We get lots of advice from the “ EXPERTS” on what we “NEED” to be doing to make Mango Bikes a slick eCommerce machine. And, of course, how their “small” fee will be paid back in somewhere between 7 nanoseconds to next Thursday.
From the “ you need to be paying” Google, Facebook et al mega bucks (we do pay them a bit but Mr Zuckerberg probably isn’t relying on us too heavily) to the “you need to introduce set KPI’s” for the bike builders, we hear it all.
One of the most (un)interesting but topical subjects is our inability to ship bikes the same day or next day as orders are placed. That’s bad, right?
(“ Your competition is already offering it you know” – yeah, we know)
We’re proud of this.
For our brand, it’s one of the core principles (eek,yuk….that sounds so terribly official)
It sets us apart, and above, our competitors and many bike brands who sell at £’s way higher than us.
And, it seems, the savvier consumers are starting to understand why and buy into the Mango Bikes way.
Some folk would have you believe that all products from Far East are crap. That’s just not true.
But like goods from anywhere, there’s good and there’s bad. Bit like people really.
One of the most important processes in any supply chain is quality control. It’s self-explanatory but keeping tight control of standards is easier said than done sometimes.
Especially with Far East supply.
We use factories, brands and agents we’ve known for years and trust implicitly. We also visit and spend time with them, verifying the processes and looking for opportunities to improve. And of course, looking at new stuff.
And that’s like lots of bike brands but it’s where Mango Bikes takes a different (we think better) route.
Normally, all the parts and components are shipped from several factories to one where the bikes are assembled, packed into boxes (generally the box which ends up going to the final customer) and loaded into containers.
These containers then follow some, or all, of several steps before being delivered to the end user.
Depending on the brand, the bikes may be shipped to their own warehouse before going to wholesalers, distributors and then retailers. Others cut some of these steps out but generally, its fully assembled bikes being delivered to warehouses, ready to have the last few bits assembled or sent directly to customers.
Which is all kind of fine.
Until you do some analysis of the quality checks done by the brand and understand potential for shortcuts to be taken. People will always take short cuts.
By doing all the manufacture and assembly in the Far East, all Quality Control and checks are done by the same people, and certain flaws can be covered up. For example, frames that might not pass the brands inspection can be filled and look 100% perfect once painted.
The diagram above shows that, outside of the factory’s quality checks, quite often it’s possibly the end user i.e. YOU, who does the next quality check. Even if the brand/retailer does some minor assembly certain flaws or defects won’t be picked up.
Like a lot of things in life, easy and right or easy and best, are not necessarily the same thing. The tyranny of the majority sometimes means it easy to look at what the big boys are all doing and think that’s the best way.
Same old, same old.
But Mango Bikes, despite being a small brand, has always thought the bike industry is a bit bonkers sometimes.
We ship direct from factories across Europe and Far East direct to Mango HQ in Ballyclare. All individual parts and components, some raw and never, ever a fully assembled bike.
This means a few more headaches for us but means loads more quality checks on the bikes.
Stick with frames for example. These are shipped raw and we paint them in house. The factory knows we’ll be seeing them on arrival, when we pick them for painting, while they are being painted and during final assembly into bikes. That’s a whole lot of up-close checking that doesn’t get done by other bike brands.
And guess what?
The quality of the product we receive is amazing.
Manufacturing will always have some sort of defect rate but ours is ridiculously low. We’ve rejected 1 frame in the last 2 years and that was a cable guide put on back to front.
Our litmus test is whether we’d let our family ride the bikes we send out.
This process of how we build Mango Bikes makes it as transparent, quality focussed and flexible as any bike brand out there.
We’d happily let our family pull wheelies, do skids and cycle anywhere on them.
Customisation hasn’t even been discussed, maybe that’s next week blog sorted……………..
Long live the little guys – Demand Quality – Never Ride Stock
Mango Bikes // Andrew