Risk + solutions
As my Kickstarter backers know, I always start my updates with risks + solutions. Since 26 November 2014, when the amazing Kickstarter crowd funded the revolutionary RiutBag project, May seemed like a long way away. Well, dear backers + new RiutBag customers, it's fast approaching and I'm on track to dispatch 18-21 May. The RiutBag should arrive with everyone within May. This is great news at this early stage in the RiutBag's existence!
I don't want to get ahead of myself, however. There's still a long way to go to get a RiutBag on each of your backs. The RiutBags are being completed now, then there's quality check, external inspection and sea freight in a 20 foot container for 30 days. Arriving in Felixstowe in England, the RiutBags will stay in their container, head up to Lincoln where they are unpacked, packaged for posting, labelled and sent to you. Each of these stages brings with it risk of problems, potential delays at customs, in ports and that's not allowing for "events out of our control" as the lawyers refer to it.
Here are the risks as they currently stand:
Chest strap improvement I want to share with you that whilst your May RiutBags are on track, I am not 100% on track for the April Kickstarter backers. Their RiutBags will be returning in the same container as yours due to a manufacturing improvement I have made for all remaining RiutBags.
I mentioned in February's update from the factory in China that I'd discovered a problem with the chest strap material. Rather than save this for a future update, I have decided to fix this on the remaining Kickstarter RiutBags. All final 2000 straps (two per RiutBag) are being undone, replaced with a stronger material and remade. This is the reason that the April RiutBags are not yet complete and will return with yours. However, when all your RiutBags arrive, they will already be improved.
So why is this a risk? At each stage - quality check, inspection, sea freight, packaging and posting - there are more RiutBags to handle. All handling takes twice as long, so I will update you as we move from stage to stage to let you know what impact moving 1000 RiutBags, rather than 500, is having.
Apple shipping In my last update, I shared with you that Apple's new watch is shipping in April. During the weeks that Apple is shipping, the chance of problems arising increases because Apple is a major shipping client and what Apple says goes.
Here are the risks: if we are shipping from the same port the available space for shipping reduces significantly. At such a time, shipping costs go up - that's something I simply have to accept - but the risk associated with shipping problems, loss and error goes up too. I cannot yet predict what problems may arise. However, I have to make sure I don't rush shipping from China only to discover that the RiutBags have been left to one side because they got caught up in a whirl wind of watches.
I want all the RiutBags to arrive in the UK safe and sound. I don't want to increase risk to your shipment by sending it with other companies' freight or in a few smaller shipments. For that reason, I am sending all RiutBags in one go via 20 foot container to England where the container will be sealed at the factory and not opened again until it arrives at its destination in Lincoln, UK. This is a more expensive option but helps to reduce risk.
Customs If the RiutBags are chosen for in depth inspection, or are held with a shipment which is, delivery may be delayed by a week or more. If this happens I will be in touch with affected backers. For some backers, this may push their personal delivery into the next month. I am working closely with my freight company, HMRC (the UK tax people) and the factory to ensure all paper work is in place for a smooth run through customs.
Lost post It remains an nerving fact, though an understandable one given the volume of post flying around the world, that 1.02% of packages are statistically likely to go missing. I can promise you, I don’t want you to hunt for your RiutBag. However, if there is a real problem with delivery, please accept my apologies, let’s talk and I’ll ensure you receive your RiutBag.
The journey ahead This week and next your RiutBags are being finished, checked, inspected and then the start a fascinating journey: by sea, in their very own 20 foot container, for 30 days from Xiamen in China to Felixstowe in England.
I did ask whether I could travel with the RiutBags but the factory and freight company have advised me not to join the RiutBags on their journey :C I'd love to see how it all works! Instead, here are my impressions from sitting at the Bund in Shanghai, watching the amazing sea freight transport go past.
That's it for the risks. I will inform you if any of these risks on my radar, or totally unexpected problems arise in future updates. But, dear backers and future RiutBag users, your RiutBags are in sight!
Gadget Show + awards + more!
As we near completion of the RiutBags, the RiutBag story moves from the factory + this Kickstarter project and comes to life in reality. The last month has seen Riut, the design philosophy Revolution in user thinking and the RiutBag receive unexpected recognition and reach. All of the RiutBag's successes now and in the future are owed to its first ever backers. That's you. So please celebrate with me as I take you through the cool stuff that's been going on!
Golden A'Design Award When your RiutBag arrives it will be an award winning one! RiutBag has been awarded the A’ Design Award in Fashion and Travel Accessories Design Category by the grand jury panel of the A’ Design Award & Competition which consists of internationally influential press members, established designers, leading academics and prominent entrepreneurs. Brill! Here’s what they told me: “We believe that your intelligent and diligent contribution to design through creation of this superior product makes the world a better place.”
That’s what I hoped! Whilst the judges might think so, it really comes down to what the RiutBag users think. Again, I’m glad the Kickstarter backers helped the RiutBag to get to a point where it can reach even more people.
Gadget Show, British Inventors' Project 2015 RiutBag has been nominated for the British Inventors’ Project 2015 at the Gadget Show live! It’s one of 20 nominated inventions which will be exhibited at the Gadget Show live 7th – 12th April, at the NEC in Birmingham. If you're going, come over to stand BIP17 where you'll find me and a RiutBag! I'll be talking about my startup journey which I couldn't have done without your support on stage every day too. So do come and listen!
The winner is announced on 7th April 2015. An artificial pancreas won last year, so the RiutBag has some pretty serious competition… At least, if a pancreas can be a “gadget”, I have less trouble thinking a RiutBag is one :)
That’s the nomination. Wish the RiutBag luck! For me, it’s just a great opportunity to show loads of people who are interested in new designs that the RiutBag exists.
Thanks for getting the RiutBag, and me, this far Kickstarter backers + new users! I’ll let you know how it goes, send you updates from the Gadget Show LIVE and maybe see you in Birmingham if you’re going!
DEVELOP3D live Last Thursday, I walked into a world of 3D printers, computer aided design + computer aided machine designers, the tech people behind it and people from all over the world at companies which do everything behind 3D modelling and CGI. The show is free and is called DEVELOP3D live. You should go next year if you can! I was there to talk to some of the most experienced designers on the planet about.. design. (Yes, my heart was thumping when I went up on stage.)
I told them that by revolving all your thinking - not just some - around the user, that you might just end up producing radically different products and services. In my case, when I really thought about the challenges of the travelling and commuting rucksack user, I actually concluded that the RiutBag should be exactly the opposite way round to all other rucksacks. And, I'm not from a multinational luggage corporation with multimillion research and development capabilities. The only thing that qualified me to come up with this idea is that I am a rucksack user with no design or technical background.
I want to tell everyone, that you can do it too. If you have a complaint, that means you've found something that needs fixing. Since you've experienced that thing in context, you understand the reality of the problem better than most companies professionally trying to think about it. If you, the user of a product or service, have an idea to improve something, you can do it. We can all do it.
Here's what they thought and here's my blog response to the question I was asked more than any other: "But what software did you use to model the RiutBag?"
That's my message. Once your RiutBag is on your back, it'll be a daily reminder that we can have ideas, we can take them to the crowd and we can make them happen. Even if, like me, you appear to be an unlikely person to do it :)
Throughout the Kickstarter campaign you've been looking at photos of the prototype. I had the first one made in the Kickstarter run photographed. So here's a better idea of what to expect in the post in May.