Author Topic: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale  (Read 733 times)

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Rivet Miscounter

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MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« on: December 02, 2019, 12:13:07 AM »
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https://www.micro-trains.com/z-announcement

Probably doesn't affect most on this forum, but I thought it was interesting enough to post...and who knows if N isn't far behind? 

Being in Z, it really won't affect me either as that is how most other mfg's in N worked so I got used to the process.   I still contend that there really isn't a preorder *system* per se.   No way to ensure your vote counts, and we're still at the mercy of our dealers for the most part.  They're probably gonna still operate how they always have in the other scales and just guestimate what they send to their distributor and their distributor may or may not do anything with this information.   I suppose the first time I get shorted something I pre-ordered I'll ratchet up my disdain for this non-system.  But the reality is my interest in Micro-Trains Z creates a very short list of their products and if anything I hope this helps them expand that.

A sort of side discussion has to do with the collectible market....does that even still exist?  Taking preorders certainly kills off the "how many will MTL make" variable (or at least removes some of the sanctity of that process) that drove the craze.

One thing I ask of Micro-Trains....PLEASE don't operate your pre-orders like Intermountain does.  It's maddening how absolutely dumb their system is.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 02:19:45 AM by GaryHinshaw »
Doug

nkalanaga

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2019, 12:15:42 AM »
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I doubt that MTL will go the way of IM.  For one thing, except for a few parts, such as motors, all of their stuff is made in-house, so they have absolute control over the production schedule.  Barring unforeseen problems, they know when, and how many, they'll make.
N Kalanaga
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Rivet Miscounter

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2019, 12:30:43 AM »
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I doubt that MTL will go the way of IM.  For one thing, except for a few parts, such as motors, all of their stuff is made in-house, so they have absolute control over the production schedule.  Barring unforeseen problems, they know when, and how many, they'll make.

I was mostly referring to their tendency to cancel just about everything due to their process for collecting preorders.   Yes, once something "makes", then MTL should be able to keep to their schedule.
Doug

Point353

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2019, 02:45:38 AM »
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At the same time Kadee is discontinuing the pre-order system for its HO cars.

mmagliaro

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2019, 02:59:35 AM »
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The most interesting thing I saw in this announcement was this:

"Pre-Orders that come in too low may be cancelled."

To me, this is a sign that the Z Scale market can't generate enough income for them to risk making all their products "the old fashioned way", meaning:

do some market analysis
produce products
hope that you guess "right" often enough to offset the "turkeys" and make money

Pre-ordering, hopefully, guards against turkeys by showing you in advance that you should just abandon an unwanted product.

As has already been mentioned here, they make all their own product in the US.  So this may just be one more way for them to
remain competetive against overseas labor, in which case, I hope it works out for them.

peteski

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2019, 04:01:14 AM »
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At the same time Kadee is discontinuing the pre-order system for its HO cars.

MTL and Kadee are totally separate companies.
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Point353

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2019, 07:13:20 AM »
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MTL and Kadee are totally separate companies.
Continue that thought.

bbussey

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2019, 07:45:47 AM »
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They are separate companies that operate independently of each other. 

Regarding pre-sales, a significant percentage of MTL items already are pre-order:  all of the 12-month series, all the holiday-themed/special-event products, all the resin and 3D products, most of the licensed products.
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Point353

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2019, 08:55:48 AM »
+1
They are separate companies that operate independently of each other. 
Before a third person makes the same statement, the intent of my previous post about Kadee was simply to contrast their decision to forgo the pre-order system with MTL's plan to expand its use.
It's just interesting to observe that two (separate and independent) companies, who are in the business of serving similar markets (meaning model trains) and likely have a significant overlap in customer base (meaning hobby retailers), have (separately and independently) almost coincidentally reached opposite conclusions about the viability of the pre-order process.



Missaberoad

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2019, 09:27:34 AM »
+1
Probably a good time to mention that Micro-trains and Kadee are two separate companies...  :trollface:
Ryan in Alberta

peteski

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2019, 11:39:11 AM »
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Before a third person makes the same statement, the intent of my previous post about Kadee was simply to contrast their decision to forgo the pre-order system with MTL's plan to expand its use.
It's just interesting to observe that two (separate and independent) companies, who are in the business of serving similar markets (meaning model trains) and likely have a significant overlap in customer base (meaning hobby retailers), have (separately and independently) almost coincidentally reached opposite conclusions about the viability of the pre-order process.

And your point is?  While both are in model RR business, one deals with H0, while the other one is a producer of N and Z (and an occasional H0n model). Both model train, but *VERY* different markets (both in size and in tastes), requiring different sales and product planning strategies.  I think that you have been in the hobby long enough to realize that.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 11:54:10 AM by peteski »
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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learmoia

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2019, 11:52:51 AM »
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I suppose MTL is figuring that they could do better with the pre-order model vs the standing order model.
What they may loose in sales on some cars is made up in:
-additional sales on popular cars
-less expense in producing stagnant inventory
-lower warehouse requirements to house the stagnant inventory.
(Although I dont understand how they have stagnant inventory when they run a 'standing order' system).. Build to the standing order and ship it.
-Less warehouse space = additional room to expand production without additional space.

I've heard from several shops that they have reduced the standing orders way down from prior years as people are not buying what they used to..

The good thing is that MTL is very reliable on production, so a 5-6 month lead time is very realistic and tells you how quickly an MFG can get from idea to product.... (like the South Park of the model railroad industry).

~Ian

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davefoxx

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2019, 12:05:34 PM »
+5
You have been in the hobby long enough to realize that.

All right, @peteski, I am afraid that I must call you out.  Pete, you may not have meant it, but the statement quoted above is belittling.  Your point was easily made and could have stopped right before that sentence.  Please understand that I am not directing my frustration solely at you.  That post was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

Unfortunately, inappropriate behavior has become more common by many folks on social media these days.  I know I come here for model railroading and really don't want to see this devolve like other social media outfits.  My opinion is that TRW is not Facebook and needs to be used accordingly.  We need less socializing and more modeling.  Please, go JFRT or build something.

In case anyone missed it, Dave Vollmer checked out this weekend for a break from TRW.  He's tired of the bullshit around here.  I'm reaching the point where I am almost right behind him.

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Lemosteam

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2019, 12:13:02 PM »
+1



 :trollface: :trollface:

basementcalling

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Re: MTL Moving to Pre-Orders for Z-Scale
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2019, 01:05:51 PM »
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They are separate companies that operate independently of each other. 

Regarding pre-sales, a significant percentage of MTL items already are pre-order:  all of the 12-month series, all the holiday-themed/special-event products, all the resin and 3D products, most of the licensed products.

Brian, is that Z cale items in those lines, or N scale too? If they only make preorders in N then some folks aren't getting there because except in very rare cases these days, MTL products don't usually sell out in a few hours online, though they often show that their runs are sold out at the factory.

Peter Pfotenhauer