We are extremely sorry for the delays with Kickstarter campaign. Please accept our sincere apologies for being overly optimistic and providing only sporadic official communications.
Through January 5th, 2019 we have produced a total of 4,650 headsets and shipped 2,027 units to our valuable backers. The first thing most will notice is the large difference between the number of headsets produced and the number shipped.
We feel it necessary to provide backers with much more details on some of the challenges we have faced in completing the development process and quickly delivering your headsets to you. What follows is a detailed list:
1. Quality Assurance (QA) testing and insufficient manpower for the additional checks.
Due to reports from backers who have reported quality issues our response was to raise the standard of quality via more advanced and thorough testing procedures. We know that our backers and customers have high expectations for quality products so we instituted a series of new systems to both insure the best quality but also for QA reports to properly flow to the production and assembly teams for adjustments to reduce the incidence of any issues that are discovered. This resulted in additional time required to process devices before they are released.
Therefore, specifically our response to this was to add additional steps into the QA process and as a result this required additional manpower. To ensure an ideal quality, every product now must pass stringent additional QA testing which includes lengthy sanity testing. The team could initially test up to 40 units per day but this process required time to become efficient and we continually trained more personnel for this process. We then began a process of hiring additional experienced QA personnel. Once hired we train them for two (2) weeks before adding them officially to the team.
2. Package issues and logistic limitations
We have two vendors who supply the packaging materials for our head mounted displays. One of the vendors supplied boxes with quality issues that prevented their use. These boxes were returned for replacement and it required time to remanufacture the packaging. Another concern was that better packaging would reduce the stress on the HMD during overseas transport as we have evidence this contributed to some of the quality issues upon delivery. In addition, to increase logistic efficiency, we agreed with our logistic supplier that we would not ship every day but instead once every two working days. This also has delayed the delivery.
3. The difficulties of manufacturing a hardware product for a Kickstarter campaign
We find that there is a big difference between a Kickstarter campaign as Pimax 8K and a commercial project like the Pimax 4K. For the 4K deliveries we started selling products when we had already thousands of units produced in the warehouse, whereas for 8K, we started crowd funding first when there was only a prototype product. We have overcome considerable challenges in the process of R&D which include upgrading the tracking to the newer Lighthouse 2.0 standard which required far more time than we originally expected.
We know backers are eagerly anticipating receiving their pledges so we have chosen to deliver as early as possible despite the fact we were still at the production ramp-up stage. The ramp-up stage has a much higher degree of uncertainty than longer running production lines.
4. Inadequate customer service and slow response times
The amount of manpower required for customer service for a new product line is difficult to predict. Because the software and firmware of the 8K and 5K+ headsets are a very active ongoing development process providing full support resources has not been synced up between support staff and our development team.
We KNOW that the best way to say sorry is not just words, but ACTIONS.
Therefore, here are our key next steps:
1. Shipping Transparency:
To increase clarity on shipments and deliveries, within this week we will release a spreadsheet with all our backers’ specific delivery information and updated on a daily basis.
2. Continue to quickly increase QA Manpower.
We will optimize the planning of manpower capacity and speed up the hiring of testing engineers, while we are enhancing the training and efficiency of these personnel for a more rapid testing. Our new QA target will be to fully test 280 headsets per day.
3. Expansion of the support team and elimination of vague responses.
We already have a dedicated group of customer service personnel and we will keep expanding the team by hiring more dedicated service professionals. We certainly need to improve our communication methodology and provide clear and concise answers to our backers when dealing with enquiries rather than vague responses like ‘shipping soon’.
4．Additional Resources to reduce BACKLOG.
We know the backlog is clearly causing consternation. We plan to put more resources in production and the reduction of backlog and we will accelerate updates on the status with the community.
Our goal is to push the limits of VR and while we continue to be extremely enthusiastic in this endeavor, we freely admit that as a start-up growing quickly, we have not done well in respect to the aspects mentioned above.
Over the last month we have increased production capacity to the point where we expect to complete all Kickstarter production approximately mid January and because shipping capacity has also increased with an average of 100 units per day we expect all devices to ship by the end of this month.
We are grateful that the community is continuing to support us. Whether the feedback is positive or negative we treasure them with sincerity because only with these true words we are encouraged to do better and create the experience backers expect and deserve.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
The Pimax Team
January 5th, 2019
【Note】Since the backers replied on their survey status, we will do re-check the survey database and update the spreadsheet. Thanks for your patient.