A sincere apology – and the road ahead

A sincere apology – and the road ahead

The latest months has been full of hard work, days starting at 5AM and ending at 2AM.
One problem in November caused ripple-effects far in to February.
Edited 2019-02-21: Since i wrote this article the support emails increased a bit – they will all be replied to before the weekend! Parcels are going out by the hundreds every day!

To all customers who have been affected in one way or another, with delayed deliveries, re-sent shipments or other problems with the orders – i´m truly sorry for your experience, and for you still having a issue or waiting – i will do everything in my power to fulfill your order the quickest way possible!

What happened

In November i started to get a high number of delayed and lost parcels, i noticed a increase of orders getting stuck at the Swedish distribution center before leaving the country.
A normal month there is less than 1% lost parcels, we have seen 15-18% up to January and it was rather strange with almost all lost and delayed parcels contained mirrors or electronic boards.
Our courier found out that parcels that got lost was doing this at similar time every day, it´s still a ongoing process with the Police but the information i got so far was that someone working at the X-ray department stole parcels that looked like they contained coins, money or expensive electronics. Lenses and mirrors with the special chemical coating looks like gold coins in a X-ray machine. Since January the amount of lost parcels has gone down to normal levels again.

This caused other problems, most parcels was sent again, was paid for one product, but sent two and paid shipping twice – and our courier wants 90 days to investigate a complaint – which we have 162 of right now to a total value of 18000 Euros.
With the 18000 Euros in parcels being investigated, we shipped new products or refunded the customer which lead to 18000 Euro more to be spent, and at the same time missing double of the products from stock for other customers to buy.
This hit was really hard, as my store was very small with a median of 5000 Euro per month in sales, i had to take money from my own pocket to solve all problems, and even that wasn´t enough which led to more delays and a lot of refunds.
At the same time the store exploded, from 40-50 orders per month to 500 over the time of November and December – i spent every day packing parcels and tried to keep up with the increasing amount of problems.
Cash flow went up – and expenses doubled at the same time for many orders which lead to less refill of parts, and more going out than in.

A small picture showing the order growth

What´s done to improve and prevent

I´m a single father with two kids on full time, one with ADHD/Autism which made me stay at home some days – or abort the work day and go to the school to pick up my kid when he had a bad day – which happens a lot.
I took the decision to move everything to my home so i could work, pack orders and do stuff no matter if i needed to be at home available for my children or not, which is why the store closed for three weeks late January, now i can still pack orders or work as usual even with kids at home on a regular work day.


New systems to keep track of orders, tasks and communication better – now we have everything in one place and a support request that took 10 minutes to dig up info about – now takes less than a minute.


Better inventory solutions, with automatic systems reading sales and orders to prevent us from going out of stock – this needs more time to learn the patterns but i´m sure it will help out in the future with less products out of stock than earlier.


Quicker solutions for packing orders, when a order is done the shipping is booked and ready in the printer every day – time from order print to a ready parcel has been cut in half.


More logic solutions to what is kept where on the shelf – easier to find with SKU numbers on the boxes and the packing is quicker than ever before. Still have some issues but it´s already so much better solution.


More parts in backup – if something needs to be shipped again there is always a buffert of parts for these happenings – if something has 10 in stock, only 7 are available in the store to prevent any problems if something needs to be replaced – this was one of the main problems earlier with me had to send replacements and then ran out of parts to new customers, or new customers got their parts but the replacement for a older order was out of stock – in both ways a customer had to wait and it´s unacceptable.

Parts, parts and parts – early picture while building the new parts-room at my home

Store support from now on

No more Facebook – this was key to save time and put the time where it solved issues quicker.
When i started the parts store it was easy to talk to customers on messenger but it quickly got out of hand with the increase of questions and discussions – in the beginning of February i had 170 unread messenger chats from site visitors, customers and users wanted information about products or help with their machine – it was just not possible to reply to them all – so i removed messenger from the phone completely.
Facebook is convenient for communication but for me it was really hard to remember who i spoke to, who said what, when and what the order contained or even what someone said. And keeping a note down on everything communicated to customers was a nightmare to keep track of as many users also sent a email – making me work double for the same question.
Most of the time when i was online on Facebook was at home where i didn´t have any information about orders made, shipped or their status at all.

From now on the only channel for discussions about previous orders or their status is through support@k40laser.se with emails replied to Monday to Friday.
Feel free to contact me on Facebook to discuss your laser machine, upgrades or tweaks you have done – love to see what you are doing!
The server containing the ticket system was damaged in the move from the old shop to the new location – tickets older than Feb. 4th is not recovered at the moment – they will be, but currently there will be quicker to just send a new email if you havent got a reply to a previous ticket.
I now have help with a friend to reply to tickets regarding order statuses and similar, so i can focus on the laser stuff.

The future

I have learned a great deal with the latest months experience – looking back it´s always easy to point on stuff and think it should be solved different that it was – but i think that would have been the issue no matter what approach i took at the time.
Analyzing the past 4-5 months there has been delays and problems for 30-40% of all orders which is at least a zero too much – totally unacceptable.
Today 90% of all orders are shipped within 24hrs – my goal is to ship 100% within the same day for orders made before 2pm and every day now is a step closer to reaching that goal.
A record was set Thursday with a order arriving at 13.43 and was packed and left at the sorting center 14.05 – this is the service i´m aiming on – for all orders!
February is so far the best month with least delays since September and with all the changes, new systems and help i´m sure this will even out very soon.
Something very new for the spring is a UK distribution location. We got the new company in place in the UK and now investigating a solution for our parts. This will allow for very quick delivery from the UK warehouse and with cheaper shipping to the customers in UK and Ireland.

The future is looking good and i can see the lights in the tunnel – and it´s not a train this time!

If you currently have a order waiting and want to cancel, change something or need information – send a email to support@k40laser.se – i always have and always will be accepting refunds and have done so for 100% of the requests.

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Comments (16)

  • Gregory H Muller Reply

    Thanks for the explanation Hakan. Good luck going forward, I’m sure your changes will be fruitful. I received your inquiry regarding my lost or delayed order, and replied. I’m not in a hurry, so I don’t mind the delay. I still want the items, since your mods receive such good reviews.
    Good luck and God bless!
    Gregory Muller.

    2019-02-17 at 19:24
  • Travis Pike Reply

    HP, Kudos to you for this clear and honest outreach and communication. I’m amazed that you were able to absorb the impact of the theft, and the challenges of a small business to deal with such a situation. I’ve been reluctant to start many of my own small business ideas for fear of these exact scenarios. I haven’t ordered from you yet, but I am a fan, and hope you can make this work… for your own prosperity and the benefit of all of us. Cheers, and good luck. Your hard work is appreciated.

    2019-02-18 at 06:12
  • Fran Reply

    Sorry you have such bad Luck with that theft and also have to take for Your children aspecially with ADHD autisme , i have Some in my family and know they are very difficult
    To handle.
    Facebook is à nightmare, iT takes al of Your usefull time and have to much time wasted, i also find out and NOw i online use email and check iT every day more direct contact with people.

    One thing…. Back-up,Back-up, Back-up, Your in deep shit when Your orders are gone with à
    Crashed system.
    But NOw to the point,you mailde me à couple of weeks ago that the parts for my order where complete, so why do you not send the order,im still waiting and Get no response to my mails????
    Please answer.

    Best regards,

    2019-02-20 at 03:39
    • HP Persson Reply

      Sorry for the trouble, i can´t find a ticket from you – please send a email directly to hp@k40laser.se instead and i´ll check it out right away. Your´s might have been one of the corrupted. Our hosting provider is working on fixing old tickets and returning them to the system.

      2019-02-21 at 06:10
  • Fred Heim Reply

    Hats off to you. Your plate is certainly full. Never occurred to me that Xray images could look like coins.
    Keep up the good work. Gotta find time to spend more time with my k40, just got a camera fitted but have not had time to go thru the setup and calibration.
    Thanks for being here.
    Fred

    2019-02-20 at 05:25
  • fran Reply

    Hello,

    I’ve just mailed you on hp@k40laser.se ,like last week(No response) and hope to get an
    answer to my question when do you finally send my order who i already payed.
    I see no other way to get to you then this last option and that everyone can read this, but
    i’m tired of being neglected.

    Hopefully now i get an answer to my simple question.

    I don’t like to be so pushy but you leave me no choice!

    Fran,

    2019-02-26 at 22:51
    • HP Persson Reply

      Your order was shipped last Thursday, i´ll push out the tracking-id email once more!

      2019-02-25 21:29
      Netherlands, The shipment item has arrived at the country of destination.

      2019-02-26 at 22:55
      • fran Reply

        Hello,

        Nice of you to answer,thank you, but i didn’t get a mail with that tracking number?? nor that the order was send last thursday.
        If all is write then i should get my order this week, perfect.

        Again thanks,

        2019-02-26 at 23:05
        • HP Persson Reply

          Check your email now, i pushed it once more.

          2019-02-26 at 23:07
          • fran

            I’ve received your mail and tracking number, who does the the delivery?

            2019-02-26 at 23:24
          • HP Persson

            Local state/country post in your country. You can also track it on http://www.postnord.se/en

            2019-02-26 at 23:26
  • fran Reply

    Thank you

    2019-02-26 at 23:36
  • johnmckeown49 Reply

    Thanks for the latest update. I hope things are starting to come together for you and the shop.
    Can I ask, what do I do if there is no answer to my ticket at the support email?

    2019-04-25 at 18:54
    • HP Persson Reply

      Send me a email at hp@k40laser.se and i´ll have a look. This week is a bit slow due to easter holidays but email to that one and i´ll catch up soon. The support ticket system is replaced this weekend by the new provider to completely solve all issues lurking around in the old one with lost ticket, blocked emails and what not.

      2019-04-26 at 05:41
  • Neil Scott Reply

    I have just read this site from back to front and inside out and you worry me, it sounds like that you are in that difficult phase between being a small business and out of your success you have grown demonstrably as all little business can do and you might have been in a position and lost part control of your company. This is a common feature in small high tec successful businesses, cash flow, employees, orders, transports and service. It’s tough trying to do it all on your own.

    I was like this 20 years ago and could not find help so I stood to the left and moved to Spain with my family and have been very happy since that time although now my kids have grown up and moved on it is time for me to look further afield for work, I can play all day with my gadgets but I choose not to, I need a challenge.

    I love that you have told your customers what is happening, it’s important, your customers will appreciate the effort you have made to rectify the situation, most people wouldn’t, they would hide, it’s important I have found to be upfront in parts of your business, involve your customers, empower them. It can only do you good.

    I understand the issues with the children, my wife is a teacher and a special needs co-ordinator and regularly and sadly it would seem that the children that come to the international schools here in Spain there always seems to be a percentage of those that suffer from ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and one of Tracy’s toughest jobs is to sit down with the parent’s and discuss her findings. It is very brave of you to tell us your story and me for one I can empathise with you.

    Its bloody tough out there, you have a product and a store and you have found a market that no others have, I urge caution and make sure that you have time set aside for yourself and your Kids. They are the most important thing in your life right now and they need you.

    Although I dont own a K$0 I very nearly did, My problem was I had no one to turn to for advice and I did not know of this site despite extensive research for some reason you did not appear anywhere in my findings, had you I would have got a Laser from you, instead I ended up purchasing a 8.5 watt diode laser from George fomitchev and Endurance Lasers. Its brilliant and exceeds my expectations but his business I felt was in the same precarious position of beeing so successful you can not cope with the orders. George uses facebook in a different way, there are a lot of us who head up his facebook group and we are all moderators on the site and we end up helping each other out. George does post most days and I do not know how he manages to do it, we have over 2000 plus members now and growing by 10 a day every day. George has implemented a postage deal with DHL, a flat rate for everything sent from Russia. I wonder if this would help you, as an extensive user of eaby and I wonder if the route is to take your shop onto ebay and a buy it now scheme, joing the global shipping program and let them handle everything for you, if the product does not arrive, its covered by them, all you do its get it to the nearest GSP. the rest is done by them . If might mean a hike in prices to cover the costs but I am sure this will help you in the short to long term to breathe and find your fee. i use ebay to sell old tech and it works well, yes you have to pay, yes they make money but so do you and youre back is always covered, your dealing with people who have paypal accounts, your products are covered and the buyer gets protection for his money and you will not find yourself at the wolves door. I was very impressed. the other day I put in a small order and now its on its way to me already, I saw that you were on holiday and did not expect to see anything for a couple of weeks and I am happy with that. You communicated to me professionally and that is all I ask for , information. It’s the route to power and answers your questions. take care and remember at all time, this is your passion, clearly you have turned it into a great business but always make sure you have a work life balance and you are happy always otherwise it will suck you in.. Facebook is a nasty Virus, appoint long term members to moderator positions, empower them to help you and you will find a lot of pressure come off, Facebook just eats you up and wastes your time, it’s great for us as we are looking for help and we can chat and post but while you are posting you are not earning money. let the group run itself and your favorite supporters will take it over and help you recover, you may have gone down this route already, I dont know, all I know is what George did and what I did myself and stopped using it for all personal use, I just use it to disseminate information and occasionally pop up a offer, George does this with giveaways and it’s a great idea to self publicise the group and his range of products by offering goodies to the members who post on every social network site out there, right across the spectrum, the more you post the more chances you win, he does this once and month and following this we get a massive surge in new members. My next laser will be a K40 and I know where I will come to get it, I wish you and your family the greatest success and I am sure once you manage a work life balance you will be able to sit back and tick this off that list. I am always around for free advice, I am knows as the “goto”man this side of Barcelona and in 20 years of living in Spain and coming from a board level before there is little that has not crossed my path then and in the last 20 years. ( this is part of the reason i reduced my facebook involvement, I didn’t like having emails/messages addressed to me as this type of person and when I was getting 10 to 20 a day it needed to be controlled, my wife and I sat down and chatted and that night I pulled the plug on everything apart from my hobbies, facebook is a fantastic medium but it sucks you in it you let it, it controls your life, people won’t leave you alone and well I needed to back away before i imploded! I have had a fantastic last 30 days…..

    2019-07-07 at 16:29
    • HP Persson Reply

      Thank you for the insights. I actually follow Endurance lasers, they are doing a brilliant job! The latest months we had fixed all shipping issues and have a 24hr shipping guarantee now, well, july 5th to end of july its 48hrs due to summer vacation but still less than 0.1% of the parcels going out has problems. We recently took in a investment to expand even more and have other people handling support around parcels and orders – so i can do what i´m good at 🙂

      Some people like me being open with info, others think i´m blowing smoke up their ass, i actually stopped a while back but most users actually want the transparent info – if there is i problem, i say do and together with the customer we can work out the next step(s).
      Now with UK and Germany warehouses they will do all shipping for orders closer than Sweden, so it´s a relieve of a lot of work too on my end.

      Thank you for nice reading and good wishes!

      2019-07-07 at 16:49

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