V3.0 SICHUAN AND BEEF RELEASE (LQ), NAKED NOODS PACKAGING, VR:GO WAVE 2, AND MORE (BACKORDER FULFILLMENT)
Hi, Tim here again. I’ve been writing a lot of blog posts lately, haven’t I? It’s all part of our continued effort to try and be as transparent as possible while letting you know exactly what’s going on here and with Vite Ramen. Hopefully these little glimpses and insights into our decision making processes helps everyone understand a bit more on what goes on behind the scenes.
Originally, we were going to make more of a hubbub about the Sichuan and Beef release, as well as do a Wave 3 (which never happened), and also VR:GO Wave 2, and all kinds of other stuff.
So, what exactly happened with all that?
First thing’s first-- The thing we’ve been talking about for a while now is that we’ve had an absolutely massive wave of orders come in. We’re happy to say that we’re (almost) through them all, though not without some hiccups. See, the timing of the massive wave of Naked Noods, Vite Ramen, and everything else coincided with a previously planned update to our fulfillment system. Long story short, we coded our fulfillment system completely from scratch ourselves, and maintained it ourselves, and it’s something we’re proud of and have been running for a while now.
Unfortunately, what that also means is that we’re starting to face some backend technical limitations as we begin to increase the amount of orders being put through the system, as well as the complexity of SKUs (basically, total types of items) inside. Especially as we gear up for some other exciting upcoming things, this made us take a step back and evaluate these limitations and what we could be doing to improve things.
With the way the fulfillment system was written, it would unfortunately take a monumental effort to re-do it, test it, and keep it running, eventually having to build out our own servers, and all kinds of other headaches with it. So, we decided on switching to a new one, maintained, coded, and hosted by someone else, so that we could focus on the whole noodley part of things.
For the most part, the transition hasn’t had too many hiccups, but there have been a few orders that have been misprioritized during the swapover, meaning some select orders got put into date orders where they didn’t belong, with some going ahead of where they should be, while others going behind where they should be. To be clear, this did NOT affect LQ/MTO orders-- In fact, the MTO/LQ system was implemented specifically to avoid these types of issues.
Okay, now with that out of the way, how does that affect v3.0 Sichuan and Beef? Well, simply, in all the craziness, we weren’t really able to implement the plans that we had in place for the wave system. In some ways, MTO/LQ system has replaced the wave system for the time being, though the wave system will be making a return once everything is fully back in stock. Generally speaking, I think these order spikes have shown basically why we’ve been trying to plan these kind of things ahead of time-- Simply, everything is wildly unpredictable!
Speaking of which, have I mentioned how much I appreciate that people actually read these wild ramblings? It’s 4:41AM as of the moment, I haven’t slept, and I’m speed-writing this at what I calculate is 130 WPM, so when someone goes “Man that was really interesting and educational and I loved reading it!” I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
And breathe a sigh of relief, as that means my late night ramblings on transparency isn’t lost on everyone.
Anyway, MTO/LQ system essentially allows us to plan things even further ahead and optimize schedules and supply chains even further. With that in mind, we feel fairly comfortable releasing v3.0 Sichuan and Beef into the MTO/LQ system, as it fills some of the order planning needs that the wave system had created before, and allows us to manage orders ahead of time to plan and optimize.
So with that being said...
Vegan Sichuan Edition and Beef Pho v3.0 is now released for EVERYONE!
The release is on an LQ basis! We will be monitoring quantities closely, and depending on the order velocity of other products and how many noodles we gotta make for other products, we’ll be shifting Sichuan and Beef back and forth between LQ and MTO status. A question from me would be-- Do you guys want to see announcements on our socials and be sent emails when we flip things between LQ and MTO? We can potentially set up a special email list for this. Let us know in the comments below!
With that out of the way, let’s discuss a bit about VR:GO, and the status of that. Simply, VR:GO is delayed because the otherwise simple machine is... just not working. I made a little video about it here, being a bit out of breath as I narrate throughout because I’ve been wrangling the machine for a few hours before than and contorting in all kinds of ways, and I’m really not the most flexible person anymore as my age starts catching up to me. Some people on the production team visibly cringe every time I crouch down to inspect this or that, as every single time my knees and back will make some popping or crunching noise... don’t worry, that’s very normal for me now :^)
I wish I had better news, but as of now, we’re just waiting on sensor diagnostics and seeing if it’s truly the sensor that’s broken, or something causing the sensor to not work. As soon as that’s done, we’ll be ready to run VR:GO, but for the time being, we’re stuck :( When we released the pre-orders, tests were done at the plant, and the machine worked perfectly fine and sealed some nice VR:GO containers, so we suspect something got jostled and messed up during shipment.
Once VR:GO is ready to GO (heh) then we’ll be releasing Wave 2 of orders for it. Maybe we’ll just full release it and also put it into the MTO/LQ schedule, though all of that remains to be seen depending on everything else that’s going on. Geez, this is getting pretty long, isn’t it?
Alright, bear with me here. One last thing. Naked Noods got super popular as well, and we blew through a huge amount of materials. That meant we actually went through tens of thousands of bags of packaging, and we had to scramble to get more ordered and sent. Naturally, the lead times were longer than our use rates, so... we’re facing another supply gap. Luckily, for any of you who got the original Naked Noods, you know that Naked Noods were started from readily available materials... meaning we’re slapping big ‘ol stickers on top of off-the-shelf-food-packaging-bags again.
This should only affect orders for a week or two until the normal bags come in, but I thought it’d be worth mentioning for the sake of transparency. They’ll also come with a little goodie, if you do get it-- Sorry, if you order now, you probably won’t get these special bags, they’re going on some of the backorder bags and earliest LQ bags (maybe).
Anyway, that’s kind of the general update I have for the time being. If you’ve got any more questions, feel free to hop into our Discord to ask, or ask us on Twitter, or comment below, or email us!
I should really get to bed now. Man, I’m going to send this over for proofreading and everyone’s going to be like, “Tim, did you not sleep again?” and I’m really not going to have a good answer for that one.
As much as people go on about how they’re doing the entrepreneur grind of 4 hours of sleep or whatever, it’s very, very not good for you. This is me saying what I’m doing here is actually not a good thing.
Anyway, that’s it for this blog!
-Tim Zheng, CEO/Founder Vite Kitchens, chronically sleep deprived