Hey everyone. Here is an update on production in the second half of November. You can read the previous update here: https://sienci.com/2021/10/29/november-2021-production-update/
If you’re waiting on a machine to ship, you can find the list by order here: https://forum.sienci.com/t/list-of-shipped-machines-f-w-2021/4133
These past couple of weeks has been a bit stressful, as we continue to deal with delays in supply chain. I’m happy to announce that the new control boards that we’d been waiting on in the last update have finally arrived and we have started shipping machines again. We expect to get through the backlog over the next couple of weeks.
We also now have touch plates back in stock as well.
The end of Batch 5 is coming
We are quickly reaching the end of Batch 5, and expect to be out of stock on Batch 5 machines in around 3 to 4 weeks. Customers should expect lead times for machines to get much longer as we work on parts for Batch 6 to finish.
If you aren’t familiar, we build machines in batches. In this case, Batch 5 is 1000 machines.
In the meantime, there are a few things we can continue to do, such as extending Batch 5 by balancing the inventory and using all of the leftover parts and hardware to keep making kits beyond 1000 machines. This could also mean pulling inventory coming in for Batch 6 to use for Batch 5, as we wait for all of the Batch 6 parts to arrive.
Once we get closer to the end of Batch 5, customers should expect lead times to go up, possibly to 4-6 weeks.
Current supply chain and production issues
One of the major hurdles we’re currently dealing with is the long lead times with aluminum extrusions. With our current manufacturer, we’ve jumped from a 2 week lead time to 13 week lead time between September and November, meaning that our order for rails placed this month is expected to complete sometime between January and February. I’ve “rush ordered” these parts so that we try to have them in stock by the start of January, but this all comes down to scheduling at the press. I’ve also reached out to other presses in the area, but most have even longer lead times.
To account for the unstable lead times, we’ve been working on installing our own cutting and tapping set up to cut and tap our own rails. This should allow us to have more control over the lead times, as we don’t have to worry about the extra machining time that the manufacturers need to have added on top of the total production time.
In other news, we are likely going to see gaps in shipping based on shipping delays. For example, although we have allocated the v-wheels for the machines in Batch 5 for pending orders, the batch that we are waiting for to be able to complete the batch have been delayed in transit for about 2 weeks. Although I expect to see the wheels before we finish shipping the pending orders, any additional delays may cause a gap in shipping again as well for new customers.
Lastly, lead times for cardboard packaging have gone from a few weeks to around 10 weeks now, which means that we’ve started working early on manufacturing the packaging for Batch 6 machines.
All in all, although we are doing our best to keep production going, customers should expect longer lead times on LongMills.