I hope you're enjoying your summer. Below is a press release updating everyone on the status of the Line binding. We've sent it out to everyone in the industry and thought it would be best to also include you. All in all, it's simply taking a lot longer to set up and solidfy all the manufacturing than expected. Especially with some of the pretty out of the ordinary circumstances we've run into making it even more difficult/impossible to deliver the binding this fall (3 months from now). Please read the facts below.
Thanks for supporting skiing's progression,
Line Forced to Delay Binding Introduction Due to Supplier Constraints
Line Skis, LLC, will not be delivering its alpine binding to its customers for the 03-04 season. This is, of course, a painful decision, but is necessary due to two unforeseen factors: the withdrawal of Victor Plastics, Line’s binding manufacturer, from its China operations; and the onset of the SARS epidemic in China.
Line hired Victor Plastics, a well-known contract manufacturer, specializing in injection molding, to manage all aspects of its Reactor binding manufacturing. Victor is an experienced and respected manufacturer of products and parts for the snow sports industry as well as parts and sub-assemblies for many Fortune 500 companies.
In early November, Jim Kuba, Victor’s president, owner and founder, died unexpectedly. This caused Victor to immediately recall its key managers from China to deal with the aftermath. Thereafter, Line was informed that the heirs to Victor decided to discontinue Chinese manufacturing operations. At this point, Victor informed Line and other clients that it would no longer be responsible for all management, sourcing, and manufacturing of its products in China. This event occurred at a critical juncture, significantly delaying delivery of last year’s product.
Early this spring, Line quickly made the necessary arrangements to switch to another experienced contract manufacturer in the region. However, this move was soon complicated by the outbreak and spread of SARS in the Guandong region, where the majority of contract manufacturers are located. The SARS epidemic has had the unfortunate result of effectively denying the company’s engineering and product management departments access to the province and the opportunity to work efficiently with its new supplier. As of early April, the State Department issued a travel advisory to the region because of the deadly disease. The SARS situation still remains critical in China.
No doubt, to not deliver a binding this fall is a difficult decision for Line. However, according to Jason, “Our booking orders totaled an impressive one-to-one ratio of bindings to skis for this season. It was obvious that the product was well received and the benefits of PivogyTM and QuickmountTM were gaining traction with the consumers and retailers. This imposed delay obviously is a major disappointment; however, the decision to simply call off delivery before the season begins, instead of relying on a best case scenario to deliver on time is without question the responsible action to take at this time. This decision is based on the best interest of the Line brand and everyone in our chain of distribution, right down to the end consumer in mind.”
For the ‘03-’04 season Line will continue to offer its diverse line of high performance, high profile Freestyle, Freeride and All-Mountain skis. All of Line’s sales and marketing efforts will be focused on these skis using its strong, one-of-a kind, aggressive, young and aspiring brand image. Over the past eight years, Line has used this image and product direction to pave the way for the current rejuvination of the youth-driven alpine market. In the meantime, Line’s binding product management group is continuing to work full speed ahead on establishing production-ready, on-snow samples and delivery of product for the future.
In Jason’s words, “I want to thank everyone who reminds us daily that we are part of a great industry, and Line appreciates the unwavering support you’ve all demonstrated to us during our company’s youth. When the binding is ready, I believe everyone in our chain of distribution will be anxious to continue the challenging and rewarding experience of bringing a ground-breaking new product to market. Until then, I believe the decision we’ve made is the most responsible, and the right one to make at this time.”