In 2004, EarthQuaker Devices (EQD) founder and musician Jamie Stillman discovered a passion for electronics after fixing a broken overdrive. Soon thereafter he turned his Akron Ohio basement into a full-blown pedal factory and started selling his devices on eBay. With demand on the rise, a basement stuffed to capacity, and a myriad of ideas awaiting fruition, EQD needed a bigger space.
EQD’s Inventory Woes
EQD’s operations manager, Cory Juba, was tasked with rethinking how the business managed inventory and component buying. Until then, it was based on the very technical question “Does it look like we need more?”
The unique parts needed to craft their pedals had long lead times. That meant they had to predict their inventory requirements long before they needed them. To make matters worse, sales were erratic and hard to forecast. EQD had to keep a lot of inventory on hand, tying up their cash flow.
Enter Suntsu stage left, EQD was thrilled to launch an onsite consignment program with Suntsu. They now had three months of inventory readily available for consumption as they needed it and their cash flow situation was improved at the same time.
EQD has always taken pride in the quality of their pedals; each one is hand built and tested. Everyone that touches a pedal signs it, making each piece personal to the team members involved. All their pedals are guaranteed for life, so it’s important that every piece is made to last.
In their early designs, EQD was having trouble with potentiometers – Suntsu was originally supplying them and they were oftentimes breaking before they even left the warehouse. Suntsu then reached out to Vimex for help.
With the help of Vimex, Suntsu was able to redesign the pots with a custom fiberglass substrate. “They had taken the redeye and overnighted themselves here,” said Juba. The best part? In the 5+ years since they reengineered the pots not one has broken.
“They helped design and reengineer their product to fit our needs and now a bunch of other companies can use that technology in their pedals
– that’s pretty cool,” said Juba.
Suntsu’s ability to reengineer products to fit specific needs of effects pedals not only solved a problem but gave EQD the opportunity to make their products better.
“If we need a new part, I can ping them and they’ll get with their engineering team and discuss what the options are,” said Juba.
Additionally, Suntsu played a crucial role in EQD’s Avalanche Run, their bestselling multi-tool pedal that produces reverb and delay with tap tempo, creating a custom enclosure and mating solution so they could pull it off.
The result? EQD met the needs of the market and built the pedal fast enough to satisfy their customers for a reasonable price.
“They’ve been instrumental in helping us to grow,” said Juba.
Supply Chain Support
In addition to their inventory management struggles, EQD struggled in the beginning with importing parts from overseas. Between language barriers, customs, and general logistics, importing was a nightmare that wouldn’t end.
The support Suntsu provided relieved the struggle. With people on the ground to work out any problems that pop up and their ability to stock hard-to-find components, it’s simpler for EQD to manage purchasing and sourcing through Suntsu.
A Powerful Partnership
When Juba first heard about Suntsu, he thought it was too good to be true. Now, he speaks with their team every week. From manufacturing custom enclosures complete with logos to handling imports, Suntsu has been instrumental in helping EDQ’s create what’s next!
“I can’t think of a single more valuable vendor,”
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