quality requirements that I had requested (red flag).
With all these red flags and without fully trusting the supplier I cannot simply send the money over and hope for the best. If this were simply another simple d6 with a different color then I wouldn't see that much risk and just proceed, but I knew from the start that the dUltimate dice would be more difficult to manufacture and thus require a manufacturer that really understands what makes the product:
The large solid nature of the dUltimate design makes it more prone to voids during production - this needs to be controlled and avoided at all times;
The relatively small faces on the dUltimate require tolerances so much more tighter compared to cheaply produced dice that often have quite large tolerances;
The edges of the dUltimate need to be sharp and the faces need to be flat - due to the already roundish nature of the dUltimate this will result in better rolls, more fairness, and a more stable dice - all of this means that popular production techniques such as tumble polishing and barrel painting cannot be a part of the standard dice making process.
Getting good results requires at the very least mutual understanding of the product, it's requirements, and all the difficulties that come with it. It requires understanding the manufacturing process and the machinery used to achieve it. It requires mutual trust!
So, how do we deal with this? I get the help people that have experience with these products, experience with sourcing in China, and are able to work with me in a transparant way. People that know great suppliers in China and know exactly how to best communicate with them.
For this I have looked up various sourcing agents here in the Netherlands that specialize in sourcing, production, logistics, auditing, and more in China. Most of these sourcing agents have offices both here in the Netherlands and in China and are thus completely interwoven in the supply chain: in getting products, designed in the Netherlands, produced in China. I've screened several of these agents and will meet with them next week. After I know that one of them has a proven track record with similar products and fully understands the scope of the dUltimate dice project I will sign a contract with them and then let them take over the production process with their experience.
This new step will probably add some extra time onto the final planning. At this moment I cannot make a good estimation of how much, but I will be sure to discuss this with the sourcing agents. I hope you can all understand and accept that this is the direction that I have chosen. I simply want to deliver you all a high quality dice that looks and feels like the samples that I made (or better!) So far, a majority in comments has let me know that some extra time is not a problem as long as the final product is good, but I will off course do my utmost best to keep everything on a tight schedule.
Expectations for the next few weeks
I will interview various sourcing agents in the Netherlands. I have a few online meeting planned with these various agents. One on Saturday, two on Tuesday, and another one on Wednesday. After the interviews I will select one agent and start working with them.
Hall of Fame
At the end of this month (or if the Pledge Manager hits 100% before that moment) the Hall of Fame will be created and added to the dUltimate dice page.
Keep on rolling!