Wind has their own engineering, product development and production facilities in Shenzhen. What are the benefits of having a custom-built e-scooter?
By having a custom-built e-scooter we can quickly adapt to any changes and city requirements. We can also continuously update our hardware and software based on the feedback we receive from our customers. Our scooter is more robust than comparable models on the market with a lifespan of more than three years, which contributes to a low carbon footprint and less need for recycling. As the scooter can only be used with the Wind app and has no resale value aside from the raw materials, we have also seen a significant decrease in theft and vandalism. It also allows us to quickly test and roll out additional safety features such as our integrated helmet.
You hold a central position for the production of the Wind e-scooter. What exactly is your role?
Together with my team, I am responsible for procuring all the parts that are needed to build our Wind 3.0 e-scooters. We are also making sure that the parts are delivered in a timely manner to our warehouses around the world. This is a rather complex process, involving planning, sourcing, import and export logistics. Timing and efficiency is of essence to ensure a smooth operation and expansion of our entire business. I would say my role requires not only the professional knowledge on the supply chain side, but also relies on seamless communication internally and externally.
This role surely comes with its challenges?
Solving problems and urgent issues is part of every supply chain process. For example, our operation is seasonal and requires a supply chain to deliver everything that is needed before the start of the peak season. We also have to react fast when expanding to other markets and ensure availability of the material, production capacity, and shipping – and all of this at the best possible price.
If having a custom-built scooter is a main driver for a profitable e-scooter business, why do many operators rely on off-the-shelf products?
Due to standardisation and scaling, off-the-shelf scooters cost less when buying them. However, their life-cycle is much shorter than it is for the Wind custom-built e-scooter, so operators that use off-the-shelf models will see higher costs further down the line. Also, our customers love our scooters and we truly believe that we can provide users with the best riding experience.
With production facilities in China and operations in Europe, how do you coordinate the distribution and shipping of scooters?
We need to ensure precise planning for shipping and distribution. Planning ahead of time is key. We also need to have a good understanding of the import and export regulations of the relevant markets, which vary from country to country. And finally, we also need to stay informed about the Covid-19 developments in local markets such as lockdowns or additional border controls that could affect the delivery.
Xiaolei Hu is Head of Supply Chain at Wind Mobility