New Post: The Ball and Supply Chain

Here in Germany, even Ford had to close (or at least reduce production in) two factories. Other companies also had to shut down their production,


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Any chance new units in October will be on the 14nm CPU?

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The Ford products that don’t enter the market now are a result of the Just-in-time system suddenly breaking down. Ford wasn’t sitting on pre-paid orders that go back to well over two years ago. Since the announcement of the shipping of Evergreen in (if I recall correctly) late 2019, the hardware for all of those pre-orders should have been provisioned and were not provisioned. That means that Purism made their error close to two years ago, well before anyone ever thought there might be a pandemic coming. And now, it’s that same pandemic that gives them yet another excuse not to ship anything for the next six months going forward. Can anyone else here see how absolutely negligent (at best) this situation is?

I hate to say this, but Purism should possibly stop taking pre-orders for the Librem 5 right now. What might have been negligence otherwise, might prove to be criminal later if the whole thing falls apart, for any reason, no matter how innocent that reason could be. At some point, the slippery slope can take you to a point of no return. If that point has passed and if Todd should have realized it and kept taking people’s money, regardless, at some point even the corporate veil can’t protect you. I hope that Purism isn’t at that point.


If even multi-billion-dollar companies are having difficulties to get parts, how should Purism get parts. When do you think they should have bought all those parts? One year ago? Or further ago?

This all started long before the pandemic, see here:

According to the Zeit, a mayor German newspaper, this is no problem, that suddenly arose during the pandemic, we are one of the victims of the trade war between the US and China. Together with the pandemic, Intel’s persisting production problems and everyone buys when all the others are buying stuff this lead to the situation.

Purism is a tiny player on the international market, they can’t just pay multiple times the price of before this stuff.

I, personally, need my Librem 14 for studying (even though I have a slow, old PC as a backup-plan). Even though as far as I know, Purism has performed badly in the past, this time, it is definitely not Purisms fault. All we can do is wait or, for those people who can do that, invest in Purism, so that they have a bit more money.

@Kyle_Rankin @todd-weaver I definitely do not want to be in your position right now, dealing with (understandably) angry customers on the one side and suppliers that are not delivering on the other side. Please keep on and try your very best to deliver, we, the customers, at least partly rely on your products!


The least Purism should do right now is to purchase all of the commodity parts that are available for a reasonable price right now. They should contract with their suppliers of custom made parts to get those parts in their hands as soon as is possible. This should be done and paid for, for all pre-orders that are on Purism’s books right now. Then Purism should pay whatever it costs to get enough of the other parts to ship twenty phones out every week until the shortage is over. Then they should promote what they had to go through to get those twenty phones shipped, and maybe even tell us how badly they got taken, just to get their hands on those parts. Several of us in this thread have outright offered to donate as a gift to Purism, money to help or maybe even fully fund the shortfall. But only if we can see that our donations are actually helping… Doubtless, others would join-in with some additional level of generosity once they see that the strategy is at least having some token effect.

What Purism should not be doing right now is casually telling us that there is another delay and that they have a good excuse to not ship for another six months when they were the ones who messed-up, a few years ago and every day since then when they didn’t have a real plan or any action on a ramp-up plan.

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As said before (Librem 14 "Road warrior" deliveries when?) Purism has been trying to get supplies for the L14 and I hope they have also been tried to get supplies for the L5 as well.

The problem is, will their manufactures and suppliers allow them to hold stock when they may only be setup for Just-in-Time?
If not, you cannot just send parts flying around the world to just store them.

This points to something I didn’t think about and don’t think was clearly communicated in the post.

And if I’m understanding you correctly.

It’s possible that they will not be allowed to hold stock of the parts available today and then when CPU’s are available some other part could become unavailable and the CPU’s may not be held for them until said other part is available with no way to break out of that loop besides decent market saturation.

If accurate it would be great if that was a bit more clearly articulated.

When traveling between Hong Kong (HK) and Shenzhen a co-worker told me a story about warehouses in HK. There is a specific turnaround business they have in HK. Companies in China will ship raw material to HK because China has a law that you can’t hold raw material for more that 6 months or it is considered “dumping”. So they ship 6 month old raw material to HK for temporary storage in warehouses because HK is a different legal entity. Then after a short while they will ship it back to their company in China.

This was 20 years ago so the rules may have changed. But the business was so lucrative I doubt it has. (Hong Kong still drives on the left side too.)


Very disappointing for me too, I have to admit …

So when the CPUs become available they might say “oh, we can’t get the RAM now. So shipping stops for another six months because we can’t get the RAM”. Six months later the RAM is available and then they might say “oh, we can’t ship now because we can’t get the resistors that became rare six months ago. So we’re going to have to wait another six months”. Meanwhile there were CPUs and RAM that would have been available if they were purchased when Purism could have purchased them. Here in the US, anyone can store as much product as they want to store, especially as the customer and not as seller. At least the Librem 5 USA should keep shipping.

‘Just-In-Time’ is a newer concept that arose because storing inventory became un-necessary and even problematic when you have what Dell Computer referred to as a high “shipping velocity”. When the supply is a freight train moving fast and you want that velocity to increase, you do what Dell did. Often suppliers weren’t allowed to back their trucks up to Dell’s receiving docks until fifteen-minutes before their alloted delivery time. If they were late, the penalties were high. Dell did not want to store any product. Product storage burdens were forced upon their suppliers. And fifteen-minutes after delivery of those parts, they went in to production for use in the manufacture of PCs. Purism doesn’t have to worry about shipping velocity issues because Purism’s shipping velocity is almost zero and will now become zero. So Purism has the ball and chain while never having even tried to create any shipping velocity.

Todd needs to admit that Purism made ramp-up errors and not tie his company to a ball and chain that should have slowed, but not stopped production of the Librem 5.


On the other hand…

These are product design errors that Dell is suffering from, not product ramping issues. It’s more than just ironic that this recent article didn’t mention Dell having any supply acquisition difficulties.

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True, but I think it might be relevant, as verifiability could affect the way Purism approaches sourcing the components to get through the stocking process. I’m no expert, though.

Chip manufacturers don’t change anything that can affect device performance on a given part number. ISO-9000 rules keep product performance consistant, despite up-revs to fix any silicon bugs that might turn up after production starts. This is in a perfect world which under ISO standards is usually (although not always) perfect. The goal is to provide perfect product every time with defects in the less than 1/1000000 range, to avoid the customer having to re-test product themselves, from every order they receive. Theoretically, Purism has left R&D behind with respect to their Librem 5 Evergreen hardware. That is what shipping announcements are all about. Ramping-up production doesn’t start until after the product is locked-in from a Design Engineering point of view, at least with respect to hardware. With production, that ramp makes or breaks the success of the product. A successful ramp-up provides return on investment and profits. Purism should have snatched this opportunity up as their reward. Instead they made the decision months or maybe even years ago, to punt lightly with no real ramp being feasible, given those months/years-old decisions.

Apologies everyone, English is not my first language.

If I order a Librem 5 USA edition
a. will I receive it faster than a regular Librem 5; and
b. a Purism support member has advised me via email a few days ago that they are 3 backordered by 3 months.

With this new article being posted, will I still get my Librem 5 USA in August 2021?

It doesn’t seem like anyone outside of Purism knows when you will receive your Librem 5 USA, and the Purism people will probably not provide more detail than is in the blog post about shipping timelines.

The blog post implies that you will receive your Librem 5 USA before other people receive their regular Librem 5’s starting October 2021, but I would advise skepticism about any Purism shipping timelines at this point.

I hope you get your phone soon! Especially with the camera progressing, the Librem 5 is an extremely exciting product.


Thank you for your response.

Obviously, with the history of the shipping I am concerned, but I am invested in the idea of the product, more than the product itself.


The new article itself contains a table. The table sets out Purism’s expectations for what the supply chain will look like and what the implications are, for each product. It specifically identifies that expectations for the Librem 5 USA are different from expectations for the Librem 5.

My interpretation of that table is that if you order a Librem 5 USA then you will get it (much) sooner than if you order a Librem 5 - and for the Librem 5 USA “within Q2” (so early than August 2021?). On the other hand, the order page says “in a few months”.

In the current climate, exactly how much weight you give to forecasts I leave to you. :wink:


Maybe Purism was caught off guard, but I think it more likely that Purism did foresee the coming parts shortage (given Nicole Faerber’s comments), but it didn’t have the cash on hand to order all the parts that it needed, so it was waiting for more orders to get enough cash to pay for more producition in small lots with JIT manufacturing. In ordinary times, this would have worked, but we aren’t living in ordinary times.


I disagree. When you have 100 products, you don’t care if one of them will not be competitive. For Purism, every single product strongly influences the revenue, so they are definitely not immune to that. And you absolutely cannot predict the demand for Librem 5 or 14.

Another thing is possible hardware defect in the phone. What happens if you ship 10k broken Librem 5 phones? You can go bankrupt after that. For just in time development, you can adjust the schematics on the go. I guess that was the plan.