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The first ever product launch – The journey

I would love to first share the journey, in brief, and then answer the most common queries that people have asked me, towards the end of this blog post.

To, start with, the company was registered officially on 9th November 2018, as a private limited company, in Kerala. I joined the company in Jan 2019, hoping that I would launch a few quick production run projects and pursue higher studies in a few months. As expected as it was, things didn’t go as planned. Our initial designs were not stable, and when they were, we found it difficult to source the components. Since the components were sourced in small quantities, preserving the cash flow, the price was quite high, with high lead times. We struggled to get hands on components which we needed for first few months, and the projects dragged on.

After a few months, our boards were good as we started assembling it ourselves, without relying on third party service providers, who were expensive, with massive shipment delays. There were standard items, such as the ICs and resistors which are manufactured for all, and are bought by us, and there are customized items as well. We procured such customized items from local manufacturers, since we wanted to save time and money in the first few runs. Now, these customized items were not up to our design expectations, or as promised by the vendor. This rendered our designs useless in extreme conditions, though they were working under normal conditions.

We learnt that, it was quite easy to customize our design to use the things that are already available in market, than to make customized packets as these are expensive. The vendors are usually reluctant to give out small quantities as well. We designed RDTwo, the MicroUPS, in June 2019. The designs were complete. We did a few test boards, and those were good. We wanted to be a bootstrap startup than absorbing the capital to expand. So, we planned for scaling from 25 pieces to 100 pieces and then to 1000 pieces.

Component costs were high, injection moulding way too expensive, and the assembly houses reluctant. After a few months of work, where we bought our own 3D printer and printed almost 100 pieces, and sanded down all the marks from pieces with hours of work, we knew this was not going to work out. The cost was way too less, the investment in terms of cash, even less compared to normal scaling, but the work that we had to do for this, was way too high. We also understood that, though we were able to manufacture about 100 pieces a week, this was way too low for production.

We moved to injection moulding and 1000 pieces production by December 2019. Things went as planned, until the Covid-19 hit. We had planned to launch the product by March end 2020. Our consignments were stuck in major cities as the country was locked down. Without much raw materials available, the work didn’t progress much. Even after the lock being relaxed, logistics didn’t resume though the government had permitted. We took consignments from major cities where the courier offices were filled with undelivered items for months.

And then, we slowly launched on 13th June, 2020, in for a level 2 of the startup.

Moving towards the most common questions that we are being asked.

Do we manufacture in India?
Yes. We import the main components from US/Singapore. Rest all works are within the country. Since we don’t have sufficient investment to get ourselves a PCB assembly unit, we give them to third party service providers in Kerala. We assemble the product ourselves, each part, including the stickers on the boxes.

Was this designed in-house?
Yes, all designs were done by us. Though the mould designs for our case was done by a third party vendor.

How much time have you invested?
A lot of time, energy, money and relations.

Which do you think is the most difficult part as of now?
Ramping into production for the first time, without proper experience.

Were you helped by people?
Yes, a lot! Friends, family and people whom I have never met or talked to before.

Is there a lot of pressure?
Yes.

More questions will be added as they are asked.

Thank you for reading!
~John

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What do we build ?

Passion to learn, is not always limited to the theoretical things. For some, they find theory to be interesting, and yet a few, doing things practically makes them feel better. While there are pros and cons for both, doing a bit of both can be exciting. As far as I, the author is concerned, for me, it has been something like seasonal or changes frequently.

There were days when I loved doing theoretical things, and then minutes later, I might be a completely different maniac. Let us not get too personal !

To begin a company, has always taken a lot of though behind it. Since we didn’t look into starting a software start up, we always knew that we would need some serious investments, unlike most other start ups which focuses on software. Competing with the giants would be difficult. Yeah, it always is.

‘World is never fair’ Being a start up, entering in the competitive segment of electronics product manufacturing, with no much prior experience, doesn’t exempt the company from competing against the giants in the market. Unlike the software counterparts, the hardware start ups, had to clear up the product line before taking on the market. There is no over-the-air update for hardware ! Moreover, every time to change the design, it costs you money and time, a lot of time !

Still after knowing all these, we wanted to build. When we looked into the technical advancements that took place, and the floods in the electronics market, especially in the mobile segments, we knew that there were things that people needed. My handset from 2016, the Redmi Note Prime, has a similar performance and specification as the phone now, not same, but similar. 3 years! Gradually, people had attained a will to spend more. A phone, which works, but is 2 years old, is generally exchanged for a new, slightly improved version for a descent enough price. That change in the spending power, and the will to adapt new technologies, has lead to a bigger market where the start ups could survive.

We also understood what the people needed and what they would be willing to buy. And we eventually learnt to build smaller things. maybe not perfect. We might learn to do that eventually. People needed things that made their lives better, and which saved their time. That is what we will be making !

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Not everyone will fit in !

The most common misconception that most corporate have is the idea that everyone can be replaced in a day ! I believe, from the country that I reside in, that employees tend to be exploited with this idea. In India, we had a huge exponential rise in the people who wanted to do engineering in the past few years.

Since the number of job seekers are significantly higher than the job opportunities, most people are ready to work even for a very low wage to earn experience or thinking that earning a bit is even better than earning nothing at all. This had resulted in undervalued work.

The corporate world always wants to get the maximum value of money that they pay for a person. They, in fact, do not bother about the person as a whole. The money and organisation is placed well above the humanitarian consideration. Corporate world often (mostly the people I have met) thinks that, replacing an employee is quite easy and does not impact the work, as the new person also has the same skill-set as the one being replaced.

When viewed from the other perspective, not all information and knowledge will be shared to the organisation by the individual. He might have missed things, or may be thought the information was not useful. The employee who had experience in the project, would be thereby, knowing a lot more, maybe even more specific information regarding the project than the senior or the manager as the work done is more at the lower ends of the organisation, when it comes to technical sections. Since the new comer would have no idea regarding this, he would either miss information or even if he does catch up, will spend a few days or months catching up depending on the depth of the project. Well, time is money.

Most people think that, hiring a new employee with lower salary and then completing the project was an achievement. It might be so, or maybe it seemed so. Maybe the old employee, who had to be paid more, would have helped you complete the work much earlier, with an improved set of features. No one can be sure, but then not everyone fits in !

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Happy New Year 2019 !

Dear Well-wishers,

Thank you for following us closely and wishing us success, though we were just starting up in the year 2018. The year has been not so eventful when it comes to the company and its product launches. We managed to register our company in India, in November 2018. And since then, we have been striving hard to bring in products for the people.

We thank you for following and encouraging us throughout the year, since our registration and beginning thereby. We hope that we would deliver products, in 2019, and we guarantee this as well. Your presence has kept our hopes alive, and we make a new years wish to grow up to the expectations.

We, the team, wish you all a Happy New Year 2019 ! May this year bring us all, the fortunes and luck that we wish for !

The Team,
RegalDream Technologies