Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up
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Zojokkeli

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Never mind the mess, but now that I have a Schiit stack again, here’s a pic.

7A51F4DC-56AD-47AF-BD0E-9D8888CC22EF.jpeg


We also had some snow finally, Elma is ecstatic.

1426789C-2CCD-4B58-8BCC-6168AA04A246.jpeg
 
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Zojokkeli

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What's your XLR headphone cable?
I only know it as the ”Audeze blue cable.” I think Audeze sold it as an upgrade cable for LCD-4 at some point, but it has been discontinued.
 
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prof.utonium

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Zojokkeli

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Yggdrasil is backordered until March 15. On the day that Mike makes a reappearance. Hmmmmm....perhaps Yggy 2 is being announced?
 
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2021, Chapter 1:
S.N.A.F.U.


So, as I write this, Lisa is in the other room, putting felt stickers on buttons. We just came home from Schiit, where she was tapping inserts into knobs. I was making Asgard 3s. Everyone was in, shipping or building.

This is on a Sunday.

This is also after a week of:
  • discovering yet another part is garbage, this time a ferrite bead that has worked fine up till now
  • finding out we can’t get boxes for the Freya-sized products in time, leading to an even deeper backorder
  • learning that a new “plan E” product was not as done as we thought, and needed additional firmware work
  • me continuing to do repairs, because our repair person is still out for an unknown disease (not COVID)
  • everyone helping to make products, because, even though we still have had no COVID cases spread within Schiit, we have had people have to isolate and/or quarantine because they were exposed, and we’re 20% down on staff at a completely and utterly insane time of year in terms of sales
  • I had to tell one of our guys, who was on the edge of a full-on panic attack, that in the words of one very wise man, “there are no emergencies in audio,” and, even if it meant we slipped deeper into backorder, it was totally fine to go home.
In other words, this is full-on, full-crazy, total-nuts, startup-style stuff again…10.5 years after we started.

Or, in other other words, this is the new normal, or S.N.A.F.U., if you happen to know some WW2 Marine jargon. Situation Normal, All ****ed Up.


What Do We Have To Deal With Today?

That’s what we’ve started asking ourselves as the craziness goes on. Every day brings dome new insanity—its almost comedic.

For example: as I revise this chapter, it’s Monday, not Sunday, and a new issue has reared its head: it seems like some of the new USB cables we purchased aren’t working with Macs. At first, I thought this was an error on our side—that we’d bought USB charging-only cables, rather than charging and data, but nope, this is a real thing, and we’ll have to get to the bottom of it.

So am I bitching?

No. This is what it is. This is just another thing.

Am I unhappy?

No. As I wrote in the last chapter, morale is still wayyy up, people are happy and excited. We’re just super-busy. It just seems almost every day brings some silliness that we have to deal with.

But, at least so far, we are dealing with it. Even if it means that I have to chip in. Even if it means Lisa has to help as well. Because that’s what you do.

Aside: let me provide a short answer to the “work on the business, not in the business,” management types on here, or the “4 minute workweek” style people. The short answer is, well, if you’re lucky enough to have (a) started a business, (b) applied these principles, and (c) had them be successful for you, then cool. Yep. You do you, I do me.
Aside to the aside: The longer answer is that this is what you do when you really truly deeply care about what you’ve created. You don’t pound the table and demand we hire a bunch of new people (because getting them up to speed doesn’t solve the short term problem). You don’t whip your current people so hard that they begin to hate their jobs, and then the company, and then you (everyone was in on a Sunday voluntarily, organically, because they wanted to help, not because of a mandate.) And you don’t whine and bitch that you might have to get your hands dirty, because sometimes that’s what it takes, and that’s fine, that’s part of the deal. But then again, that’s me. That’s how I do things. I think I completely understand why Elon was sleeping in his office at the Tesla factory during the Model 3 startup.
Aside to the aside to the aside: I think that many “on the business, not in the business” people, if they are actually employing those techniques and running a successful business, might learn a heck of a lot about how to make their business even better if they got off their lofty perch and spent some time in the trenches. I know I do.

And here’s the thing: this kind of craziness isn’t just happening to us. Have you guys tried to buy anything that isn’t the lowest-common-denominator, unknown-name, made-in-the-cheapest-possible-place, shoved-down-our-search-box-by-personality-free-multibillion-dollar companies? It’s the same everywhere. I’m in the process of setting up a couple of test rigs for Corpus, and literally every piece of good test equipment is either unavailable, long-lead, or twice the price. Lisa and I ordered a couple of pieces of furniture for the Corpus house, and were warned over and over that “it used to take a week, now it’s 8, or maybe 12.” Heck, even cars and trucks are pretty thin on the ground—not a lot of dealing going on.

Why all this uncertainty? Well, the popular excuse is COVID. As in, “COVID is happening, so our leadtimes are extended,” or “Due to the COVID restrictions, we can’t be as efficient in shipping your order anymore.” So this might just be an extended ramification of the global pandemic. Which is what it is. The main thing is that we are dealing with much more chaos now, which makes things even more, er, challenging.

So what are we going to do, as we face even more backorders? Well, we’re going to address it in typical Schiit fashion: we’re going to try to make things better than they’ve ever been.

Yes. I know. We’re crazy.


More Than Promises

It sounds nuts, but the reality is, we’ve already made some things better. Even with all the uncertainty, even with the daily challenges, let’s look at a few examples of what we’ve been able to do:
  • With Cameron and I collaborating on service, we’re actually running faster and more efficiently than before COVID, even though we both have other jobs. Cameron makes things and I design things—and together, we’re doing in-house and out-of-house fails and turning them far faster. This is making things better.
  • We’re working together with everyone as I’m more involved in service and production, and making process changes to improve products. This is making things better.
  • We’re bringing back additional production partners (back to Nevada, as well as setting up in Texas) to increase capacity. This will help make things better by cutting down on backorders. I hope.
  • The Corpus Christi expansion continues on-schedule, and, if we’re lucky, we will be making things there as early as the end of February. That will make everything better across the board, because we’ll have additional staff and a logical separation of product lines.
  • I’m still designing in the evenings and at home, and keeping those products moving forward. Keeping up with this—even in the face of all the craziness—is making things better.
“Well, all that kinda means beans to me, ‘cause I’ve been waiting about a trillion years for a backordered product,” someone says.

And yeah, I hear you.

All of this wonderful make-it-better-ness doesn’t mean Schiit to anyone sitting on a backorder list, waiting for product. Backorders have been a part of Schiit since inception, but they’ve been particularly painful this year. Especially Freya+. But seriously, we’ve done double runs of Freya+ and we’re still not getting ahead. And when we have chassis, we may not have boards, and when we have boards, transformer lead times have gone up, meaning we may not have transformers, and even if we have boards and transformers, we have repeatedly run two different tube manufacturers dry on new production tubes, and even if we have all of the above, right now, the custom-sized box we use to pack them in has now gone far, far out in lead-time, thanks to (apparently) Amazon buying every cardboard manufactory in the USA. You can’t make this Schiit up!

So here’s what we did: we’ve now assigned a new “backorder triage” person, Jen, to actively scan the older backorders, see what (if anything) we can ship, and communicate with people on the backorder lists if (when) the estimated shipping dates slip.

Yes. In the same way we cleaned up B-stock last year, we’re cleaning up backorders this year. Hopefully the additional capacity will mean less backorders, but you read about all the uncertainty above.

“And what about your distributors, will they ever get product?” someone else asks.

And yeah, I hear you on that.

Here’s what happened last year: a big surge in demand here meant we were running full-out through 2020 just trying to keep up with direct orders. When we tried to increase production, we started running into capacity problems at our suppliers, bizarre problems like Magni/Modi boxes becoming unavailable thru because lead times went from 4 days to 65 days, multiple parts that don’t act the same anymore, necessitating much deeper first article testing and new parts brought in to make the runs…so much insane stuff I’m not sure I can capture it all here.

But that’s an excuse. So here’s what we’re doing: Jen is also the distributor liason. She’ll be the point person for distributors, and she will be sending them monthly updates on what (if anything) we have for them. The first update goes out today. The news may not be good to start, but at least there will be communication.

And here’s the thing: when Corpus starts up, we have the potential to make things better very quickly. We’re space- and people-limited in California. We’re also complexity-challenged, with lots of different products to make, in very different ways (making a Ragnarok 2 is stunningly different from a Magni).

Moving the smaller products to Corpus means we can streamline a line just to run those, which are usually a person-and-a-cart affair, a single person craft build.

It also means we can streamline Valencia so that a single person doesn’t have to make Vidars, Aegirs, Ragnaroks, Bifrost 2s, or Urds—much more complex products that should be more of a team build to increase efficiency. Now, with the pallets of metal, wall-warts and boards for the smaller products out of the way, we can set up Valencia with effective teams. A couple of internal promotions also help make this a reality (our most insane organizer, the guy who make the Sol production line a shining example of organization and efficiency, is now in charge of all production there.)

Alex is moving to Corpus as of Thursday—that is, tomorrow. If our timeline holds, we should be making Magni and Modi there by late February. Maybe. We’ll see. There’s still lots to do.

Does this guarantee a future of rainbows, cotton candy, and halcyon days? Of course not.

But we hear you. We’re working to make things better. And I think we’ll get there.

Aside: and yeah, I know, short chapter, but I really need to get back to, er…real work!

Thanks for taking the ride with us!
 
Schiit Audio Stay updated on Schiit Audio at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.facebook.com/Schiit/ http://www.schiit.com/
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Les Strat

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Awesome! We are preparing for 2nd lockdown and really want to buy an Urd soon...probably not launched before the lockdown is over...gonna be fun to watch Mike anyways, really like his vocabulary!
We're now in our 3rd Lockdown here in UK @Derrick Swart!
I'm interested in buying both an 'Urd' and a 'Lokiest' for some further retail and audio therapy.:beyersmile:
It will be midnight here at 4pm PST, but I'll be there, with a bottle of Highland Park to watch Mike, the brilliant digital audio guru, who is always entertaining.
Welcome back Mike! :beerchug:
 
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Les Strat

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2021, Chapter 1:
S.N.A.F.U.


So, as I write this, Lisa is in the other room, putting felt stickers on buttons. We just came home from Schiit, where she was tapping inserts into knobs. I was making Asgard 3s. Everyone was in, shipping or building.

This is on a Sunday.

This is also after a week of:
  • discovering yet another part is garbage, this time a ferrite bead that has worked fine up till now
  • finding out we can’t get boxes for the Freya-sized products in time, leading to an even deeper backorder
  • learning that a new “plan E” product was not as done as we thought, and needed additional firmware work
  • me continuing to do repairs, because our repair person is still out for an unknown disease (not COVID)
  • everyone helping to make products, because, even though we still have had no COVID cases spread within Schiit, we have had people have to isolate and/or quarantine because they were exposed, and we’re 20% down on staff at a completely and utterly insane time of year in terms of sales
  • I had to tell one of our guys, who was on the edge of a full-on panic attack, that in the words of one very wise man, “there are no emergencies in audio,” and, even if it meant we slipped deeper into backorder, it was totally fine to go home.
In other words, this is full-on, full-crazy, total-nuts, startup-style stuff again…10.5 years after we started.

Or, in other other words, this is the new normal, or S.N.A.F.U., if you happen to know some WW2 Marine jargon. Situation Normal, All ****ed Up.


What Do We Have To Deal With Today?

That’s what we’ve started asking ourselves as the craziness goes on. Every day brings dome new insanity—its almost comedic.

For example: as I revise this chapter, it’s Monday, not Sunday, and a new issue has reared its head: it seems like some of the new USB cables we purchased aren’t working with Macs. At first, I thought this was an error on our side—that we’d bought USB charging-only cables, rather than charging and data, but nope, this is a real thing, and we’ll have to get to the bottom of it.

So am I bitching?

No. This is what it is. This is just another thing.

Am I unhappy?

No. As I wrote in the last chapter, morale is still wayyy up, people are happy and excited. We’re just super-busy. It just seems almost every day brings some silliness that we have to deal with.

But, at least so far, we are dealing with it. Even if it means that I have to chip in. Even if it means Lisa has to help as well. Because that’s what you do.

Aside: let me provide a short answer to the “work on the business, not in the business,” management types on here, or the “4 minute workweek” style people. The short answer is, well, if you’re lucky enough to have (a) started a business, (b) applied these principles, and (c) had them be successful for you, then cool. Yep. You do you, I do me.
Aside to the aside: The longer answer is that this is what you do when you really truly deeply care about what you’ve created. You don’t pound the table and demand we hire a bunch of new people (because getting them up to speed doesn’t solve the short term problem). You don’t whip your current people so hard that they begin to hate their jobs, and then the company, and then you (everyone was in on a Sunday voluntarily, organically, because they wanted to help, not because of a mandate.) And you don’t whine and bitch that you might have to get your hands dirty, because sometimes that’s what it takes, and that’s fine, that’s part of the deal. But then again, that’s me. That’s how I do things. I think I completely understand why Elon was sleeping in his office at the Tesla factory during the Model 3 startup.
Aside to the aside to the aside: I think that many “on the business, not in the business” people, if they are actually employing those techniques and running a successful business, might learn a heck of a lot about how to make their business even better if they got off their lofty perch and spent some time in the trenches. I know I do.

And here’s the thing: this kind of craziness isn’t just happening to us. Have you guys tried to buy anything that isn’t the lowest-common-denominator, unknown-name, made-in-the-cheapest-possible-place, shoved-down-our-search-box-by-personality-free-multibillion-dollar companies? It’s the same everywhere. I’m in the process of setting up a couple of test rigs for Corpus, and literally every piece of good test equipment is either unavailable, long-lead, or twice the price. Lisa and I ordered a couple of pieces of furniture for the Corpus house, and were warned over and over that “it used to take a week, now it’s 8, or maybe 12.” Heck, even cars and trucks are pretty thin on the ground—not a lot of dealing going on.

Why all this uncertainty? Well, the popular excuse is COVID. As in, “COVID is happening, so our leadtimes are extended,” or “Due to the COVID restrictions, we can’t be as efficient in shipping your order anymore.” So this might just be an extended ramification of the global pandemic. Which is what it is. The main thing is that we are dealing with much more chaos now, which makes things even more, er, challenging.

So what are we going to do, as we face even more backorders? Well, we’re going to address it in typical Schiit fashion: we’re going to try to make things better than they’ve ever been.

Yes. I know. We’re crazy.


More Than Promises

It sounds nuts, but the reality is, we’ve already made some things better. Even with all the uncertainty, even with the daily challenges, let’s look at a few examples of what we’ve been able to do:
  • With Cameron and I collaborating on service, we’re actually running faster and more efficiently than before COVID, even though we both have other jobs. Cameron makes things and I design things—and together, we’re doing in-house and out-of-house fails and turning them far faster. This is making things better.
  • We’re working together with everyone as I’m more involved in service and production, and making process changes to improve products. This is making things better.
  • We’re bringing back additional production partners (back to Nevada, as well as setting up in Texas) to increase capacity. This will help make things better by cutting down on backorders. I hope.
  • The Corpus Christi expansion continues on-schedule, and, if we’re lucky, we will be making things there as early as the end of February. That will make everything better across the board, because we’ll have additional staff and a logical separation of product lines.
  • I’m still designing in the evenings and at home, and keeping those products moving forward. Keeping up with this—even in the face of all the craziness—is making things better.
“Well, all that kinda means beans to me, ‘cause I’ve been waiting about a trillion years for a backordered product,” someone says.

And yeah, I hear you.

All of this wonderful make-it-better-ness doesn’t mean Schiit to anyone sitting on a backorder list, waiting for product. Backorders have been a part of Schiit since inception, but they’ve been particularly painful this year. Especially Freya+. But seriously, we’ve done double runs of Freya+ and we’re still not getting ahead. And when we have chassis, we may not have boards, and when we have boards, transformer lead times have gone up, meaning we may not have transformers, and even if we have boards and transformers, we have repeatedly run two different tube manufacturers dry on new production tubes, and even if we have all of the above, right now, the custom-sized box we use to pack them in has now gone far, far out in lead-time, thanks to (apparently) Amazon buying every cardboard manufactory in the USA. You can’t make this Schiit up!

So here’s what we did: we’ve now assigned a new “backorder triage” person, Jen, to actively scan the older backorders, see what (if anything) we can ship, and communicate with people on the backorder lists if (when) the estimated shipping dates slip.

Yes. In the same way we cleaned up B-stock last year, we’re cleaning up backorders this year. Hopefully the additional capacity will mean less backorders, but you read about all the uncertainty above.

“And what about your distributors, will they ever get product?” someone else asks.

And yeah, I hear you on that.

Here’s what happened last year: a big surge in demand here meant we were running full-out through 2020 just trying to keep up with direct orders. When we tried to increase production, we started running into capacity problems at our suppliers, bizarre problems like Magni/Modi boxes becoming unavailable thru because lead times went from 4 days to 65 days, multiple parts that don’t act the same anymore, necessitating much deeper first article testing and new parts brought in to make the runs…so much insane stuff I’m not sure I can capture it all here.

But that’s an excuse. So here’s what we’re doing: Jen is also the distributor liason. She’ll be the point person for distributors, and she will be sending them monthly updates on what (if anything) we have for them. The first update goes out today. The news may not be good to start, but at least there will be communication.

And here’s the thing: when Corpus starts up, we have the potential to make things better very quickly. We’re space- and people-limited in California. We’re also complexity-challenged, with lots of different products to make, in very different ways (making a Ragnarok 2 is stunningly different from a Magni).

Moving the smaller products to Corpus means we can streamline a line just to run those, which are usually a person-and-a-cart affair, a single person craft build.

It also means we can streamline Valencia so that a single person doesn’t have to make Vidars, Aegirs, Ragnaroks, Bifrost 2s, or Urds—much more complex products that should be more of a team build to increase efficiency. Now, with the pallets of metal, wall-warts and boards for the smaller products out of the way, we can set up Valencia with effective teams. A couple of internal promotions also help make this a reality (our most insane organizer, the guy who make the Sol production line a shining example of organization and efficiency, is now in charge of all production there.)

Alex is moving to Corpus as of Thursday—that is, tomorrow. If our timeline holds, we should be making Magni and Modi there by late February. Maybe. We’ll see. There’s still lots to do.

Does this guarantee a future of rainbows, cotton candy, and halcyon days? Of course not.

But we hear you. We’re working to make things better. And I think we’ll get there.

Aside: and yeah, I know, short chapter, but I really need to get back to, er…real work!

Thanks for taking the ride with us!
Thank you, Jason!
It's been a great ride :beyersmile:
 
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RCBinTN

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Alex is moving to Corpus as of Thursday—that is, tomorrow.
Wow, this comment made it "real" for me. Your right-hand man hitting the road for Texas.
 
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yonson

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2021, Chapter 1:
S.N.A.F.U.


So, as I write this, Lisa is in the other room, putting felt stickers on buttons. We just came home from Schiit, where she was tapping inserts into knobs. I was making Asgard 3s. Everyone was in, shipping or building.

This is on a Sunday.

This is also after a week of:
  • discovering yet another part is garbage, this time a ferrite bead that has worked fine up till now
  • finding out we can’t get boxes for the Freya-sized products in time, leading to an even deeper backorder
  • learning that a new “plan E” product was not as done as we thought, and needed additional firmware work
  • me continuing to do repairs, because our repair person is still out for an unknown disease (not COVID)
  • everyone helping to make products, because, even though we still have had no COVID cases spread within Schiit, we have had people have to isolate and/or quarantine because they were exposed, and we’re 20% down on staff at a completely and utterly insane time of year in terms of sales
  • I had to tell one of our guys, who was on the edge of a full-on panic attack, that in the words of one very wise man, “there are no emergencies in audio,” and, even if it meant we slipped deeper into backorder, it was totally fine to go home.
In other words, this is full-on, full-crazy, total-nuts, startup-style stuff again…10.5 years after we started.

Or, in other other words, this is the new normal, or S.N.A.F.U., if you happen to know some WW2 Marine jargon. Situation Normal, All ****ed Up.


What Do We Have To Deal With Today?

That’s what we’ve started asking ourselves as the craziness goes on. Every day brings dome new insanity—its almost comedic.

For example: as I revise this chapter, it’s Monday, not Sunday, and a new issue has reared its head: it seems like some of the new USB cables we purchased aren’t working with Macs. At first, I thought this was an error on our side—that we’d bought USB charging-only cables, rather than charging and data, but nope, this is a real thing, and we’ll have to get to the bottom of it.

So am I bitching?

No. This is what it is. This is just another thing.

Am I unhappy?

No. As I wrote in the last chapter, morale is still wayyy up, people are happy and excited. We’re just super-busy. It just seems almost every day brings some silliness that we have to deal with.

But, at least so far, we are dealing with it. Even if it means that I have to chip in. Even if it means Lisa has to help as well. Because that’s what you do.

Aside: let me provide a short answer to the “work on the business, not in the business,” management types on here, or the “4 minute workweek” style people. The short answer is, well, if you’re lucky enough to have (a) started a business, (b) applied these principles, and (c) had them be successful for you, then cool. Yep. You do you, I do me.
Aside to the aside: The longer answer is that this is what you do when you really truly deeply care about what you’ve created. You don’t pound the table and demand we hire a bunch of new people (because getting them up to speed doesn’t solve the short term problem). You don’t whip your current people so hard that they begin to hate their jobs, and then the company, and then you (everyone was in on a Sunday voluntarily, organically, because they wanted to help, not because of a mandate.) And you don’t whine and bitch that you might have to get your hands dirty, because sometimes that’s what it takes, and that’s fine, that’s part of the deal. But then again, that’s me. That’s how I do things. I think I completely understand why Elon was sleeping in his office at the Tesla factory during the Model 3 startup.
Aside to the aside to the aside: I think that many “on the business, not in the business” people, if they are actually employing those techniques and running a successful business, might learn a heck of a lot about how to make their business even better if they got off their lofty perch and spent some time in the trenches. I know I do.

And here’s the thing: this kind of craziness isn’t just happening to us. Have you guys tried to buy anything that isn’t the lowest-common-denominator, unknown-name, made-in-the-cheapest-possible-place, shoved-down-our-search-box-by-personality-free-multibillion-dollar companies? It’s the same everywhere. I’m in the process of setting up a couple of test rigs for Corpus, and literally every piece of good test equipment is either unavailable, long-lead, or twice the price. Lisa and I ordered a couple of pieces of furniture for the Corpus house, and were warned over and over that “it used to take a week, now it’s 8, or maybe 12.” Heck, even cars and trucks are pretty thin on the ground—not a lot of dealing going on.

Why all this uncertainty? Well, the popular excuse is COVID. As in, “COVID is happening, so our leadtimes are extended,” or “Due to the COVID restrictions, we can’t be as efficient in shipping your order anymore.” So this might just be an extended ramification of the global pandemic. Which is what it is. The main thing is that we are dealing with much more chaos now, which makes things even more, er, challenging.

So what are we going to do, as we face even more backorders? Well, we’re going to address it in typical Schiit fashion: we’re going to try to make things better than they’ve ever been.

Yes. I know. We’re crazy.


More Than Promises

It sounds nuts, but the reality is, we’ve already made some things better. Even with all the uncertainty, even with the daily challenges, let’s look at a few examples of what we’ve been able to do:
  • With Cameron and I collaborating on service, we’re actually running faster and more efficiently than before COVID, even though we both have other jobs. Cameron makes things and I design things—and together, we’re doing in-house and out-of-house fails and turning them far faster. This is making things better.
  • We’re working together with everyone as I’m more involved in service and production, and making process changes to improve products. This is making things better.
  • We’re bringing back additional production partners (back to Nevada, as well as setting up in Texas) to increase capacity. This will help make things better by cutting down on backorders. I hope.
  • The Corpus Christi expansion continues on-schedule, and, if we’re lucky, we will be making things there as early as the end of February. That will make everything better across the board, because we’ll have additional staff and a logical separation of product lines.
  • I’m still designing in the evenings and at home, and keeping those products moving forward. Keeping up with this—even in the face of all the craziness—is making things better.
“Well, all that kinda means beans to me, ‘cause I’ve been waiting about a trillion years for a backordered product,” someone says.

And yeah, I hear you.

All of this wonderful make-it-better-ness doesn’t mean Schiit to anyone sitting on a backorder list, waiting for product. Backorders have been a part of Schiit since inception, but they’ve been particularly painful this year. Especially Freya+. But seriously, we’ve done double runs of Freya+ and we’re still not getting ahead. And when we have chassis, we may not have boards, and when we have boards, transformer lead times have gone up, meaning we may not have transformers, and even if we have boards and transformers, we have repeatedly run two different tube manufacturers dry on new production tubes, and even if we have all of the above, right now, the custom-sized box we use to pack them in has now gone far, far out in lead-time, thanks to (apparently) Amazon buying every cardboard manufactory in the USA. You can’t make this Schiit up!

So here’s what we did: we’ve now assigned a new “backorder triage” person, Jen, to actively scan the older backorders, see what (if anything) we can ship, and communicate with people on the backorder lists if (when) the estimated shipping dates slip.

Yes. In the same way we cleaned up B-stock last year, we’re cleaning up backorders this year. Hopefully the additional capacity will mean less backorders, but you read about all the uncertainty above.

“And what about your distributors, will they ever get product?” someone else asks.

And yeah, I hear you on that.

Here’s what happened last year: a big surge in demand here meant we were running full-out through 2020 just trying to keep up with direct orders. When we tried to increase production, we started running into capacity problems at our suppliers, bizarre problems like Magni/Modi boxes becoming unavailable thru because lead times went from 4 days to 65 days, multiple parts that don’t act the same anymore, necessitating much deeper first article testing and new parts brought in to make the runs…so much insane stuff I’m not sure I can capture it all here.

But that’s an excuse. So here’s what we’re doing: Jen is also the distributor liason. She’ll be the point person for distributors, and she will be sending them monthly updates on what (if anything) we have for them. The first update goes out today. The news may not be good to start, but at least there will be communication.

And here’s the thing: when Corpus starts up, we have the potential to make things better very quickly. We’re space- and people-limited in California. We’re also complexity-challenged, with lots of different products to make, in very different ways (making a Ragnarok 2 is stunningly different from a Magni).

Moving the smaller products to Corpus means we can streamline a line just to run those, which are usually a person-and-a-cart affair, a single person craft build.

It also means we can streamline Valencia so that a single person doesn’t have to make Vidars, Aegirs, Ragnaroks, Bifrost 2s, or Urds—much more complex products that should be more of a team build to increase efficiency. Now, with the pallets of metal, wall-warts and boards for the smaller products out of the way, we can set up Valencia with effective teams. A couple of internal promotions also help make this a reality (our most insane organizer, the guy who make the Sol production line a shining example of organization and efficiency, is now in charge of all production there.)

Alex is moving to Corpus as of Thursday—that is, tomorrow. If our timeline holds, we should be making Magni and Modi there by late February. Maybe. We’ll see. There’s still lots to do.

Does this guarantee a future of rainbows, cotton candy, and halcyon days? Of course not.

But we hear you. We’re working to make things better. And I think we’ll get there.

Aside: and yeah, I know, short chapter, but I really need to get back to, er…real work!

Thanks for taking the ride with us!
These all sound like great "problems" to have...

All I see when I read this chapter is job security! Congrats and keep up the great work Schiit team!!!
 
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Looking at the bright side of things...

I think having a long backorder is a good problem to have. Means people want your SCHIIT. I have some Schiit and I STILL want more of your Schiit.

Once IRL situations clear up, I'll be ordering a Jot 2. And eventually a Modius to pair with it. I'll gift someone here the Modi/Magni 3. Because why not.

But then that means I need an XLR cable for the 6XX which is the only headphone I have that can easily take a balanced cable. Oh joy.

Maybe an LCD2C in my future far down the line.
 
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Another excellent chapter on one of the many differences between "having a job" and "running a business." Nice read. I miss/don't miss that sort of intensity.
 

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