Earlier this year I wrote a post titled Where is My Librem 5? where I went into detail about some of the challenges (in particular in the supply chain) that we faced in making the mass-produced Librem 5. If you haven’t yet read that article, I highly recommend it so you have more background on our Librem 5 production challenges. Understanding that will help you understand this post better.
The main purpose of that article was to give a general status report on where we are, and where we intended to go to finish shipping everyone their Librem 5. In particular I identified three different production batches (E3, E4, and E5) that were necessary to complete all outstanding orders, and shared our internal goal to try to fulfill all of the orders by the end of the year. While we haven’t met that goal in that time frame, many people have received their Librem 5, and we are well on our way. In this post I will give an update on where we are currently and what the next few months will look like for Librem 5 fulfillment.
Before I get into the Librem 5 status, I did want to give a brief update on another service that had caused delays in some orders. Over the last few months we have had a number of challenges with our AweSIM cellular service due to our upstream network provider actually declaring bankruptcy with no warning and leaving us (and our customers) without service! We had to scramble to find a new network provider which is a long story of ups and downs better told in its own update. In any case, we did have some Librem 5 and Librem 5 USA orders that included AweSIM or SIMple plans that were held up until we could restore service. I’m happy to say that we have finally not only found a new network, with this new network we have been able to expand our data plans so that SIMple now offers 4Gb data a month and SIMple Plus 10Gb. We have been restoring service to our existing customers and shipping orders that were on hold, and any remaining orders that were due to ship that haven’t yet shipped because they were waiting on AweSIM, will be fulfilled in early January.
As I mentioned in the previous article, we have had to split up Librem 5 production into smaller runs so we can produce Librem 5s as parts become available, which have sometimes not been in enough quantities to produce all of the Librem 5s we need. We ended up splitting production into three batches, E3, E4, and E5 and in that post I identified batch E3 as the most recently-produced batch, and one that we were currently shipping out. We have been steadily increasing the number of Librem 5s we can process each week, and as of this post, we have shipped the majority of Librem 5s from the E3 batch, and at the current rate will likely finish shipping that batch some time in early February 2023. You can see a summary of our batch status in the following table:
|Batch Name||Batch Status||Order Date Range|
|E3||Production Run Complete, Shipping in Progress||2018-09 - 2019-03|
|E4||Production Run Complete, Shipping Soon||2019-04 - 2021-05|
|E5||Production Run Pending||2021-06 - Shipping Parity|
We’ve updated a few bits of information in this table compared to earlier in the year. First, we extended our estimate for E3 into orders placed up to the end of March 2019. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and to avoid overwhelming our support or fulfillment teams we have set up a pipeline workflow. We collect the next group of orders and contact them via email so that they can provide an updated shipping address, and add any additional phone accessories or other items (in particular AweSIM cellular service) that we didn’t offer at the time they placed their order so it can all ship together. As customers get back to us with updated shipping information the fulfillment team completes their order and the support team contacts the next batch of customers.
We don’t hold up everyone’s order in a particular batch if a single customer fails to get back to us quickly, instead we fulfill the rest of the orders in the batch as people email us, and then when a particular customer does get back to us, we add them to whatever batch we are currently processing. While we wait on some early customers to get back to us, we have been able to extend the window of orders that we should be able to serve with E3.
The next update concerns the E4 batch. We have been able to secure remaining components for that batch (some which came from our Librem 5 USA component inventory) and we have completed that production run! Once we ship the remaining E3 orders we will move directly on to shipping orders from the E4 batch, which will likely serve orders placed up to May 2021. By sourcing much more expensive parts from the spot market, we also have secured components for the E5 batch as well, but that production run will likely not complete until after Chinese New Year.
I hesitate to make predictions about shipping the remaining E4 and E5 orders, just because at the moment we are looking into taking some additional steps to increase the amount of Librem 5s we can ship in a week. We very much want to get caught up on all of the outstanding Librem 5 orders and have new Librem 5s in stock as soon as possible, but we need to get there in a sustainable way.
In the next update (which will likely be in mid-February) I hope to be able to share that we are well into shipping the E4 batch, as well as provide updated information on E5 production. Once we do complete E5 production, we will reduce our current 52-week lead time on new Librem 5 orders to reflect when we feel we will hit shipping parity. Of course since our Librem 5 USA has hit shipping parity this summer, anyone who wants a Librem 5 right away can place a new Librem 5 USA order (or upgrade your existing Librem 5 order) and get it within our standard 10 business day window.
It has been very rewarding to see customers show up in our chat rooms with their Librem 5s that have just arrived. We have already seen so many improvements in the Librem 5 ecosystem from early customers, and as this community grows and Librem 5s get in more hands, we can only expect that rate of improvement to increase. I am so excited for this next year as we complete the remaining Librem 5 orders!
|Librem Mini||In Stock||10 days|
|Librem Servers||Out of Stock||--|
|Librem Key||In Stock||10 days|
|Librem 14||In Stock||10 days|
|Librem 5 USA||In Stock||10 days|
|Librem 5||Currently shipping backlogs||52 weeks|