When will this item be in stock ?

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When will this item be in stock ?

Post by exxos » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:18 pm

I get asked this almost every day. It's a valid question, but also near impossible to answer.

The short answer is, I have no idea! Keep an eye on my store and on this forum for news and updates of what I am working on each day/week. That is the best answer I can give sorry!

I will try and explain it all below...
If I order PCB's for something, its 2-3 weeks wait. Then can be 2 weeks+ for building and testing, depending on how complex the kit is. Sometimes it can take several months before some appears in stock. Reason mostly is time, then costs involved and other reasons. Such as, for example, parts I use in my kits become discontinued in Farnell etc, or the manufacture discontinues them. This means I have to wade thought 100's of parts to find an alternative, which can take a few hours! Can be multiple reasons why the delay..

Problem is, as I said for the past 2 years, I am struggling to keep up with items I sell in my store. Simply because of the huge amounts of time it all takes up. Obviously I can only build one item at a time (though it never goes that simple) so if 5 items go out of stock same day, then only 1 item will be back in stock within the next few days/weeks. Some items are quicker to get back in stock than others. So programming a ROM will appear faster in stock than the PSU's for example. So I will do the quicker ones first.

I work from top to bottom of my "out of stock list" constantly. I build up batches of 10-25 normally, they go in stock and everyone is happy. Then I go onto the next item to re-stock.. and the next and the next.. by which time, the first items in my list are back out of stock again. So its unlikely everything I sell will ever be in stock at the same time. Some people unfortunately moan about this, well, it's only going to get worse the more items I am producing.

Then people say, why I don't build up larger batches.. well, if I built up 500 PSUs so they would never run out of stock anytime soon, well, likely 100 other items will be out of stock until they appear, and the only thing I will have in stock is 500 PSU's. Plus I don't have the funds to build high volumes of stuff, and as retro computing is unstable in terms of how long stuff will ultimately sell for, I am not willing to take the risk of huge stocks on items which may never sell. I am basically sinking around £1,000-£2,000 each month just buying parts! So I am not going to spend double that for more items. If I had that much free cash lay around I would retire! A few months ago when I added things up, I had spent around £21,000 on Atari related stuff! This is just to keep the items I have in my store in stock.. or not in stock as it mostly is.

To double the stock, double the costs, get around £40,000, plus I would need to employ someone to help, so add some more onto that price.. This is where I am at with it all. While I am getting a lot of sales lately (thanks to all those who support me!) I doubt I am going to be making £40,000+ a year in sales. So I have no choice but to operate how I do and try and balance my books with it all. I invest cash and time into my current stocks and new hardware development. Its not easy to make all these choices and keep track of it all.

There are always times where I get no store sales at all and cash stops coming in, so cash going out stops also. If I need to buy 50 transformers at £10 a go, and don't have £500 in my account, then they don't get purchased until enough store sales come in to allow me to buy the transformers. Anyones guess how long that would be. Could be days, weeks or months.

There is also the "Boredom factor". Some stuff ends up taking a long time where I have to build it for stock. It is why I mostly sell kits because I don't have time to build kits up. Even when I do, after building 50 of something, it just becomes a bore and would rather do something else for a while instead. Though I am trying to get stuff manufactured to save me weeks worth of soldering.. but this is huge costs again. My store doesn't make enough cash to be able to bulk make many items. I don't make huge profits on my kits, and higher productions costs make it near impossible to sustain and sort of profit to invest in other things. All this stuff costs a minimum of £1,000 per kit just in parts, or assembly costs. Costs soon ramp up so I have to make careful choices on where to spend my store revenue. Keeping track of every pcb, every part, every sale, is a fulltime job by itself!

Also there are time limits. I do have a day job! and I am spending several hours or more each day on this Atari stuff already. I simply do not have anymore time to do anything else! This leaves near zero time to work on new hardware, people know how slow my booster work has become over the past year, plus multiple other projects which have grinded to a halt. Just no free time left!

Mix into all this I am doing a lot of machine repairs also which takes up even more time. I've repaired several falcons and a few ST's this past year. All takes time. Plus various repairs to kits which people have broken and loads of other things. So time for doing stock items is even less and is getting less all the time.

As many know, I have RSI in my fingers, It really hurts like hell to type, and I am trying to avoid it now and use voice recognition, which is good, but also takes a long time to correct the words it gets wrong. So replying to emails or messages is slowing down, in part due to time restrictions also. But this is why I started this forum for one thing. So people can here communicate and see whats going on each week, so people don't have to keep emailing me. Of course emails take up time also, and if I can reduce "general" questions, then its more time to actually work on items for my store etc.

I do get some emails asking about me upgrading machines.. well, each time I add it up, its normally ends up around £200-£300 worth of work. So I just don't tend to price anything up anymore. People are keen to have all fancy stuff, but when they see the cost, they never do. A lot of kits have to be built up first, then tested, then fitted to the motherboard and re-tested. It ends up taking a whole week worth of time, hence the costs involved. Also, I just do not have time to upgrade whole machines. I have been wanting to sell upgraded machines for years, but never get enough free time to do it. If I do , then I would have to stop repairing peoples machines and stop developing new hardware to generate time for it.

Similar I get asked a lot, "can I remake this or that project/item".. Well yes I could, but no I won't as I simply do not have time. I would love to make every hardware item under the sun, but it's not realistic for me to take on even more work. My head is spinning enough each day with what I am doing already. I am also totally out of space here also. I cannot keep track of all the components for all the projects I have now. Its just piles of boxes everywhere. Each time I start re-stocking something, I have to spend a day looking for all the bits.

Please don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about people emailing asking me things etc.. Though these questions comes up over and over. So I hope this post will save me repeating myself and explain why things are always out of stock for a long time :) I am trying my best to keep up.. but I am only one person after all :)
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
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Re: When will this item be in stock ?

Post by Neffers » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:36 pm

I'd pin this to each and every relevant forum if I were you. This is a properly well constructed response to those who moan about late stuff, out of stock stuff (I have asked Exxos a few times about products, I'm not shying away from that fact). Very well put Chris.
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Re: When will this item be in stock ?

Post by exxos » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:29 pm

Neffers wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:36 pm
I'd pin this to each and every relevant forum if I were you. This is a properly well constructed response to those who moan about late stuff, out of stock stuff (I have asked Exxos a few times about products, I'm not shying away from that fact). Very well put Chris.
It was more to reply to people in direct emails, and point them to this thread to save my repeating myself :)

<RANT>
While on about time limitations..

I spent a entire day last week replying to emails, and still got a load to reply to yet.. half of those emails should have been posted here as they are simple technical things mostly. It defeats the object of this forum and helping others when people email direct like that. I'm all for helping people, though get 100 simple questions, and the whole day is gone. Then often people reply, so next day I have to do it all again.

I mostly don't even reply to people on FB anymore, I must have like 100 messages yet. just don't have time to reply there, reply here and reply to emails. It gets to confusing to keep track of who said what and where all the time. A lot of questions can be asked here and people would likely get help. I have like 200 friend requests as well, I don't add people as first thing people will do is use FB's PM as a private help line for anything under the sun.. then my whole day is gone again. So I hope people won't be offended as I don't add anyone or reply, I simply don't have time to be involved with FB, again defeats the whole point of having this forum.

Nobody seems to click the (I) buttons in the webstore when it takes them to the info page on my site, all the info is there. But people don't, then people don't look on my website when all the info is, they don't look at the order receipts which has links to my site and forum. So they spend more time emailing me, when I have to mostly reply back with information which is on my store anyway, its just not a constructive use of time. The amount of people that email saying do I have any sort of install instructions is simply baffling. It's Like nobody has even seen my website and all the info is there and has been for years!

Similar I get asked a lot of questions which are in the FAQ part of my store, I mean there's a huge button saying FAQ when all known questions I get asked are replied there.. and people don't look, then I end up simply telling them to click the button to get the info they want.. its a pointless waste of everyone's time.

Even more odd is I have seen people asking for help on FB for my kits, or other groups/forums, when people get enough info to find my website or this forum when all the info is, and the proper info at that. You would think people would ask for help on the creators own forum than going to the "public" for help on stuff they have probably never even seen before. But nope.

Of course that is whole point of this forum to build up common Q&A's. My contact page directs people to try this forum first ,but almost nobody does. I think ultimately I am just going to have to take the contact me page off my website. I think I mentioned it before.. If people buy something from my store and need help, they should have my email address from the order anyway, plus website and forum links. Everyone else will have to ask questions here instead.

As most know, my fingers hurt these days and even with voice recognition I still have to do a lot of manual typing and corrections. I can't use voice-rec for coding firmware which has become its own mini-hell. I need to greatly limit all this "typing" as I should be spending time designing stuff, not telling people how to install ROM's when info is on my site anyway. If people really do need more help, then sure, I will help, but only if people post here so at least such info will help others in the future.

I have had a few emails with people suffering from all sorts of finger pain problems, so clearly I am not alone with such issues. Some have a lot worse issues than myself. so I guess only those people can really understand where I am coming from with all this. I want to help people, but I am not going to keep putting myself through hours of pain to do it when help and information is already readily available.

Also another problem is the amount of emails I have to do with relating to buying parts, putting in PCB orders, assembly and instructions of various things. Those are really unavoidable and take up a fair bit of time and of course typing each week.

</RANT>
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

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Re: When will this item be in stock ?

Post by Neffers » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:47 am

exxos wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:29 pm
<RANT>
Valid text.
</RANT>
Bloody hell, that sound like a proper chore, all thanks to ignorance. I hope things improve soon.
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Re: When will this item be in stock ?

Post by exxos » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:07 am

Neffers wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:47 am
Bloody hell, that sound like a proper chore, all thanks to ignorance. I hope things improve soon.
Thanks, yes, I have updated my email page emphasise things a lot more. I think a lot of people just don't bother to look for information , and 90% I have already answered anyway :roll:
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

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Re: When will this item be in stock ?

Post by troed » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:09 pm

Regarding the info-button. I'm sure not everyone understands that's what it is. Or rather, I know not everyone manages to figure out that's how you get more info :) Maybe it can be made more in-your-face.

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Re: When will this item be in stock ?

Post by Neffers » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:03 pm

A dangerous way would be to change the button for info to display "Support" while still directing to the relevant thread here :twisted:
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Re: When will this item be in stock ?

Post by exxos » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:15 pm

troed wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:09 pm
Regarding the info-button. I'm sure not everyone understands that's what it is. Or rather, I know not everyone manages to figure out that's how you get more info :) Maybe it can be made more in-your-face.
Done :) though it does make the top of page rather cluttered now :(

Neffers wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:03 pm
A dangerous way would be to change the button for info to display "Support" while still directing to the relevant thread here :twisted:
Yeah, I may add support URLs which basically link back here.. Will have to wait until I have more time to work on it all tho.
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

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Re: When will this item be in stock ?

Post by Neffers » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:29 pm

Also gotta look after your fingers too man, I was not aware of your trouble with your fingers but now I understand the solder paste gun thread a bit more ;)

Just a side note, maybe some people are just too lazy to make an account here, leading the use of email and social media.
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Re: When will this item be in stock ?

Post by exxos » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:48 pm

Neffers wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:29 pm
Also gotta look after your fingers too man, I was not aware of your trouble with your fingers but now I understand the solder paste gun thread a bit more ;)
Indeed :) having to move to solder paste as I just cannot spend endless hours with a soldering iron any more :(
Neffers wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:29 pm
Just a side note, maybe some people are just too lazy to make an account here, leading the use of email and social media.
That is most likely the reason yes. Too convenient to have everything on the one account like on Facebook. Of course best way to reach maximum number of people for help.. But in the case of installing the stuff I create, it does not really help people all that much. It is mostly just the same questions over and over anyway, if people looked they would easily find information.

Replying on Facebook is pretty much like a one-on-one conversation where next week I would have exactly the same conversation with someone else again.. The whole point of having a forum is to build up common questions and answers so people can find what they want easily and quickly and actually get proper information from people who generally know what they are talking about.

If people don't want to make use of such a service then that is their choice. But really that is somewhat selfish as such information could be useful to others, and on Facebook basically gets lost. Ultimately we need proper information and guides machines are ageing and need fixing.. People should be starting those topics here not on Facebook. :roll:
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

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