Flex track

Inkaneer Jun 26, 2014

  1. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    63,856
    11,466
    652
    Agreed. I said much the same thing in my post yesterday. Adding to this, I believe that once the movement began, (it was of course spurred along with much encouragement from China), the whole thing evolved quickly into a more or less herd type mentality. As if this was a panacea. The below comment might just have been the better route to follow.

    Innovation made this country. This seems to be a lost and sometimes even discouraged quality today. And, we need a return to investing for the long run, instead of the quick cash and dash all too often practiced now.
     
  2. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    11,676
    6,884
    160
    One further thing to add to all the mess is not all the various firms turned to China as an answer on their own. Another interesting thing that turned up in a little research was a number of firms now in China originally had manufacturing in Europe. Unfortunately poor management, bad economy, or just a turn of poor quality merchandise and lost revenue were causing these companies to fail. Along come the Chinese ala Bachmann under Kader Holdings and those companies were bought. So not all companies had made voluntary shift to China as been previously stated rather they failed and were bought out and then shifted.

    One of the first things that happened with those companies and their local manufacturing was that the manufacturing was shifted to China under Kader, the quality and output issues were immediately resolved, the old factories that used to produce the product closed or sold off, and a whole lot of folks were out of work. A number of those companies continue to trade under their original name or have been combined with others to form a new company. Probably we are going to see some others go under. Those that do not have the capital to ride out the storm, or do not have enough manufacturing diversity will be the next ones to go and maybe re-emerge as part of Kader.
     
  3. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    3,825
    905
    59
    Innovation is still alive and well in this country, it is just hanging out of sight sort of. There is a wealth of innovation happening in areas not related to most consumer goods or products. Some of it, like personal electronics are designed here and manufactured elsewhere (Apple iPhones, iPads etc). Some of it resides in infrastructural technologies like the equipment behind the internet, materials sciences and many other areas. The key technologies never leave to go elsewhere. The US has a history in investing in strategic technologies.

    And to another point, you can thank the Wharton School and other MBA factories for the demise of the American economy and American business. They have produced the most evil grab the money and run philosophy that has in turn ruined our economy.
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    63,856
    11,466
    652
    I do know there is innovation. But it is not the same as it once was, decades ago. It was a way of life, private sector. Changes born of necessity. These days, many advances which come to the masses, evolved to useful stages out of some military or government use. Even if the idea existed beforehand, it was that spending and use where it was made practical. Communicatons, your microwave oven, the Internet, (non-mechanical) computing devices (WWII research efforts), the atom,.... I am talking about the Henry Ford, Thomas Edison type people of such note, whom we simply rarely ever see their likes any more. Those who so overtly changed how we live, with truly useful items.
     
  5. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    3,825
    905
    59
    Oh, if I only could discuss what I am working on, it is on par with the telephone, television, Jet propulsion and the others......
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    63,856
    11,466
    652
    Argh. Well, now that we're going to be captives to suspense.... When the appropriate time does come, you'll need to give us a heads up.
     
  7. chenxue

    chenxue TrainBoard Member

    17
    0
    9
    Sounds like we'll know it when it hits the headlines....
    But the Sharkman still won't be able to discuss it....:question::):teeth:
     
  8. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    11,676
    6,884
    160
    It appears that the Atlas code 80 flex is starting to return to stock shelves in the LHS since a check this morning on the availability and pricing of flex this AM showed that bulk packs of flex appear back on the menu at my favorite pusher of things trains that unfortunately I can't name here. They showed at least 22 bulk packs on hand. I did not look for code 55 since I have no interest in it due to my older equipment that won't run on it. So without naming names and violating policy it happens to be that certain big dealer just west of Baltimore Maryland.
     
  9. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

    1,163
    75
    28
    This production problem for all the MRR companies was after the Kadan San issue. I really wish you guys would get facts straight, or at least not do revisionist history and mash two issues into one.

    This has been hashed over so many times, and even Paul Graf jumped in the last go round on this, a couple months ago. Heck, look to the last thread with Dave Ferrari, and he explains the issues they (he) had with another factory. Dave is still having issues with that factory and getting his molds released.

    Quite honestly, I don't know how any of them could have foreseen the Chinese Government coming in and shutting down the one factory they shared. Obviously, there are greater minds on the internet, than the handful of model railroad manufacturers that produce models over there.

    *ducking and covering*

    That being said a local pusher told me that Code 55 is on the way.
     
  10. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    2,312
    2,261
    55
    Having a back-up plan in place in case your sole manufacturing plant goes down (for whatever reason) is just good business sense. Unless your company is able to sustain itself for months on end with no sales, having an alternate set of tooling available to use at a different location (or even splitting production between two sites), at least for certain high-volume, bread-and-butter, cash-cow products, is not a radical concept. Maintaining a safety stock of extra inventory is another solution, but no one wants to do that these days. Then, again, how many people do you know that keep a "rainy day" fund (or what the MBA's would call a sinking fund) in reserve?
     
  11. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

    1,163
    75
    28
    And alternate sets of tooling costs money. We're not talking companies making millions of dollars here. When you literally have seven or eight manufacturers all running production out of one place, it seems to me that none of them thought this would ever happen.

    Obviously, as Paul Graf as stated before, they've learned and have contingency plans in place now. That's all you can ask for at this point.
     
  12. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    2,312
    2,261
    55
    Again. do you want to invest in an extra set of tooling (especially for such a common item as flex track) as a hedge again some future eventuality or pocket the funds and assume the risk of losing revenue from sales of that product for some indeterminate period? Haven't we seen an episode like this once before where the tooling became unusable, even though the factory was otherwise up and running? In addition to lost revenue, how many customers have been lost (temporarily or permanently) because they weren't willing to wait until production resumed and switched to some other source - either another manufacturer's product or laying track by hand. Out of curiosity, with today's (or even yesterday's) CAD/CAM equipment, does anyone have an estimate of what it might cost to generate the tooling for a strip of flex track?
     
  13. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

    1,163
    75
    28
    I'm one of those people. I have one piece of Code 55 flex from my old layout (over ten years ago), and I'm just barely entertaining ideas for my next layout, knowing that the track is on the way. I can't even repair a section of my module due to the lack of Code 55 flex right now.

    Frustrating, indeed. But it's arrival, at this point, is closer than ever before.
     
  14. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    3,993
    757
    65
    Originally Posted by Inkaneer
    Was the China fiasco a surprise?

    First of all, there is the old adage about putting all your eggs in one basket. That was violated in China. Second, in a country as big as China, how does all of the tooling end up in one factory without some outside intervention by government? Answer: it doesn't. Third, does it make any sense (either business or common) to have your production controlled by one of your competitors? Answer: not really. That, my friend, is the makings of a fiasco. Never ceases to amaze me why management makes big bucks for making poor decisions. Manufacturers went to China to save money. So how much money did they save on product that was never produced? Answer: None. At least in China the plant manager who mismanaged committed suicide; maybe if we held management to a stricter standard we could encourage better decisions? Just asking, ya know.
     
  15. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    3,993
    757
    65
    You mean management was unaware that the Chinese government was a totalitarian regime with no commitment to fair business practice? Did management think they would get fair and equal treatment from a government that forcibly silenced its own people when they demanded equality? If so then management is more stupid than I originally thought.
     
  16. Joe D'Amato

    Joe D'Amato TrainBoard Member

    1,736
    285
    36
    Depends...probably in the $20 K range plus plus plus. http://youtu.be/0p02-uEUHiI This video from Micro Engineering shows the process pretty well. There are a ton of hidden costs and getting a good ROI is a crap shoot.

    Joe
    MTL

     
  17. Joe D'Amato

    Joe D'Amato TrainBoard Member

    1,736
    285
    36
    We used Sanda Kan and they had money issues which forced them to close...I wasn't aware of any actions taken by the Government, but anything is possible. When Kader/Bachmann became the only game in town, most of us lost our manufacturing sources and darn near killed some product lines.

    Joe

     
  18. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

    1,163
    75
    28
    And you're proving my point.
     
  19. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    3,993
    757
    65
    I would think that an astute business person would first know the financial health of a company before entrusting them with one's tooling that, admittedly, costs a lot of money. It is just good business practice and there is no legitimate reason for doing otherwise.
     
  20. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    2,312
    2,261
    55
    Is that $20K number to design/develop a set of tooling/molds from scratch or simply to make a second/duplicate set to keep on hand as a spare?
     

Share This Page