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The March Production Update

Here goes. 20 hours after I left my home, I arrived at ‘Humen town’ in the city of ‘Dongguan’. The population of Dongguan, while small for China, is bigger than the state of Israel. Setting my expectations accordingly high, I wanted to get back with 100 samples from the new batch and approve the manufacturing, finish Tempdrop’s packaging, source armband materials and add a second color as well. All in 5 days.I was picked up by a lovely local couple named Yuan and Michelle, who work at the office of our partnered manufacturer in China, and live next door, and I mean that literally. Only in China!

I ended up relying on Yuan and Michelle for everything! It was my first business trip to China, and it brings out your most basic, modern-day survival skills: ‘The Great Firewall’ of China blocks all of Google’s services: email, maps, search. I was helpless but, thankfully, Yuan had arranged everything, from Didi drivers (it’s the Chinese Uber) to meetings with packaging manufacturers to taking pictures and being great company, all while translating everything!

Monday morning we went to the plastics factory to find out that they had only started making all the requested changes a day before and that the test batch would only be ready that evening. At 23:40 I received pictures from the manufacturer suggesting that there would be some problems. I visited the factory 5 times during my stay, on 2 occasions only leaving after 22:00. The end result was that the plastics didn’t meet my expectations and I felt like I wouldn’t be able to send any of the 100 samples I got.

The warm welcome (at the factory)
And stressed outcome

When I returned to Israel, I met with our mechanical engineer Ori, and our plastics expert Zachi, who were much more optimistic than me (which is rare), telling me that “going from T0 to T-Final is a process, and so far the manufacturer is doing OK.”

By now, we've already sent our corrections to the manufacturer in the hopes that they will be able to fix and inject the next test batch ASAP. Next week we’re planning to use those 100 samples to set up the assembly line and make sure all the stations, tools and QC points are in good order. One of the company’s team members is already traveling to China and plans to meet the plastics manufacturer to oversee the test - hopefully, he will bring back newly approved samples - and not just T-1s! - for final approval.

The packaging however was a totally different experience. On Tuesday, Yuan had arranged a meeting with the packaging factory. I was brought into a room packed with dozens of demo samples, exactly what one would expect from a packaging factory in China. A short hour later, we were on our way back to town, and I got this in the office two days later:  

It looks and feels great and, since I arrived in Israel, I’ve already hired a designer who is working on the branding. This is also something I hope to see and approve in two weeks when my colleague gets back from China.

So, of course, it’s taking longer than I expected. I originally thought back in December that the production would be a breeze, just like I thought in 2015 that the financing it would take to produce Tempdrop would fall in my lap. Of course, reality can be challenging and all of this is par for the course. But, more than anything, I’m ecstatic that things are moving forward and that every single day I see progress - even if one day is one step back, the next day is two steps forward. Thank you for sticking around and watch out for my next update.

In the meantime, here’s a few more videos & photos to enjoy:

Wristband options

Buttons (searching for armband hook supplier)
And the loot.

I'm doing my best to keep up with the updates, thanks for believing in us.