Author Topic: When do GB's fail because of GMK Lead Time?  (Read 2175 times)

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Offline azzipa

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When do GB's fail because of GMK Lead Time?
« on: Wed, 02 June 2021, 09:49:37 »
This is a tricky case study: the group buy model does not scale well and this remains a niche hobby. Demand has exploded during COVID lockdowns. Also, tastes change, new designs and products are introduced, and vendors seem to lack capital to stock products in bulk. And part of the fun is that we all can, over time, find the products that speak to us which makes mass merchandising problematic. At this point I have more questions than answers.

Anyone following the group buy scene has noticed that GMK lead times are pushing beyond 1 year (and other manufacturers are extending production times also). There has been talk, but no confirmation, about GMK adding new machinery to reduce production time. There have been rumors about supply chain problems. There have been suggestions that designers sent incorrect files (e.g., Yugo). Now it seems the latest issue is color matching.

What there has NOT been is clear communication from GMK. Is this all COVID related? How can sets like Sashin and Monochrome r2 be delayed because price quotes weren't available (is the proxy or GMK at fault)? How can a world-class plastics manufacturer not match RAL colors? Is this the norm as keyset designers are "forced" to go beyond stock GMK colors to create a unique colorway?

Dracula - Round 6 of color matching approved late April 2021; GB ended 10/31/19, now expected to ship to vendors in August 2021 (delivery ca. 22 months)
Yugo - GMK cited issues with banderole art, following 2 rounds of color matching which concluded 09/30/20; GB ended 01/02/20, now expected to ship to vendors 09/06/21 (ca. 20 months)
Masterpiece - Round 3 of color matching rejected on 05/25/21; GB ended 06/02/20, no revised ship date (12+ months, still color matching)
Rouge - Colors approved 10/05/20 but samples not sent until Feb 2021, further delay with renders until 04/20/21 and R2 renders sent 05/13/21 but no sample provided for ♥2 key (GMK render looked sketchy and requires revision); GB ended 06/30/20, no revised ship date (11+ months, design not final)
Sumi - Round 3 of color matching rejected on 05/25/21; GB ended 8/15/20, no revised ship date (9+ months, still color matching)
Stealth - Round 1 color matching rejected 06/01/21; GB closed 01/16/21, no revised ship date (5+ months, still color matching)

I don't know the answers here but I see a real mismatch between supply and demand. One of those two "must" change. So the question, "when do group buys fail?" appears to be a matter of "when," not "if." And how will the business model change in the future given growth of the hobby? (Or will newcomers move on to other hobbies as COVID lockdowns are lifted?) I think there may be lessons to be learned from the clothing industry which caters to all shapes, sizes and tastes. What other business models might apply?

Offline dgneo

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Re: When do GB's fail because of GMK Lead Time?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 02 June 2021, 10:30:01 »
Do the groupbuy's really fail though? Long lead times =/= a failed group buy. Not mention people will be more than willing to throw money at the keysets when the time comes.

Could have joined the original Hyperfuse GB, which is 6 (six) years old now, and still unfinished.

Offline MIGHTY CHICKEN

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Re: When do GB's fail because of GMK Lead Time?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 02 June 2021, 10:36:42 »
Do agree that GMK's lead times are getting worse and worse. From what I've got from asking around appears they are just too overflowed with orders, they only recently got out of lockdown or still are in it(the 27th is when it should have ended or maybe still going)? New machines and stuff should be up and running late Q3 ish from what I remember in a chat with GMK or at least by the end of the year? Keycaps are also not their main business, around only 25%, but they have spent a lot more on keycaps in the new machines than otherwise was expected, something like 95,5. Hopefully, GMK can pick back up later this year.

Yes, the hobby has grown tremendously where in stock is something that may be in question, but new people also mean new vendors, new designers, and new products who usually don't have the capital or clout to start an in-stock gb. Unlike other industries where startups are backed by millionaire investors where they can keep something in stock. As it is right now, GB is still the way for most people to go and in-stock will only really happen with in-house designs made by big vendors, think Tofus, KBDFans, NK boards etc.

Offline azzipa

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Re: When do GB's fail because of GMK Lead Time?
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 02 June 2021, 10:46:23 »
Do agree that GMK's lead times are getting worse and worse.
More
From what I've got from asking around appears they are just too overflowed with orders, they only recently got out of lockdown or still are in it(the 27th is when it should have ended or maybe still going)? New machines and stuff should be up and running late Q3 ish from what I remember in a chat with GMK or at least by the end of the year? Keycaps are also not their main business, around only 25%, but they have spent a lot more on keycaps in the new machines than otherwise was expected, something like 95,5. Hopefully, GMK can pick back up later this year.

Yes, the hobby has grown tremendously where in stock is something that may be in question, but new people also mean new vendors, new designers, and new products who usually don't have the capital or clout to start an in-stock gb. Unlike other industries where startups are backed by millionaire investors where they can keep something in stock. As it is right now, GB is still the way for most people to go and in-stock will only really happen with in-house designs made by big vendors, think Tofus, KBDFans, NK boards etc.

i agree on all of this. i also want to give a (not positive) shout out to Keyreative for dismal communication and stalled manufacturing. anyone on a KAT gb knows this all too well.

other gmk keysets worthy of mention: mecha, modo light, bento and nord. and i'm sure i'm missing a few.

Offline ponchofreedo

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Re: When do GB's fail because of GMK Lead Time?
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 02 June 2021, 11:49:08 »
a lot of this also falls on the runner themselves. im not about to give gmk a pass on this one, but theres a possibility that if the runner does the upfront research for their color choices, it could assuage some concerns and prevent issues. thats not saying that it can square away any potential issues, but im sure it could go a long way.

we do want creativity and great designs, as consumers, but expectation-setting should be part of it as well.

with the gmk case, too, im sure theyre still affected by covid backlog and stalls. the demand for keysets has gone up and im sure they are trying to meet that demand. not a small ask and im sure its affecting quality. if there was a way to curtail the requests into realistic vs fantasy requests, i think it would help their queues quite a bit. unsure what the solution would be, but curious to see if they could figure something out.

Offline azzipa

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Re: When do GB's fail because of GMK Lead Time?
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 21 June 2021, 10:15:53 »
Building on my opening post: I found this interesting discord from Mechs + Co, screencap below, indicating that just getting a quote from GMK now takes 1 to 2 months. (This is specifically in reference to Monochrome v2 which has been stalled in IC.) Then it takes another month after GB ends to get an invoice! So maybe GB's don't fail, maybe new enthusiasts simply leave the hobby due to expense and/or lead times? Did we see peak keyboard coincide with CV-19 quarantines?



The other interesting dynamic I see right now is the marketing approach for recent keysets like Dualshot, Symbiote and Oblivion skipping IC and going straight into GB. Will this eventually marginalize less well-planned offerings? Maybe we'll see popular sets offered on an in-stock basis with better capitalized vendors? Or other manu's gain market share? I don't pretend to have a crystal ball however I do think the hobby could look a bit different in the future.

Re: When do GB's fail because of GMK Lead Time?
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 29 June 2021, 15:06:36 »
Now it seems the latest issue is color matching.

The issue isn't color matching, it's that now people are way more picky about getting exact colors as to what was shown in a render or the color chips. And this is a normal thing with the huge influx of people that came in 2020 with Covid as you say. So logically multiple rounds of color sampling or this new spectrometer type matching Dixie are doing takes time.

Check out GBs from when I joined GH, it really wasn't uncommon to get GMK sets that were not properly or even horribly color matched to what was shown in the IC. You still occasionally see this with people bumping really old GB threads asking for R2 and a few old timers chime in to say that do they really want another color matching disaster of this set.

Like entirely redoing the alphas and including them as a bonus set for free in Alter, something like that would be unheard of from GMK ~ 3 or 4 years ago. It would be you get what you get, don't like it sell the set. I realize that wasn't a color matching issue but GMK accidentally using the wrong chosen sample from earlier round of color matching.
« Last Edit: Tue, 29 June 2021, 15:10:27 by directheatedtriode »

Offline Madzuka

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Re: When do GB's fail because of GMK Lead Time?
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 01 July 2021, 02:28:24 »
A lot of people are mentioning that color-matching is a cause in the delays, but then you have R2 sets like Analog Dreams, and for some reason itís still set to be shipped out a year from now.

Is it too much to ask that we can all collectively find a way to alleviate the massive delays/wait times? It just puts a huge dampener on what makes building keyboards fun. Yes itís common in the hobby to have longer wait times, but itís to that point now where you buy all the parts for a new build, (especially for new people I feel bad for) and now you have to wait an entire year or more to even see the finished product. Unless you buy cheap keycaps from aliexpress or amazon. Waiting that long for plastic keycaps is so insane to me.

A lot of it is a surge in popularity over the past year + covid, but canít these manufacturers cut down on the number of new sets people commission in, as well as people agreeing not to send anymore new GBs until things become more steady? Iím sure thereís a lot more that goes on behind the scenes that I wouldnít know about, but I come on here and see like 20+ new GMK Groupbuys when things are already so clogged up, and it just makes me sad. I wish more people, especially ones with a larger audience would talk about this, maybe it would actually create a productive discussion on ideas going forward.
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Re: When do GB's fail because of GMK Lead Time?
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 01 July 2021, 14:06:10 »
A lot of people are mentioning that color-matching is a cause in the delays, but then you have R2 sets like Analog Dreams, and for some reason itís still set to be shipped out a year from now.

Is it too much to ask that we can all collectively find a way to alleviate the massive delays/wait times? It just puts a huge dampener on what makes building keyboards fun. Yes itís common in the hobby to have longer wait times, but itís to that point now where you buy all the parts for a new build, (especially for new people I feel bad for) and now you have to wait an entire year or more to even see the finished product. Unless you buy cheap keycaps from aliexpress or amazon. Waiting that long for plastic keycaps is so insane to me.

A lot of it is a surge in popularity over the past year + covid, but canít these manufacturers cut down on the number of new sets people commission in, as well as people agreeing not to send anymore new GBs until things become more steady? Iím sure thereís a lot more that goes on behind the scenes that I wouldnít know about, but I come on here and see like 20+ new GMK Groupbuys when things are already so clogged up, and it just makes me sad. I wish more people, especially ones with a larger audience would talk about this, maybe it would actually create a productive discussion on ideas going forward.

The year long delay is the production queue wait time (which I think is optimistic, I bet it's at least another several months extra), color matching is adding several months on top of that. You don't have to settle for Aliexpress or other low quality keycaps, GMK WoB is always in stock on Amazon from Drop.

I don't think people are going to come together to collectively agree to stop putting up GMK IC/GBs, the money creators make off them is just too good.
« Last Edit: Thu, 01 July 2021, 14:07:46 by directheatedtriode »

Offline Sup

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Re: When do GB's fail because of GMK Lead Time?
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 02 July 2021, 18:07:38 »
When your average Joe can just put colors together and pay someone 50 bucks for renders and lets face it all GB's make it if your set is okay.  They only represent the idea and let the vendors do rest of the work like contacting GMK, payment to GMK , Send the sets to the buyers and the average Joe get a cut of each set that is easy money right, so now there are like 20000 GMK sets IC and 10000 GB's every week. I am not surprised GMK is that backed up when there are just people that want to make easy money.

So i won't see the lead times go down but, buyers moving towards other key-cap manufactures like CRP, JTK, Signature plastic etc to make there set since the lead times are a few months instead of 1+ year.

 
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