Bantam Tools Blog

Getting to Zero Lead Time in Hardware

Posted by Danielle Applestone on Jan 12, 2017 4:12:34 PM


As of today, we are finally caught up with our backlog and shipping Othermill Pro orders when they are placed. It seems like a small shift, but this is huge for us. Each time you make a new version and put it out into the world, it is just like launching a totally new product. Here are some cold hard facts about how long each iteration took.

KICKSTARTER: May 2013 - September 2014 (16 mo)

We launched our campaign in May of 2013 and ended up with 205 Kickstarter Othermills to build. It took us 16 months to finally fulfill all of those orders. I am grateful for the patience of these folks, without whom we would not exist. 

OTHERMILL: October 2014 - September 2015 (11 mo)

We launched the Othermill in October of 2014, started shipping units in December of that year, and did not catch up and overcome our backorders until the beginning of September the following year, 11 months later. 

OTHERMILL PRO: May 2016 - January 2017 (7 mo)

Today, we are finally able to ship on demand, having reduced the time from launch to on-demand delivery by 1/3. An immense amount of work goes into getting the manufacturing engine running, even when "only" 10% of the parts change in the new model. 

We have proven that this team has what it takes to design a new product, launch, manufacture, stabilize production, and catch up with a presale backlog for the third time. From Kickstarter, to the Othermill, and now the Othermill Pro, I am incredibly proud of everyone who helped get us this far. We survived on our flexibility, our capacity to learn quickly, and a splash of kindness to each other and from our customers. 

Here's to an amazing 2017 in hardware! If you want to find out more about agile hardware development, you can check out key takeaways from my talk at Hardware Massive.