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What is Ebike & Bicycle Quality Control Process? | Electric Bikes & Bicycles QC

Hey guys, Peter here with Sixthreezero. Let's talk a little bit about quality control and the process of how your bike gets to you safely.

All right, so I wear a few hats here at Sixthreezero. I manage quality control with the factories. I also do operations, which is logistics, getting the product from the factories to the warehouses, over the ocean, and then to different warehouses, getting that all sorted out, and then getting those finally delivered to you. There are a lot of steps in the process, and so I want to talk about a few things that we're always looking for and then some of the costs and benefits and some of the things that we have to balance to get you the best bike in the best condition at the best price.

One thing I want you to know is that all companies have to deal with quality control and there are different levels of quality control. In the quality control community, there are different levels, AQL they call them, that you can get. They get increasingly expensive and also at the higher levels you get fewer and fewer defects but at a rate of diminishing returns, so you kind of want to find what's the balance. Now and then, even with the highest quality control, there may even be a few defects, at lower levels of quality control more defects, you get a product that may be more affordable.

Sometimes at the higher levels, products can become almost unobtainable because quality control is so expensive, there are so many eyes, and machinery, et cetera, going into the process. Anyway, we have pretty stringent quality control. We find that our damage rate is very, very small. We also have a daily process of letting the factory know and also letting our couriers know, currently mostly FedEx but also some UPS and other carriers, letting them know about damage that happens at their hands or if something's missed at the factory or sometimes something just gets through that no one realizes. I can give you tons of examples, but things happen.

And so, as part of my job our team gets feedback from our customers saying, "Hey, this happened to my bike." For instance, when we first brought in our tricycles, the tricycles had a cool reflector, they went on the rear fenders, and for the convenience of the customer, they were already mounted on the rear fender. But what happened is, in that position, going through FedEx ... And I don't blame FedEx, these are very heavy boxes but it's just got to go through this gauntlet. These men and women on these trucks are carrying a lot of heavy packages and a lot of times the boxes will end up upside down, in positions that they're not supposed to be, maybe they're dropped off a truck or whatever. They have to sometimes endure quite a bit.

These reflectors, were kind of a hollow open shape and, like I said, really cool looking. We still have them but they were just kind of popping as if you stepped on a light bulb. That started to show up and, of course, we would send new ones to our customers and they would put them on, but as a fix to that, we stopped mounting them on the fender at the factory and would put them in the parts box. So a tiny little extra step for the customer but there was no real way without adding extreme cost to protect those reflectors. Then we add an extra one or two-minute step to the assembly process. This sort of thing happens often, especially when we're bringing in a new product. Something that we don't even know might happen in the process of delivery and all of that. But I do want you to know that if you know have some sort of damage that happened to shipping or for some reason something's defective.

For instance, sometimes a flat can occur. Even if you mount your tire, the tube can slip out, and then when it's inflated the tube will pop. Now what we have the factory do is the factory inflates all the tires to full pressure just to make sure that if the tire's going to pop it's going to pop at the factory, and they can change it out. There are lots and lots of tiny little details like this that we do but we learn about them a lot of times from you all. Something might happen. "Hey, my tube got flat," and we're not sure. Maybe someone ran over a thorn or maybe there is a defect in the tube or maybe it was mounted improperly and somehow slipped through the cracks but we take that feedback, we take it very seriously.

We like to collect pictures and we also like to collect serial numbers and PO numbers. Sometimes this feels like, to the customer, that we're kind of trying to put a barrier between them and getting their part, but really what it is, we try to make it as streamlined as we can but we want all that information because we can take that straight to the factory, and we do, every single day. We send information back to the factory and also back to FedEx about what has happened, and then we send them pictures and we can make vast improvements. Like that tricycle example, I was talking about, we don't have any more problems with the reflectors, that problem completely vanished. We had a couple of other issues with the first run of the tricycles.

Another one was that the axle was rubbing on the frame. Not something that anyone predicted but it was due to the way it was packaged that the front axle was rubbing on the frame and was gouging some of the paint. And so, this was something that we really couldn't know until it kind of went through the FedEx gauntlet, unfortunately, because even though we do our packaging tests they don't quite duplicate what happens in the real world. I've even sometimes, I've had the factory take a bike, package it, and ship it to somewhere far across the country and then back to the factory to see what happens in that process. Sending out one or two packages we're not going to have the same subset to figure out everything as when we're sending out hundreds and hundreds, and then we start to get more feedback. But all this stuff gets sent back, gets cataloged, gets organized, and we address it all the time, all day long.

I just want you to know that. It's just kind of an interesting thing, it's something that I do. I enjoy it myself, it's a lot of fun. It's fun making things better and better and better. It's also interesting sometimes the things that pop up that are unforeseen. We're human and we're not unique in this, this happens in every product, every category, every industry, and every company so I don't feel bad talking about it, frankly, but it's part of my job. That's a little bit of the behind-the-scenes quality control for you and I hope that gives you some sort of idea. If you have some ideas or comments or if you want to let us know what you think about it. Or, if you received a bike that had some sort of thing and you want to let the world know about it, please leave a comment. We'll take it seriously. We'll take a look at it and we'll run it through our process and we'll make it right for you.

Okay. I truly hope that that was helpful to you. If you liked it, please do like it and hit subscribe, it helps grow our channel. If you need any help at all, please contact us. You can call us at (310) 982-2877 or email us at Remember, Sixthreezero is spelled out, S-I-X-T-H-R-E-E-Z-E-R-O. Thanks.


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