Do you know what degaussing is? Well, we didn’t before, but we do now. “An education” does not begin to describe the experience of starting RaceDots!
Those who linked here from Indiegogo know that the final two stages of the process before we’d be receiving the RaceDots were 1) inspection and 2) shipment. We were way more stressed about the inspection part, and way more confident in the shipment. Oh, how silly that sounds in retrospect.
For quality control, we hired an independent inspector to check random packages before our shipment was ready to leave. Seemed like a very smart move for overseas manufacturing.
When the inspector was arranging his travel to the factory, he discovered that -- right when our order was supposed to be done -- the "Canton Festival" was going to once again shut down the factory (Not again!), plus fill up hotels and make travel difficult (and much more expensive). So we made sure that he could arrive and inspect before that happened. Phew! Bullet dodged.
The inspector arrived at the factory on Friday, and everything passed with flying colors! He voiced concern that in some packages all the RaceDots were not facing the same way. That’s some thorough inspecting.
We were thrilled. The stressful part was over, and all that the factory needed to do was call FedEx and ask them to pick up the shipment as planned.
Flashback to January: We got several quotes for shipping the order via air freight. FedEx emerged as the winner.
In the weeks leading up to the inspection, we coordinated with our FedEx rep for the April 25th pickup. In the days preceding, we got the factory, the inspector, and FedEx in sync about what was going to happen and when.
Apparently FedEx USA (with whom we were working) had not coordinated with FedEx China, who obviously would actually pick up the shipment. So when the factory called to confirm the pickup, FedEx China had no idea what they were talking about and refused to accept a large shipment of magnets for air freight (drop head, slap forehead).
A collection of very strong magnets produces a large magnetic field, which can be dangerous for instruments and whatnot on an airplane. So a process called degaussing, which, for air cargo, means packing magnets in a certain way in certain packaging that reduces this magnetic field, must be done first to ensure safe transport.
FedEx requires this process but does not provide it. They, however, did not let us know this until the factory called for the [non-existent] pickup.
FedEx USA has acknowledged that we did communicate that the shipment was magnets (The shipping quote we received from them says it right on there, as do subsequent e-mails.) and that they completely dropped the ball, however it still leaves us in a lurch.
We are currently making arrangements with an alternate shipping company who can both degauss and ship the stuff air freight.
For the last few days, we’ve completely turned our schedules upside down to communicate to China (12 hours ahead) and then turn around to communicate with FedEx USA in local time. Sleep has been hard to come by and having a background in endurance sport has been relied on heavily.
When business commences in China on Monday (8pm Sunday night our time), we hope to have a resolution. We will not stop working until we do.
We hope you all understand that our only goal right now is to get this shipment here as quickly as possible. We’ve got all of you waiting and we take our commitment to provide your perks seriously. Thank you for your continued patience.