After a couple of hiccups, I’m happy to say that I think we’ve gotten throttle production pretty well smoothed out. We still have a couple of rogue throttles in the wild, but starting in the next few days, we’ll actually be able to produce throttles for “stock”. It’s been a long, hard road. And, there are still a couple of tiny wrinkles that still need ironing out. But we really think the end results have been worth the struggle.
Some of the throttle issues caused us to have to back-burner the updates to our shipping situation, and that’s going to push the Canadian shipping option back until sometime in late October. I’m really sorry, guys! Hang in there. We’ll get it sorted in short order.
At the same time, we’re going to revamp our shipping options a bit. We’ve been using USPS Priority Flat Rate because it was easy to manage, and always gets us a tracking number. But, it’s not always the best option, as shipping certain items can be ridiculously expensive. We’ll be hoping to switch over to other USPS services soon.
We’re also looking at upgrading our packaging. To this point, you’ve been getting things packed in a box with whatever packing materials we have around the shop. One day, it’s air-pouches from B&H Photo or Adorama, the next it’s bubble wrap, and sometimes, it’s brown paper or foam peanuts. Over this past weekend, we found that it may be affordable to make tray inserts or blister packaging for use inside the boxes, which will securely hold throttles and other components and protect them during shipment. It’s going to be a while for us to research the equipment and processes, design the packaging, and get it into production, but we’re excited by the prospect of finally getting to a point where we’re doing this the “right way”.
The goal in all these “improvements” is to help us deliver a better product. We hope – and expect – that we will be able to do it without affecting pricing. With that said, some of parts used in the throttles come from China, and the prices on those items have already gone up due to the new tariffs on electronic products and components. We’re going to hold prices as long as we can, but do expect to see a price increase as we deplete our parts inventory – we’re already paying higher prices for parts, but unlike the corner gas station, we’ll try to not charge you for the higher priced parts until we start using them.
You’ll notice that in this post, there’s a shift from the usual “I” to “we”. So, who is this we of which I speak? Most of you already know that The On30 Guy™ has a close relationship with Kevin Hunter’s Berrett Hill and TouchToggles company, so Kevin’s part of the “we”. And we have been working closely together on the throttles. In order to help with production, we’ve also started using a couple of other folks to handle certain aspects of the assembly. One fellow has the task of making certain sub-assemblies, and starting in the next couple of weeks, another will be tasked with the actual assembly and testing of throttles. Yes, we’ll still be testing every throttle we make!
So that’s about all for now. I’ll be looking forward to seeing folks at shows over the next few months. As of now, I’m planning on being at The Great Scale Train Shows in October and February, the Midwest Narrow Gauge Show in March, both Mid-Hudson On30 meets, and, if I can get a conflict cleared, the Kimberton narrow gauge module meet in May. I do not yet know if I’ll be able to make it to Springfield in January.