This article is written by Deepthi, head of strategy and operations at ViaTerra.
If you are already a customer, you know ViaTerra as the company that sells kickass motorcycle luggage solutions for all kinds of touring – short rides or long rides, road rides or mountain rides, group rides or individual rides. But did you know:
- We have shipped more than 150 pieces to international customers across all 6 inhabited continents covering over 24 countries including New Caledonia (we had to look it up in an atlas too!)?
- We are the only manufacturer in India to make touring luggage in-house rather than use a vendor? – this gives us greater flexibility in our product designs and the ability to make immediate improvements based on rider feedback.
- Each of our products goes through a stringent quality check resulting in repair requests (till date) of less than 1% of our orders?
In case you are wondering how we make this happen, you are on the right page - please read on!
Once we have a product concept in mind, the starting point to bringing it to life is the design and prototype stage. This usually takes us around 2-3 months with multiple iterations to get the fit, functionality and the aesthetics right. Post this, we move to the testing stage, during which the product is used by the ViaTerra team first before it is sent to sponsored riders and other riding enthusiasts for their feedback on the product. This helps us understand if the product capacity is sufficient, if the pockets provided for various purposes (like side pockets for placing bottles, top pocket for easy access to documents etc) are working as designed and most important of all, is the product easy to mount & dismount and once mounted, it doesn’t move – period!
Once the prototype is locked down, the next stage is identifying relevant raw materials and where to source them. To ensure high quality for each of our products, we only source from well-known branded manufacturers like YKK for sliders & zipper tape; 3M for reflective tape; Invista approved Cordura manufacturers etc, or from big importers of raw materials rather than work with smaller vendors. This means we hardly ever get any favourable terms from our material vendors as we are too small to get favourable terms or discounts or any credit period. Though this impacts day to day operational logistics in many ways, it is one of the core principles of business that we strictly adhere to.
Now comes the production stage – something we moved in-house more than 2 years ago after the first batch of ViaTerra products were manufactured through a vendor. In our initial lots, we found the inside stitches of the bags were done with red thread – definitely not part of our design. The vendor was trying to minimize his wastage by taking short-cuts like using any available thread for inside stitches that are not visible. Not really visible but we knew it wasn’t perfect! That was the first and last time we used a vendor for our products despite the many hassles with respect to managing the entire value chain starting from hiring tailors to sourcing materials to the stringent quality checks.
Incidentally, we ensure our production staff – tailors and helpers – get better benefits than any of us founders ever got in our corporate jobs!
Post production, we go through a thorough quality check that requires the quality in-charge to follow the written manual created for each individual product - step by step including checks on all fittings, zipper tapes, webbing straps, thread finishing etc. Despite this, if a rare error does slip through, no reason to worry as ViaTerra offers a 1 year guarantee and lifetime repair support for all its bags.
Now that the bag is ready and all checked, we are ready to ship. After numerous experiments with various couriers, starting with DTDC,, India Post etc, we finally zeroed in on Fedex to ensure delivery reliability if you are in a hurry to get your bags or Speed Post if you are among those who plan ahead for trips.
And that, folks, finishes everything a ViaTerra bag you ordered goes through – happy tripping! ☺