Hi there, and welcome to our monthly status update! Let’s get right to it!
Since our most recent monthly update, we have shipped mini batch 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, and 55. As stated in our previous update, we had already shipped every Crowd Supply non-module pre-order, so all of the above orders were made in our own webshop which is a huge step forward.
We knew that transitioning from Crowd Supply orders to UHK webshop orders wouldn’t be easy, and in reality, it’s been way harder than anticipated. Compared to the fulfillment of Crowd Supply orders, the big change is that we don’t just ship to the EU anymore (we used to ship to non-EU countries via Crowd Supply), but worldwide ourselves, and we have to generate invoices upon shipping.
We learned a lot. For example, we learned that DHL, UPS, and FedEx are unwilling to ship to Russian individuals, but fortunately EMS is willing to take the job. We learned that the City field is not mandatory for Singapore which makes the DHL API unhappy. We learned that ZIP codes are not mandatory in Vietnam which made our invoicing system not create invoices. We learned that we have to validate order data upon checkout to avoid contacting some customers when trying to create waybills.
The above is a short glimpse of the issues we’ve been encountering. I’ve been tweaking our fulfillment system since our previous update, even during holidays, and András has been taking more than his fair share of these issues. We have now dealt with enough international packages that I can finally see the matrix, and I know what needs to be done to streamline our international fulfillment operation. When done properly, and it will be done properly, it’ll end up being a highly streamlined, and low overhead operation, but until that point, it kind of feels like we’re walking in mud.
TL;DR: If you order now, your UHK order is expected to be delivered by the end of February (barring modules, of course).
Right now, we’re held back by a temporary shortage of various components, including product boxes and plastic cases. We could foresee this shortage, and did our best to mitigate it, but companies were closed during holidays which slowed our progress.
If everything goes according our plans, this shortage will be resolved in two weeks, at which point production will get back to normal. We’re doing our best to deliver every one of your orders as soon as possible.
We’ve had a get-together with our injection molding supplier and his mold designer specialist to finalize the mechanical design of the modules and optimize them for mass production.
Each module has its own set of challenges. Some are complicated from an electronics standpoint, others from a mechanical standpoint, and there’s also a significant difference in the firmware complexity of the individual modules.
We agreed that we will start with the key cluster module. The main reason is that its shape completely differs from every other module, so no parts of its mold can be reused for other modules. It’s also the most complicated module mechanically.
We had a fruitful discussion, and now we have a much better idea how to optimize the design of the key cluster module for mass production. The most challenging aspect of the key cluster module is its tiny trackball, and the compact design of the module in general, but all in all, it’s doable.
Please note that the aforementioned mud regarding international fulfillment is clearly not helping us accomplish heavy R&D on the modules, so right now we’re primarily focused on streamlining our fulfillment operation and transitioning to on-demand manufacturing. Once that’s done, the modules will get our full attention.
We’ll exhibit at DeveloperWeek in the Bay Area on February 21-22, and you’re welcome to visit us! We happen to have 3 x EXPO PLUS passes ($795 value each) and 25 OPEN passes ($295 value each) to give away. Speakers at the DevWeek include:
And many more… Check out the full schedule!
If you’re into keyboards, the name of Xah Lee probably sounds familiar. He’s a hardcore keyboard geek who’s seen it all, and he recently reviewed the UHK.
According to his verdict:
The UHK was also reviewed by Frank Müller of Euronics. According to the article, Frank has a high opinion about the UHK, especially its configurability.
We’ll be keeping you updated on all things UHK, and we’re looking forward to talking to you on 2019-02-14.