News

Production and Distribution Update

News

Here are the numbers we can share on phone distribution. We’ll be posting updates every working day. We’ll only give updates on how many phones have been shipped.

31 January: Update 24

All first batch phones shipped! Thank you all for the immense patience and support!

Laura and Bas at Warehouse

Bas and Laura at the warehouse in Tilburg, NL. It’s empty!

30 January: Update 23

Shipped to buyers Wednesday: 1,122 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 23,439 phones

Photos in tomorrow’s update!

29 January: Update 22

Shipped to buyers Tuesday: 993 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 22,317 phones

Last shipment of phones at the distribution center in Tilburg!

28 January: Update 21

Shipped to buyers Monday: 1,037 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 21,324 phones

Last shipment of phones on its way from China to Tilburg!

27 January: Update 20

Shipped to buyers Friday: 1,145 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 20,287 phones

Last shipment of phones on its way from China to Tilburg!

24 January: Update 19

Shipped to buyers Thursday: 1,350 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 19,142 phones

Shipment at Tilburg distribution center: 3,360 phones

Notes:

We will have no new updates over the weekend. On Monday, we will have the numbers from Friday’s shipment. Pleasant weekend, all!

23 January: Update 18

Shipped to buyers Wednesday: 1,116 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 17,792 phones

Another shipment arrived today from China to Tilburg: 3,360 phones

Notes:

Considering we are shipping 24,000 phones until we are finished the first batch delivery (1,000 go to Dutch carrier KPN), that means including today, Thursday 23 January, we have about 6,208 phones left to ship.

The distribution center is preparing for greater capacity on Monday when the last shipment is expected to arrive for delivery to buyers. Our partners at the distribution center are trying to ship all phones out of their distribution center by Thursday, 30 Jan. So buyers can use this as a frame of reference to determine the shipping time from the Netherlands to their homes.


22 January: Update 17

Shipped to buyers Tuesday: 961 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 16,676 phones

Another shipment leaves China today: 3,360 phones

21 January: Update 16

Shipped to buyers Monday: 691 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 15,715 phones
How many phones assembled total: 24,844

Shipment from China arrived today at Tilburg: 2,240 phones

Notes:

As you see, the amount of phones shipped per day lately has been less than the expected 1,000-2,000 we announced in our Buyers’ Update newsletter. The current estimate is more realistic projected at 500-1,000 phones shipped per day. The current trajectory we’re working with means the final batch shipment of phones will start shipping from the distribution center on Tuesday 28 January. However, please keep in mind this distribution and shipping is dependent on the work at the distribution center – giving some buffer room would mean shipping could continue through the week until 31 January.

20 January: Update 15

Shipped to buyers Friday: 660 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 15,024 phones
How many phones assembled total: 24,400

Another shipment left China last night, expected to arrive in Tilburg tomorrow: 2,240 phones

17 January: Update 14

Shipped to buyers Thursday: 792 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 14,364 phones
How many phones assembled total: 24,074

Shipment arrived today from China to Tilburg: 2,240 phones

Notes:

Although most all phones of the first batch have been assembled, those still in China are awaiting back covers. These are being held back because of the initial explanation from this 30 December blog post.

We will not have any updates over the weekend. Monday we will have updated numbers from Friday/the weekend and give a projected outlook on the final steps of shipment!

16 January: Update 13

Shipped to buyers Wednesday: 969 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 13,572 phones

How many phones assembled total: 24,074

Shipment on its way from China to Europe: 2,240 phones

15 January: Update 12

Shipped to buyers Tuesday: 468 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 12,603 phones

How many phones assembled total: 24,074

Next shipment sent today from China to Europe: 2,240 phones

Notes:

The distribution center had a low distribution/delivery yesterday, because they did not have enough stock ready to distribute and ship. The batch of 2,240 phones only arrived in Tilburg yesterday afternoon once they started shipping at that time.

Today and tomorrow the remaining stock of phones in Tilburg, about 1,800, will be shipped. The quantity of these shipments from China (after today’s 2,240 shipment) should increase in the next few deliveries to maintain a steady stock at the distribution center.


14 January: Update 11

Shipped to buyers Monday: 1,087 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 12,135 phones

How many phones assembled total: 23,500

Next shipment arrived today to distribution center: 2,240 phones

Notes:

All phones of the “limited edition” delivery who ordered before June 14 should now be shipped as of yesterday, so at the latest should have received a tracking number today. (Yes, little milestone we can celebrate together!). One exception: a very small amount of individuals (around 10) had issues with their given address which made it not possible to ship their package – the address given was a packstation which is not compatible with the GLS system, and we’ve contacted these individuals.

If you ordered your phone before June 14 and have not yet received a tracking number via e-mail, please write support@fairphone.com. We’ll help you the best we can.

The distribution center still aims to ship 1,500-2,000 phones per day, but over the weekend there was a gap while phones from China were making their make to Tilburg and have arrived today.

13 January: Update 10

Phones continue shipping today! We will have these numbers at the end of the day – we will post them to this blog Tuesday morning.

Phones are sent by GLS on Saturday (depending on location), but the distribution center does not work on weekends. So, we don’t have new numbers from the weekend. Until tomorrow, when we’ll have Monday’s numbers.

How many phones assembled total: 23,500

11 January: Update 9 (*apologies for late update)

Shipped to buyers Friday: 1,931 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 11,048 phones

How many phones assembled total: 22,300

10 January: Update 8

Shipped to buyers Thursday: 2,132 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 9,117 phones

How many phones assembled total: 22,150

Next batch leaves China to Europe on 12 January: 2,240 phones

Notes:
Luckily, the distribution center reached a little over the expected 2,000 phones per day on Thursday. Some “limited edition” phones still need to be shipped, because we’re waiting for the cases to be packaged with them before shipping. We hope these to go out on Monday (GLS shipping still continues on Saturday, but the distribution center in Tilburg does not). In the meantime, some phones purchased after June 14 will already be shipped. Tomorrow, we will have an update on how many phones were shipped today. Have a nice weekend!

9 January: Update 7

Shipped to buyers Wednesday: 1,413 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 6,985 phones

As of today: around 2,215 remaining in Tilburg distribution center.
Today, 3,325 phones will arrive in Tilburg from Dutch customs.

Next batch leaves China to Europe on 12 January: 2,240 phones

How many phones assembled total: 22,150

Notes:

Update from the distribution center in Tilburg: Estimations of phones shipped from Tilburg need to be lowered to around 1,500 phones per day. To process all phones (packaging and distributing) in one day would require hiring extra staff and would in turn present a gap of work until the next delivery. This method decided by the distribution center ensures that people trained to work on the Fairphone lines work continuously until the next shipment, and will occur until the final big delivery, which should come in a bigger batch and can be handled in a shorter amount of time.

According to our original schedule, we estimated the “2nd delivery” of post-June 14 buyers would have their phones leave the factory 10 January (and begin distribution 15 January). Now, our estimate is that some of these 2nd delivery phones will already be distributed and shipped from Tilburg starting Monday. But the entire shipping process of the 2nd delivery group will be spread out, so the end date will be a few days later than originally planned. Again, we will provide you with update on each shipment as they leave the factory.

8 January: Update 6

Shipped to buyers Tuesday: 1,688 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 5,572 phones

As of today: around 2,100 remaining in Tilburg distribution center.
Today 1,600 phones will arrive in Tilburg from Dutch customs.

Next batch from China is (still) on its way to Europe: 3,325 phones

Phones assembled total: 20,656

Notes:

Yesterday, we expected the distribution center to ship around 2,000 phones. We were close but didn’t make that because Tuesday’s packages were mostly exports (which require special invoices to be printed) and that takes more time. Today they will ship the remaining section.

The 1,600 phones have finished their check at customs and we expect them to arrive at the distribution center today.


7 January: Update 5

Shipped to buyers Monday: 1,312 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 3,884 phones

As of today: 3,716 remaining in Tilburg distribution center (plus another 1,600 soon to arrive out of Dutch customs)

As we said earlier, beginning Monday, the distribution center has been working at full force and have now added a line to distribution to handle the inventory.

Next batch from China is on its way to Europe, scheduled to arrive 9 Jan: 3,325 phones

How many phones assembled total: 19,456 (around 7,031 are waiting for back covers and will be shipped on a rolling basis)

Notes:

There will be an extra line added at the distribution center in the Netherlands starting 7 January. Because of this added workforce, they predict in the coming days to be able to distribute 2,000 phones per day.

Please keep in mind that once the package leaves the distribution center, unfortunately we no longer are in control of delivery while it’s with GLS and their tracking number. Once you receive your tracking notification, you can expect your package between 2-5 working days. If you believe the shipment has taken longer than that based on your track and trace number, please inform us at support@fairphone.com and we’ll bring your case to GLS.

Finally, we are updating this blog with the numbers as we receive them – we’re giving you as much information as we can. We want to be open and admit that these logistics make it a more difficult and unclear delivery process than we had hoped, and we’re sorry for that. We’ve been hit with a few setbacks (like the back cover delay) that disrupt the planned delivery logistics, as well as many exceptions with buyers’ delivery details, for example with those with a change of address. Thanks for bearing with us! If you’d like, give us a call (+31 20 557 98 55) or e-mail when you’re worried, we’ll give you an answer and have a nice chat.

6 January: Update 4

Phones continue shipping today! However, we can only announce how many phones are shipped after the final amount of phones have been released from the distribution center and are taken by GLS. At that point, tracking notifications are sent out.

From that moment, Fairphone buyers can expect to receive the package 2-5 working days after this notification e-mail. We know it’s frustrating, but once the package is taken by GLS; it’s out of our hands, unfortunately. Tomorrow (Tuesday, 7 Jan) we’ll give more numbers. Thanks for your patience!

3 January: Update 3

Shipped to buyers today: 572 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 2,572 phones

As of today: 5,028 remaining in Tilburg distribution center (including the batch of phones (3,360) that arrived from Chongqing today)

Beginning Monday, the distribution center will be working at full force as the holidays are over.

2 January: Update 2

We’ve just received a notification from GLS. Not good news. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that no packages have been sent to our buyers in Switzerland. This occurred because something (administration and customs) went wrong at GLS, including the downtime of the holidays and an issue of being understaffed.

We’ll post here the quote directly from an e-mail from the Manager of International Services, GLS:

“We’re very sorry to inform you that your export packages to Switzerland are not handled yet. We can ensure this is an incident and will not happen again. Our apologies.”

We are upset with this situation, and we’re following up with GLS to make sure the rest of the shipments run smoothly. GLS has informed us that they will make sure that the customs processing will be carried out as soon as possible. Because of this, Swiss customers will not receive their packages before (at the earliest) 8 January. This may answer some concerns by early buyers from Switzerland who have not yet received their phones.

We’re very sorry with this disappointing news, and we will continue to post updates here as we receive them.

2 January: Update 1

Shipped to buyers today: 552 phones
Shipped to buyers in total: 2,000 phones (141 were shipped Tuesday)

As of today: 2,240 remaining in Tilburg distribution center
*This is among the 2,933 scheduled to ship this past Monday and Tuesday but remain at distribution center as explained below

Phones left Chongqing to go to Tilburg: 3,360

Description and Expectations:
As a result of capacity at the distribution center in Tilburg (yes, the lovely holidays) fewer phones than normal are packed and shipped to Fairphone buyers this week during the holiday season. Beginning Monday, they will be working at full force as the holidays are over, which means that they can send more phones per day. It’s bad timing, but we expected to receive our bulk shipment before these holidays. However, the back cover delay mentioned in the post below caused us to ship directly in the middle of the busy holiday season.

Original post of 30 December:

I want to get straight to the point. It pains me to have to announce a further delay for the first batch. I wish I could give better news, but we’re going to need more days to get all the phones from the first batch (11,000) to you. We want to be clear and keep out any fluff, so here’s an outline of our current production distribution outlook:

  1. 1,307 phones have left the distribution center since 24 December.
  2. 693 phones (of the first 2,000) were held back on the 24th to be shipped along with their protective cases.
  3. 2,933 phones are on their way today and tomorrow to you (this number includes those 693 phones).
  4. Phone’s back cover has a delay of a few days. A little over 6,500 phones of the first batch will be delayed by 4-7 days.
  5. 15,000 phones have been manufactured and assembled so far.
  6. The last phones of the first batch of 11,000 start shipping from the Netherlands by 6 January.

The second batch is still on schedule based on our previous production blog post, but of course it is dependent on the many factors we outline here.

From now on, we are going to start communicating daily updates on this blog to include as much information as we know.

Why further delay?

1. Protective Case

The cases from our supplier, Miniwiz, in Taiwan also arrive in our distribution center in batches. This means that we might have your phone, but are waiting for the casing to be able to ship these to you. This explains why some people who were among the first 1,000 buyers received their phones a little later. We wanted to surprise Fairphone buyers with a pre-Christmas delivery, but that meant delaying delivery of some phones that had been ordered with cases.

2. Phone’s Back Cover

The schedule was to start shipping from the Netherlands the entire first batch of 11,000 phones on the 28th of December. The phones were in fact ready to leave China, but we had to delay shipping due to a situation with the back covers. Upon final inspection, there was a high amount of unacceptable cosmetic errors on the back covers, which meant that not all phones could be shipped.

Holding back the phones was decided late Friday night (27 Dec), which made it difficult to communicate this to you earlier. Since then, we have taken measures to see how we can still get a steady flow of phones to start shipping. A new batch starts shipping today, Monday 30 December.

3. Other things that could have an influence on the delivery schedule going forward:

  • Quality issues. All components get checked when they arrive at the factory and every phone goes through quality control when it comes off the line. Fairphone’s project manager at the factory then does a random check (this is when we found cosmetic mistakes).
  • Customs clearance
  • Holidays! Christmas and New Year’s
  • And transportation schedules

Delivery: Current Distribution

We’ve decided to start shipping from China in smaller and more frequent batches, which means that 2,933 phones (plus casings) will be shipped today and tomorrow and the next 3,360 are expected to ship from the distribution center on the 3rd of January.

That means: around 7,000 phones will have a delay of 4 to 7 days based on our previous  distribution schedule.

So, here’s a projected run of what you can expect from us on a daily basis. We’ll make these updates at the top of this post:

Daily updates begin: 30 December
Shipped to buyers so far: 1,307 phones
Shipped to buyers with casings today: 693 phones
Shipped to buyers as of tomorrow: 2,240 phones
Expected next arrival of phones in the Netherlands distribution center: 2 January – 3360

Delivery Policy

We want to reiterate that we are sending phones according to purchasing dates: that means first come, first serve.

Crowdfunding Model

Lastly, we are trying the best we can. We know that this is disappointing and we want to thank all of you for your incredible patience. It’s been a long time for some of our buyers who have been waiting for this phone since May and June. We’ve talked to many experienced people who deal with production and delivery issues, and unfortunately delays are part of the game. The difference is that we’ve got you waiting, and please know that we feel this pressure every day.

A crowdfunded model means that delays become transparent to backers – as opposed to models that don’t offer buyers timelines because products are sold off the shelf after they have been delivered. The wait is frustrating and the experience is different, but please remember that we have all invested in a different way of doing business. We’ll all have to evaluate at the end of January whether this is indeed the way to go.

We hear all your comments and questions coming in through the various channels and it’s painful to hear that the delivery schedule is causing many of you to lose trust in our mission. Just so you know, we are not dancing around the office celebrating this milestone after a year of hard work. But are in fact quite sad to have to communicate another delay and are doing everything we can to get these phones to you as quickly as possible. We know that we’ve got great Fairphone buyers who didn’t just put money, but also their faith in Fairphone.

We want to keep you posted as much as possible, but the truth is that delays are often unexpected and not always the most transparent process between our production partner, parcel service providers, and sub-suppliers. This means that sometimes we need to process information before we can send it out. We will try to keep information short and to the point and update you as much as possible going forward, so please check back to this blog post as we add daily updates on the distribution schedule.

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