Hi my name is Dave Lomax and I'm one of the two directors of Adventure Spec.
I'm writing this piece today for three reasons. Firstly to apologise, secondly to explain and thirdly to ask you all to share a little love... let me begin.
Chris and I are very proud of the reputation that the last 13 years of trading with Adventure Spec has created. We hope that you think we are knowledgeable about what we sell, that our products can be trusted and that they represent good value for money. We also hope that you see us as a part of the community we serve and you know that we always try to treat our customers in the same way that we would like to be treated ourselves (in fact, we meet too many of you on the trails to survive for very long if we didn't!).
Prior to this year we always tried to operate on the basis of having as much of our advertised website product in stock as possible, we provided accurate stock information when we didn't and we shipped pretty much anywhere in the world as fast as we could.
However, recently things have been very different we'd like to apologise for that.
For those of you who have experienced long delays to receive product over the last 9 months we are sorry.
For those of you who have received inaccurate stock information over the last 9 months, again please accept my own heartfelt apology.
I can't tell you the amount of times that I have written the word 'Sorry' over the last 9 months and how bad it feels to have to let down riders going away on day rides, weeks holidays and RTW trips. I know exactly what that disappointment feels like. I have been there.
So, to the second part of this post. I think you all deserve some explanation of why this has happened.
An explanation... and I'm going to be very honest.
There are two basic issues here. Brexit and Covid19.
Adventure Spec has supplied Motorcycle products and clothing to over 60 countries a year for as long as I can remember. We have done this all from our small warehouse in the centre of the UK, where we had a tightly knit team creating the media content you tell us that you love, packing the product you bought and replying to the calls you made. It was a great system, it was exactly how we wanted to work and we loved it.
However, with 6 weeks to go until Brexit and still without any knowledge of how much it will cost (or even how we will) bring product into the country and then ship it out to our worldwide customer base, our decisions to make significant changes to that system early in the Brexit process have been vindicated. I doubt we would have survived 6 months into 2021 looking at current likely Brexit outcomes with our old business model.
We began a transformation early in 2019 to enable us to survive any likely Brexit outcomes and that finally ramped up to major changes occurring throughout 2020 in readiness for Brexit, Day 1, 1st January 2021... However, like everyone else the changes we got were not the ones that we expected...
In the middle of a hugely complex changeover of warehouse facilities, staffing and IT systems (which, were already pushing us beyond our limits) Covid19 struck and the world has not been the same since.
In the last 9 months we have experienced delays everywhere we have worked. Staffing, raw materials, transport... the list goes on.
And like so many others we have also experienced personal tragedy (our thoughts are with those of you in similar positions).
If you think of the supply chain as an upside down tree (all of the pieces of a single product working their way down from tree top to root to make a single product) that probably gives you some idea of the amount of individual items that go into something as simple looking as a Jacket.
As an example lets take a waterproof shell. You have to produce the chemicals, then blend them and make the yarn, then supply different yarns and membranes to a weavers for them to make and laminate the various layers of fabric before finishing and dyeing takes place, then a roll of fabric ships to a factory together with zips, reflective strip, toggles, pullers, labels, over banding... the list goes on. And the factory then makes the jacket. At each point every piece of the finished jacket has to be transported somewhere before it finally lands with us and we ship it to you.
You (our customer) and Adventure Spec are the last links in this massively complex chain. And if there is a single delay anywhere... then the process stops.
Covid19 has affected almost every part of this process, we've seen government mandated shutdowns, velcro shortages, staffing issues, shipping container handler delays, welding supply issues, paint shortages, the list goes on... and like us, no one seems to have enough staff available and when they do, no team seems to be in one place long enough to make quick decisions about anything.
Our best suppliers forecast the effects of these problems on their supply chain well and let us know in good time when they can. Other suppliers guess, leaving us providing repeatedly inaccurate information to our customers through a partly finished IT system (suffering from a lack of 'Covid Free' technical support and development).
And this situation is seemingly the same everywhere.
Tyre containers are stuck on ships in Rotterdam without crane operators to move them, we can't get Velcro from Korea, Aluminium welding rods are like hens teeth for our hard parts, the USA is in a particularly difficult Covid phase and we can't get fuel tanks, or the particular expert we need to help us with our new website (so that it stops giving out incorrect stock information) can't be found anywhere.
I'm sure you've all seen this not only related to your AS order (I'm guessing that's why you are here), but to many other aspects of your life too, and that brings me to my third point.
We're asking for a little love...
Not just for us, but for everyone. These are difficult times for us all. It's hard to know how other people's lives have been affected by these issues. I'm sure most of you would be as horrified as we were by some of responses from our own community when we couldn't supply something like a tail tidy for their CRF450L... but, shouting personal abuse back down a phone won't solve anyone's problem and will usually only make a bad day worse.
Let's all try to be patient and above all kind to each other. You never know who might need that little extra positive energy and if you bother to ask the question you'll usually find that the person you are talking to is as disappointed as you that they can't supply when you need.
Finally, I promise you that we are doing all we can, with anyone we can, to resolve Website issues, supply issues and transportation problems (as well as changing the way we do business...) and we are doing all of this so that we can serve you better.
All we want is for you to see a product on our website, know exactly when you can have it, get it delivered and go riding. It sounds so simple doesn't it! If that doesn't happen for you for a few more months, please know that it's not because our industry doesn't care or because we aren't all trying our hardest to get you back out on the trails.
Take care out there, we hope to be back out riding soon!