Hot Pocket | December Update

December Hot Pocket Update

Hey Hot Pocket backers! Hope you're having a great start to the Christmas season! We have a great update for you today, it's taken us some time to unravel all of the details and ripple effects with what's been going on in Hot Pocket world but we have some solid information to share with you today. SO, Grab your coffee, this update is going to be a doozie!!

Let's start with some good news!?

Power Packs

All certifications have now been completed! Wahooo! The Power Pack XL and UL designs have passed with flying colors on all of our certification tests! 

Here’s a list of all of the certifications we went through.

In order to perform all of these tests these labs destroyed 162 of our Power Packs. We’re really excited to be on the other side of this mountain, this was a huge investment in time and resources. There was no requirement to perform all of these tests, this is our self imposed requirement to ensure your safety, product quality, and product reliability of everything we create.

Even more good news is the bulk production of the Power Packs and Chargers have been completed and are currently being packaged up for export.

These items will ship with our 40ft Hot Pocket container, so they’ll be waiting on that product to be completed. 

Which brings us to the next topic -

The Hot Pocket itself.

The Hot Pocket Textile portion has now been completed for 2 months, waiting on the Heat Panel so we can finish the final sewing steps and quality checks. Thankfully George held finishing this final step until we had all of the heat panels in and could perform bulk quality inspections.

During these bulk inspections we discovered that the Heat Panel does not meet our quality or performance spec sheets and is not suitable to be installed into the Hot Pocket.

The primary issue here we are seeing is regarding heat performance and durability of the panel over an extended period of heating. Without going into great depth here, we believe it actually stems back to a faulty construction method implemented by the factory during bulk production. Though failures are rare (from a statistical point of view) and take extreme conditioning to achieve, we are not willing to tolerate any failures.

We have since learned that this is something they (the supplier) are NOT willing to correct on the heat panels (a blatant disregard of our contract we have in place), we believe these items to be a critical element to the products performance and safety. This is extremely frustrating, especially considering they were late to begin with on this product, and now this..

So we are left with a clear choice. We are cutting ties with this supplier and we are going to pursue legal actions against this supplier. 

Here's the new solution we are pursuing 👇

 We're Creating a New Hot Pocket Heat Panel 

Fortunately we’ve been developing a new Heat Panel relationship for the last 3 months thanks to our Ember Jacket. When we first realized this prior supplier relationship may go south, we immediately started creating a new Hot Pocket Graphene heat panel (early November), we now have it in house and it performs better than our original expectations, is lighter, provides a more consistent heat over a longer period of time, and meets our safety requirements. So we are now racing to figure out the exact lead time and production time for our 10k heat panels. 

So here's what this looks like: 1) We have to create 10,000 new heat panels, 2) ship those to our Hot Pocket Textile manufacturer, 3) Final Quality Testing, then complete the final manufacturing step, 4) ship all goods to our PA Warehouse. 

I know this is an extremely frustrating thing to read, but I’m so very thankful that we caught this issue prior to installing the heat panels or shipping any out. We'll end up loosing about $25K in this deal because of this supplier, but it's a price worth paying to make sure you get the best product possible. 

The bright side of this equation is that you will be receiving a Graphene Heat panel in your Hot Pocket, which is a big upgrade in performance and weight savings. Thanks to the surface area of the Graphene, the panel produces a much more consistent amount of heat for you and the panels are much lighter than our original panels. 

Prototype Graphene Heat Panel

To expedite this process Chris and I are headed to Asia on December 26th, so that we can meet with the new factory face to face, speed up the development process, oversee the testing, and implementation of the new Heat Panels.

We’ll also be visiting George at the factory and we'll be able to give you an in person update on any new developments from the factory at that point.

(By the way, Chris is our new Director of Product. He is a Mechanical Engineer and has 20 years experience in startups and project management - we’re excited and thankful to have him on the team!) 

Fulfillment

As you might remember from my last update we had an issue with our fulfillment center not being able to fulfill our new Power Packs. Good news is all of our fulfillment issues have been resolved and we are now good to go on customer fulfillment (Once we receive the product).

Light Link

Completed and ready for shipment!  

Solar System

The Solar System is held up in production (mostly because we have the time, thanks to the heat panel debacle, and we are working on a bit more refinement of the product), when we received final samples of the Solar System we loved them, they looked great and performed excellently.

In fact with a full Solar System I fully charged the Power Pack UL in under 2 hours.

There was just one problem - weight, they were about an ounce heavier than we were expecting, after dissecting the samples we realized the PP backing board being used was thicker than our spec and ultimately made the product heavier than it needs to be.

We reduced the PP board thickness by half and have assembled a new set of samples that are much closer to our original desired weight.

The new Solar Base weight is 8.9oz.

When you compare this to the market leader Goal Zero’s Nomad 7 Plus (12.5oz) or the Nomad 7 (16.2oz) it’s a clear win for the Adventurer.

When adding the new Solar Link you add 7watts of additional power and just 8.7oz in weight.

So for the Solar System ~14w package you’re looking at 17.6oz. When you compare this to Goal Zero’s Nomad 14 Plus (22.4oz) or the Nomad 13 (25.6oz), you can really begin to see the advantages of the Solar System from a weight standpoint.

But as you know, what’s great about the Solar System is it’s modularity, you get to decide the power you bring and the weight you carry! You don't always need 42watts of power, sometimes you just need 7w in your pack, we're excited about the opportunities and flexibility the Solar System opens up for adventurers around the world! We’ve almost sold the entire shipment of Solar Systems already so it sounds like we’ve really struck a chord with our Hot Pocket backers, we’re pretty excited to get this into your pack!

The Magnetic Connections make adding power a snap! 

Completed Solar System

That’s a full update on where we are right now. As we continue to take these steps into the unknown please understand that I completely empathize with your frustration and desire to have this product yesterday. However, we can not waiver on the quality or performance of this product - we have to get this one 100% before it ships - nothing else is acceptable. I greatly appreciate and covet your continued patience. 

At this time we are simultaneously pursuing two different options regarding the Heat Panel, each result produces very different delivery dates. I am still gathering more concrete dates from our supply chain on these two paths, before releasing any exact dates to you, but please note we are doing everything we can to decrease the remaining lead times, while ensuring we exceed your expectations on this product’s performance and quality. As soon as we have more concrete information we'll be back with another update!

I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Grand New Year, talk soon!

Richard Rhett

CEO / Sierra Madre

Innovation always brings the best challenges, we will endure through them and prevail!

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