Navigating the Pandemic

March 20, 2020

News

Dear community,

We hope you are well in these trying times. We know you’re listening to scientists, staying in and taking care of your family, friends, and neighbors. Please stay safe!

We were very fortunate to come together in London for two weeks just before travel restrictions were imposed globally. Having 75% of the team together gave us the opportunity to do some of our greatest and most exciting work.

Now we are working hard to keep that momentum going and keep delivering on our promises, despite the hiccups.

From left to right: Alex, Gerard, Triam, Anne, Jipke, and Darren. We missed Chen and Jason.

This Update

COVID-19 Business continuity plans
Hardware
Software

COVID-19 Business Continuity Plans

We have taken the necessary steps to limit the effects on our business of the current pandemic.

While starting from a safe position, we have made significant cuts as we worked collectively to care of and keep intact the team. We have also simplified operations and pushed back any expenses that are not strictly necessary. By taking action early on we are giving ourselves the financial flexibility to operate rationally and ship your units. This doesn’t preclude that delays will happen, given the current level of uncertainty.

Manufacturing

Given our product and the global nature of supply chains, we have been particularly exposed to manufacturing risk. Having said that, we have found solutions:

  • We split the production of electronics between the US and China as China entered the lockdown phase. Now that the US moves in that direction and China relaxes we are doing the opposite. This basically has meant posting electronic boards from the US to China, where we will finalize production.
  • Our inability to travel to China means that the assembly of the electronics and testing of the remaining 20 units will be done through assembly guides, checklists, and active video supervision.
  • Once these are shipped we will move to source components for the next batch and proceed in the same way until restrictions are temporarily relaxed or end.

People

Our colleague Anne had been preparing for a US East Coast tour this April, sadly we have had to postpone this indefinitely. We look forward to meeting you when things get back to normal.

On the bright side, our company structure has allowed us to adapt immediately to working from home and still managing a productive team. The only impact is in relation to tasks that involve our office knitting machine in London.

Due to this, online live demos will be suspended indefinitely, given that no one in the team has a unit at home. To work around this:

  • Our sales team will be accessible to answer your questions on video calls.
  • We aim to make content and videos available to you as soon as possible. Videos are currently being edited.

Software

Software development is the least affected by our functional teams. Despite this, given that the software is getting better and generating more interesting k-code, we do require access to a machine for testing. We are still working on solving this problem.

  • We are looking for a very small private space in South London where we can immediately move the machine to work with it. Location is important given that public transport puts us at risk.
  • We have arranged with Kniterate recipients who have their machine at home to work with them to test k-code. High five to having the most supportive community!

We are also washing our hands all the time and avoiding touching our faces.

If you have ideas or ways to help us please get in touch!

Hardware

As discussed, the pandemic is affecting our operations and in China, Europe, and the US.

This situation has imposed necessary lockdowns and travel restrictions, which, for example in China, means the team can’t travel to the factory to supervise the manufacturing process.

While the rest of the world is grinding to halt, the situation in China seems to be reverting, with significant relaxations on the lockdown. We are studying a workaround and we are in discussions with the factory to resume work without our physical presence.

We have worked with very skilled Chinese factory workers to partly assemble the first 25 machines. By providing good documentation we aim to finalize the units left by adding the electronics and carrying out the testing. We will then pack the remaining 20 machines and ship them. We should be able to get things up and running at the factory again soon.

Based on the current and predicted landscape and our workarounds we have updated the shipping timeline on our backers-only community.

First Kniterate units make it home

As you know, we were able to ship five Kniterate units between December of last year and this January. Our last update shared the arrival of one unit to Belgium. The remaining four have now arrived at their owners in the US.

Now that they have all started working with their units, we are very excited to see what they are going to create and at their service to help them out with any questions.

We also personally visited our backer in Antwerp and helped with the unpacking and setting up process. We filmed it all to create a document explaining the process in detail. Here’s the video!

We are also sharing a checklist for you to make sure you aren’t missing any steps during the entire process. It can be found in the Instruction and safety manual section in the backers-only forum.

Software

Having the team together was a unique opportunity to ideate, plan and implement improvements and features and also to test the k-code generated.

More pictures!

On the 23rd of March (Monday) we will publish a new version of the design app with some of those improvements and new features. The main capabilities of the app are currently around generating jacquards. We have also improved the functionality of the stitch editor. Despite this, it still requires some debugging to make it more reliable. Over the next weeks, we will work on this along with other features.

We have also started a new document that reflects these changes and doubles up as a user manual. We will update it with every new public release we make. Also on Monday, you will be able to find it in the section dedicated to the design app, in the backers-only forum.

We would like to thank backers for participating in the survey we shared with them. It has helped us by guiding a new development timeline that we have created for the design app. It contains the key releases we would like to work on over the next months. We have a more granular list of tasks with minor features and improvements that we will be sharing as we progress and reach milestones. You can find it as a tab in the spreadsheet shared in the timeline thread in the backers-only forum.

The Future of Kniterate Software

Even if you don’t own a Kniterate, you may be planning to buy one soon or you may just want to design with the software. We want to hear from you!

We have created a form to understand how you would use it and what other features you could be interested in.

To add some fun to our WFH lives we will give away five 3-year subscriptions to respondents of the form if we reach at least 500 responses over the next week. Thanks for participating!

That’s all in terms of Kniterate updates, please join our community to ask us your questions and increase transparency and communication.

We would like to take a moment to thank and appreciate healthcare workers, supermarket workers, delivery teams and local community staff, who are on the front line and helping to care for people and contain the spread of this virus. 🙏

Stay safe!

-Kniterate Team

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