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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:46 pm 
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This is just a brief post to let you know the production status of the chess sets...

Those of you with a manufacturing background will hopefully appreciate that commissioning mould tools is a reasonably technical process and when all the work is carried out "in between" our main projects (our company is growing by more than 100% this year!!) process approvals can get a bit extended.

So far we have produced 100 sets in our plant in Shenzhen prior to PPAP approval and the tooling being shipped to our Basingstoke factory. We have now finished about 30 of these pre-production sets and they are being distributed to key sponsors and contributors for comment. More will go out in the next couple of weeks. (Why so long? Our production processes are automatic, pre-production requires human beings to get involved!!)

Tooling

1. The 3 tools produced to make the actual pieces have now been approved for production and will be running in presses during April.

2. 2 tools to produce the board base and tiles. There are several issues with the tooling. Firstly there is a mismatch between the grid on the base and the tiles such that several tile "pockets" are too tight, preventing some tiles lying flat. More seriously there was an error in the weight calculation about the total weight of 10 boards and 10 sets of pieces such that they're too heavy to go in one single carton!!!!! (EEC weight rules etc aplying)

3. We are going to go ahead and produce the first 20,000 (ish) boards in this design but will introduce a lighter mark II board later in the year which will also be able to accomodate some other improvements (ie the board notation)

Production Issues:

1. Packaging - the proposed sponsor for the box for the pieces is closing (!), we're trying to purchase the box and lid tool to allow us to produce this item. With the sets now needing to be packed 5 to a box we also need to re-do the carton spec with that sponsor

Sponsors:

1. The plastics industry in the UK has been very supportive and basically offered as much material as we need to produce the sets. I'm ploughing my marketing budget into the project and of ocurse we've spent about £30k thus far on tooling and pre-production samples.

2. Sponsorship for booklets, extended programs and ECF support is still being courted. We have two banks interested in possibly providing office/admin funding for the project but it is the longer term that perhaps needs the most thought - as I've said before Holloid Plastics don't want these sets to be used as book-ends!!

Summary:

This is an enormous project - our equipment can make a full-size set and board in 40 seconds, or about 2k sets per day. As stated we will only being manufacturing during our off-peak/spare production capacity but even so we're committed to completing the manufacture of ALL the basic sets by the end of 2009 - and would like to be associated with the project until at least 2010 (some provision for replacement pieces, extending the project perhaps to other worthy causes etc?)

If you have any questions please contact me

Regards

Fergus

Fergus Christie
Sales Director
Holloid Plastics
e-mail: fchristie@holloid-plastics.co.uk


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 1:30 pm 
This really does sound a lot of work, It's an amazing thing you and Holloid Plastics are doing.

Can you tell us a bit more about the sort of work you guys do there? I've read the website but it's a bit over my head :?

To whom should we be spreading the good word about Holloid Plastics? Who would be an ideal new customer? :)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:56 pm 
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Bill Wilson wrote:
This really does sound a lot of work, It's an amazing thing you and Holloid Plastics are doing.

Can you tell us a bit more about the sort of work you guys do there? I've read the website but it's a bit over my head :?

To whom should we be spreading the good word about Holloid Plastics? Who would be an ideal new customer? :)


A very positive thinking. I like where your coming from on this. I helped a possible sponsor out with information about his family background and talked to the people he needed to influance. After that he made me a trophy, a very nice big trophy. Fattorini is now a sponsor of the Renaissance Academy. I will post a picture so people can see what happens when we possitively push a possible sponsor. (I can't say that after 3 pints) :)

:D

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:34 am 
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We have moved 20 tonnes of raw plastic for the start of manufacture. The question of what the sets are going to be delivered in, after weeks and weeks of sponsorship phone calling I think the sets will be turning up in solid plastic boxes. We have even found a sponsor for the outer box too. Hard work is not the words. With the box for the sets and the box for the outer we are now talking about sponsorship of £6.5m. Thats a massive project. :D

Time, I got 3 days off since the 12th Dec 2007, them being Xmas day, my engagement do and getting married. Fergus at Holliod has managed a small holiday and thats it. The Office of the ECF have been working at more than they can cope with for all the last 3 months. AND the board have been working themselves through the floor to help at every turn. My hat goes off to all who have supported me and those from the ECF who have done so much to make this happen.

Fergus will answer soon to update everyone on the manufacter side. :D

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:09 am 
What is the up to date status of this project in light of the recent resignations?

I am very anxious we keep going and the project is not slowed down.

Andrew


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:46 pm 
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andrew martin wrote:
What is the up to date status of this project in light of the recent resignations?

I am very anxious we keep going and the project is not slowed down.

Andrew


Interesting, but ok. The project has taken many knocks over the pass few months each one is dealt with in a positive PRINCE2 project management fashion. The 4 Directors who resigned are good people who found themselves in a place where they couldn't return from. However it saddens me to loose Claire from the mix as I believe Claire could have made an impact on the Junior front. Martin and I argued as much as we agreed which is always a good start when building a professional relationship as knowing you have differing points of view help to guide large (or in this case massive) projects because when you build a project in this way you either convince your bosses of your point or if the argument is strong enough take your bosses point of view and incorporate it. This is standard industry practice. BTW I do the same with Gerry, Peter, The Office, all and everyone has an input into this project, and as I have pointed out many people on this forum have helped build what were at that point grey areas.

The Project is still waiting on the parcel Haulier to sign up, we had a plan A route which died (Which was through Fortec Pallets though Fortec are still the Pallet Haulier), Plan B was through a Haulage PR company, Plan C was a direct approach to a council run organisation which was in haulage direct to schools, now we are in plan D (direct to a massive parcel haulier). As soon as the haulier is signed up and in the rest should fall into place.

Here are some of the hurdles we have jumped so far in the last couple of months:
A full sponsor to supply the set boxes (1 Litre containers) for free for 250,000 of them.
And the brilliant but testing question of how do you make sure all the sponsors have their name on the parcels going to the schools. The answer I came up with was 25,000 outer boxes printed with the logo of ever sponsor on it. The problem was that everyone thought we would be printing labels but the cost alone would be massive and whoever printed them would have to pay tax on the waste that gets stripped off, then that begs the next question of do you do one giant label 450mm by 450mm (Roughly) (needing a specialist label printer like Stampiton or Avery) or do you do lots of little ones each having its own set up cost and heavy tax attached. Thats before you start thinking about who will be putting these things on the box.
Another problem was that chess people didn't like the chess board so a new tool is being made in China, Fergus is there now sorting out the details so the board can have annotation and a stronger structure, thank you everyone who put forward the issues on that front because both Fergus and myself had not though that section through as thoroughly as we should have. (AS ALWAYS YOUR INPUT IS VITAL :D )

So to sum up we are waiting for the last sponsor then production starts. The ECF board is report to, not directly involved so the resignations have minimal effect. :)

To get a sponsor signed up it takes around 200 phone calls, at least 2 visits and a lot of negotiating. We have over 20 sponsors involved in this project before we start mentioning the cash sponsors. That is an amazing feat for any organisation. This is the ECF, doing the right moves. :D

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 1:36 pm 
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Charles W. Wood wrote:
...Another problem was that chess people didn't like the chess board so a new tool is being made in China, Fergus is there now sorting out the details so the board can have annotation and a stronger structure, thank you everyone who put forward the issues on that front because both Fergus and myself had not though that section through as thoroughly as we should have. (AS ALWAYS YOUR INPUT IS VITAL :D )

That was me :!: Do I get my name on the board :?: :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 4:26 pm 
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Greg Breed wrote:
Charles W. Wood wrote:
...Another problem was that chess people didn't like the chess board so a new tool is being made in China, Fergus is there now sorting out the details so the board can have annotation and a stronger structure, thank you everyone who put forward the issues on that front because both Fergus and myself had not though that section through as thoroughly as we should have. (AS ALWAYS YOUR INPUT IS VITAL :D )

That was me :!: Do I get my name on the board :?: :mrgreen:


No But you did help, as did Tim Adams, Nick Nixon, etc, etc.

Thank you and keep it coming.

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 10:28 am 
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Our secondary (grammar) school has told our local link primary schools about the Chess for Schools project.
One of them has signed up, and asked us if we can help.
We have agreed to supply a 6th former (grade about 90) to go in and help run a chess club (we have done this before with local primary schools). We have agreed to do this in the Autumn term.
Will the sets be available by then?
Also how happy (or unhappy) are you (Charles) about us supplying such help in this way?


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 12:35 pm 
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Neill Cooper wrote:
Our secondary (grammar) school has told our local link primary schools about the Chess for Schools project.
One of them has signed up, and asked us if we can help.
We have agreed to supply a 6th former (grade about 90) to go in and help run a chess club (we have done this before with local primary schools). We have agreed to do this in the Autumn term.
Will the sets be available by then?
Also how happy (or unhappy) are you (Charles) about us supplying such help in this way?


The sets could be going in around then, we'll have to see what the parcel haulier says.

Using a 90 grade 6th former to teach non players and entry level is the perfect solution. If its a state school remember to try and match their outcomes and objectives and try and see if you can help with any of their core offerings.
:D

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 2:50 pm 
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Yeah, last year, when I was a sixth-former, I ran a primary school chess club, and I very much enjoyed it, and the kids did too, because their only goal in life was to beat me... :)

I'm only grade 97 atm, and as I have also worked in a school, I was left alone with the kids and therefore didn't have to have a power struggle with the teacher, who I can only say was none-too-thrilled to be stuck with staying behind to do Chess Club...

The only problem I found, was that, no matter how many times a day you told the kids that the King is immune from capture, it never sunk in... :roll:

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 5:10 pm 
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Nigel Wright wrote:
The only problem I found, was that, no matter how many times a day you told the kids that the King is immune from capture, it never sunk in... :roll:
Not a problem in Suicide Chess, which I believe has valid and helpful contributions to chess understanding and growth. :P

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 12:50 am 
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Hmmm, suicide chess is painful, as whoever I play it with can never agree on some of the rules, so I don't bother any more...

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