Author Topic: Product vs. Parts  (Read 2616 times)

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ednadolski

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2014, 02:13:52 PM »
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His basic premise was we HAD to sell any part a modeller needs because he needs it.
...
Should modellers expect OEM company's to carry and make parts available?  Is this a realistic expectation in a mfg that doesn't make and carry inventory....? Is it a "requirement" of modern day company's to serve the market and if so, is it reasonable to expect such inventory to command premium prices, reflecting the cost of carrying otherwise unneccesary inventory?

This just cracks me up to hear about that guy.  We live in an RTR world, where "fast and easy" have become a mantra (esp. for certain magazines),  so is it really any surprise to see that there are modellers who expect (even demand) that the OEMs to do all their modelling for them?

Yet how many end users today are willing to assemble a pair of couplers, or install a set of stand-alone wire grabirons?   Even if OEMs made the parts available, few enough people would actually buy them.  IF that market existed, we would still have Sunrise Enterprises (or someone else would have filled that void).

I'm not at all dissing anyone who doesn't take on detailed modeling efforts, as that is a personal choice.  But this guy should not be expecting OEMs to do his work for him, and at no additional cost.  If he really wants his parts so badly, let him go ahead and try (i.e., put in the time and money) to make them, and then see how many he can sell.

Ed

jagged ben

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2014, 02:26:24 PM »
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OEM companies make money by selling models. Parts company's like Miniatures by Eric make money selling parts. If we decide to sell parts them it's really only doing so to assist modellers because it's not our core business and we don't carry parts (we don't carry inventory at all)

I'm not sure this statement reflects reality.

Kato and Atlas both focus on RTR models and yet also have full scale online parts departments.  Kato seems bent on making money off of it, Atlas seems to regard it more as customer service (judging by differences in price). 

BLMA started as a parts and details company, and still does that, but now offers RTR rolling stock.  Similar with FVM.

Intermountain and Athearn don't advertise parts in any way, but if you just ask for something small they will send it to you if they have it, often for free.  So they also regard it as customer service.

I get that you are smaller than those largest companies and that handling parts is an extra burden.  But I think your best approach would be to follow the Athearn / IM model, while also having a boilerplate e-mail response along the lines of "We would happily send you that replacement part, but unfortunately we do not have any available since we only produce enough for production models and repairing defects."  Spending the least time possible on responding to each customer as best you can to make them happiest will get you the most future business.

In any case, I wouldn't get yourself too worked up about it just because one guy was a jerk on the phone.

sirenwerks

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2014, 08:45:08 PM »
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I agree with the reference to Atlas - I believe that should be industry standard to service the product being sold, and as a perk to actual modelers, for modeling fodder.  Unless you want to guarantee your product will never break.
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jpwisc

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2014, 09:43:39 PM »
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I love when companies have enough parts to sell them separately. I don't expect them to do so, but I'm happy when it happens. It makes my life so much easier.

I can't imaging having the beans to demand a company sells engine parts separately. But then again, this hobby does attract a fair number of nut jobs.
Karl
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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2014, 10:57:08 PM »
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I inquired quite some time ago with a major maker of locomotives about a replacement circuit board.  I placed a call and left my contact information.  I never got a response. Yesterday I got a box in the mail with two boards.........and a Bill for $7!  They ship parts on the honor system!  I will call them this week with my cc info.
Brian

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Puddington

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2014, 12:25:03 PM »
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Interesting viewpoints; thanks guys. A couple of things:

- As stated, getting parts for China is tougher than one might think. Their system is set up for "matching sets' and there are real issues getting "a hundred extra of x"... While I don't understand the whys and what fors, I know it's taken months and months to get them to give us the lighting boards we needed and they consistantly fail to make extas we ask for.

- We, and many of the smaller companies use "warranty cars" for parts; we take of what we need to send to the modeller - because we don't have bins of each part not can we afford to we have to "salvage" much of what we need.

- Selling parts takes a level of logistics and staffing that some smaller compnaies don't have - I know it takes up a significant part of my day for little or no return.

- expensive parts like a locomotive truck assembly would be costly (at least from our perspective_ to have sitting on a shelf awaiting an order. We have sold power chassis for our B units and upcoming GMD-1 units but make really only a few (like maybe 20 over those ordered) It is just capital tied up.

Thanks again for you thoughts; I'm trying to get a handle on this topic as we begin delivering more and more N scale products.
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coosvalley

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2014, 12:28:16 PM »
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I would love to see parts available whenever possible, the Atlas model being the one to strive for....many of the projects I've done would never have been possible without the availability of Atlas parts....But, I understand smaller mfr's probably cannot do this.....a possible solution, and one that is great for the hobby, is undec's available ALL THE TIME, or at least with every release........think about this.....undecs help sell model paints(we already are losing options), decals, detail parts, and all of this helps the middle men too....I swear half of any project of mine is finding the right parts, which often takes using more than one source.....and anybody wanting "that part" could use this option, and sell or use or complain about having to buy the rest of the loco..... but at least they could get their part if they want it bad enough....

TiVoPrince

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2014, 07:58:56 PM »
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I'm interested in your opinions and thoughts.

Consider
the path of Ford or GM. Make OEM spares available at a reasonable price that assures profit. Specific fit parts that are consumable by nature should be made available.

In the long hot rod tradition nobody at Ford parts counter should be expected to definatively know if that 2015 Mustang muffler bearing will fit a 1994 Cadillac. Consumers are welcome to buy one and try it...
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ednadolski

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2014, 08:08:17 PM »
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Make OEM spares available at a reasonable price that assures profit.

Then people will accuse the OEMs of profiting from planned obsolescence (just like the automakers).

Ed

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2014, 09:16:52 PM »
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Then people will accuse the OEMs of profiting from planned obsolescence (just like the automakers).

Ed

Well, if you go back to the 80s, we had the same few N scale models (especially locomotives) being sold year after year for a decade.  I have feeling that the spare parts for all those models were plentiful.
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bbussey

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2014, 11:33:32 PM »
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I don't think it can be said better.

So I guess the real question is, are you in it to strengthen the hobby are just for yourselves.

The goal is to remain in business. "Strengthening the hobby" while desirable is not mandatory.

Sometimes it is not an option to have spare parts. Sometimes the contractor doesn't provide extra parts, even if asked.

In answer to the original question -- it is a luxury perk that is nice to be able to offer to the small percentage of the customer base that scratchbuilds and kit-bashes, but it shouldn't be expected.
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wcfn100

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2014, 02:03:45 AM »
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Sometimes it is not an option to have spare parts. Sometimes the contractor doesn't provide extra parts, even if asked.


And I don't have as much issue with that, but that's a far cry from 'We don't do parts' which is apparently the attitude at Rapido.  The idea that parts are for someone else to deal with stinks of an arrogance that I have a hard time believing they can afford.

I guess I'm just glad they don't make anything I need. I'd rather support the companies that at least try to help the modeler, and not just skim the cream off the top.

Jason

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2014, 04:13:35 AM »
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And I don't have as much issue with that, but that's a far cry from 'We don't do parts' which is apparently the attitude at Rapido.  The idea that parts are for someone else to deal with stinks of an arrogance that I have a hard time believing they can afford.

I guess I'm just glad they don't make anything I need. I'd rather support the companies that at least try to help the modeler, and not just skim the cream off the top.

Jason

That isn't the attitude I got from Mike, I got the we have some, very limited, number of spare parts, and are not in the business of making parts, but finished models.

Puddington

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2014, 08:45:04 AM »
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And I don't have as much issue with that, but that's a far cry from 'We don't do parts' which is apparently the attitude at Rapido.  The idea that parts are for someone else to deal with stinks of an arrogance that I have a hard time believing they can afford.

I guess I'm just glad they don't make anything I need. I'd rather support the companies that at least try to help the modeler, and not just skim the cream off the top.

Jason
Oh come on Jason, I am asking a valid question of modellers, trying to get a sense of what they think, how they react to the challenges we face and how they'd react. As I stated, as we are venturing more into N scale I am trying to see what it will take to find the balance between profitability and customer service.... and to do that I shared a common frustration smaller companies have and asked for input. I would expect that you would understand such a basic concept. I guess the only way to "better modeling" doesn't include asking a genuine question and sharing feedback....
Thanks for your generous input............ :x
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eric220

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Re: Product vs. Parts
« Reply #29 on: August 05, 2014, 08:49:54 AM »
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And I don't have as much issue with that, but that's a far cry from 'We don't do parts' which is apparently the attitude at Rapido.  The idea that parts are for someone else to deal with stinks of an arrogance that I have a hard time believing they can afford.

I guess I'm just glad they don't make anything I need. I'd rather support the companies that at least try to help the modeler, and not just skim the cream off the top.

Jason

 :facepalm:
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