It’s been just a little over a year since Orion Telescopes and Binoculars stepped in to acquire Meade Instruments after Meade’s bankruptcy and started to reorganize the company’s operations and product lineup. This relaunch of the company is fitting since 2022 also happens to be the 50th anniversary of Meade Instruments and, despite a somewhat prolonged period in the 2000’s where Meade suffered a variety of setbacks, the company is now poised to again be a leader in the amateur astronomy products industry.
Recently the Orion team shared what it has accomplished after its first year of ownership of the venerable brand and its future plans.
According to the Orion team:
In our first year, the new company has been focused on:
Ramping production at our North America factory.
Meade’s Mexico telescope factory is the largest consumer telescope factory outside of China manufacturing telescopes and mounts for advanced and expert amateur astronomers. We have made significant investments of funds and bandwidth reshoring the factory’s raw material and parts supply chains, and in manufacturing tooling. The Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) telescope primary, secondary and corrector plate mirror blanks have been and continue to be manufactured exclusively for Meade by a trusted partner in the USA.
For the factory production, we continue to invest in our personnel. We have increased both the size of the production workforce and have also cross-trained in order to increase our production capacity. Critically, we are rebuilding the North America – USA and Mexico – supply chains in order to source essential parts. We have made quite a bit of progress and began ramping production in Q1 2022 of the LX90, LX200, LX600, tripods, respective OTAs, and select Coronado telescopes. We still have a few issues with the supply chains for StarLock and select Coronado models, which are being actively worked and we expect to resolve by October.
Improving Product Quality
Next, we have invested in Quality Control engineering and staff resources. Our product quality confidence is reflected in the increase of the warranty period for Meade-branded product for the original purchaser from one to two years on sales from a Meade Authorized Reseller on or after June 1, 2021. We are also tackling parts availability and pricing for warranty and non-warranty support.
Improving Customer Support
For customer support, we have invested in increased staffing, workflow software, metrics setting and tracking, product and cross-training.
Adding Products and Product Lines
In addition to rebuilding the supply chain for the existing products, we have launched and relaunched new telescopes, accessories, and binoculars. For example, the number of Polaris and Infinity products and accessories available through our Direct Import program increased in Q2 from four to seven telescopes. We also will be launching additional accessories and a new 20×80 astronomy binocular.
Moreover, we are pleased to announce the relaunch of the popular LX85 EQ mount. We have re-shored this product and its supply chain to our factory, and we can proudly now call this product “Designed and Manufactured in North America”. We are on track for first shipments in late August which will include 6” and 8” ACF, and 6” and 8” Reflectors.
We have quite a bit more in the pipeline for 2022 and 2023 and will make future announcements as we get closer to launch dates.
Delivering Operating Leverage with Orion
We consolidated USA operations in Watsonville, CA while finding additional supply chain leverage between the two affiliates. Significant process improvements have been implemented and we continue to work a long list of additional opportunities. Moving forward, we expect to roll out leverage opportunities for our partners when ordering both Meade and Orion products from our Watsonville warehouses and/or from our Direct Import partners.
Meade is focused on long-term relationships with select, proven hobbyist committed resellers. When our partners do well, Meade will do well.
Meade recently launched a new Meade.com web site that includes:
– Initial web site redesign.
– Modern web architecture/platform including scalable, faster, responsive design (desktop, tablet, mobile).
– Improved site search and navigational functionality.
– Robust web site hosting environment.
– Improved data quality and product presentation including images and specifications.
– Significant data clean up from the old web site.
– Data integration/standardization across platforms.
Moreover, Meade has re-started select trade magazine advertising now that inventory availability is improving and will be implementing additional Meade and Coronado marketing programs.
We look forward to continued improvements and additional announcements in 2022.
You can learn more here.
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