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Author Topic: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue  (Read 18526 times)

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Offline Karhedron

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2014, 06:11:20 PM »
It is not only Dapol who have long gestation times. The recent Farish Ivatt 2MT was about 5 years in development as I recall. They needed to develop the coreless motor to actually be able to power something that small.

Dapol and Farish are both "staking claims" to certain items to deter the other from attempting them. It is frustating for those of us waiting for the models (I was waiting for my 2MT for most of that time) but it is the nature of the market.
Well, that's just not good enough. Some fount of all knowledge you are!  :no:  ;)

Offline Karhedron

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2014, 08:46:05 PM »
I think the production in China excuse does not stand up...thousands of products are designed in Europe or the USA for example and production done in China..with current technology then sending cad or engineering files is easy...at the end of the day these companies need to get a firmer grip of their own design processes and get some steam up....sorry I should have said traction as I am a diesel modeller!

I think that you are underestimating the problems in out-sourcing your manufacture to a company half-way around the world who know nothing about the prototype you are trying to model and speak a different language. It is certainly not just a case of sending over the CAD files and waiting for a finished model to pop out at the end.

Lindsay O'Reilly of Ixion recently posted about his experiences on the N Gauge yahoo list. I have reproduced his post here with his kind permission as I think that it illustrates exactly the sort of problems Dapol are having. Ixion know the N gauge market well enough and sadly pulled out of it after getting their fingers burned with the Manor.

Quote
Dear modelling friends,
 Model railway manufacturing in China is hardly "an experiment". It's the only place - at this moment in history - where you will get the state of the art models you want at the price you are prepared to pay. Manufacturing could move back to the UK, or my home country Australia, pretty easily, but at a minimum price increase of double what you pay now. We could do it, but we'd all be broke and out of business quicker than you can say "They want HOW much for that?".
 
As an aside, for those who think that communicating prototype railway information to a non-railway-modelling non-English speaking Chinese CAD draughtsman is as easy as buying a pie at your corner shop, well, not quite...
 
I have a fund of stories from the Ixion adventure, but I'll share just one. On our first and only N gauge loco, the Manor, there is an air tank under the footplate on one side of the real loco. It was left off the first CADs, so we insisted it be added. It was... On both sides. We explained that it should be on only one side. It disappeared from both sides. We said it goes on one side only. It reappeared on both. In desperation to meet our published release date, we went with the drawing that had the tank on both sides. And do you know what? No-one has ever noticed; or if they did, they were kind enough to keep it to themselves, bless them. I bet Dapol and Farish have 20 or 30 times more moments like that each year that you don't hear about...
 
For us, after some issues with the wiring of our 7mm Hudswell Clarke, the only way we felt we could guarantee that our locos would be right was if our technical director Phil Badger went to the factory in China during the production run of our O gauge Fowler to watch every stage of the manufacture and assembly. For a little company of just three blokes, that's a serious expense.

He did, and do you know what? We have not had a single return in the 500 sold so far. But if we were producing half a dozen, or a dozen, or more models a year? I doubt it could be done either financially or humanly. So I say, rejoice that so many things are right on those models, and allow that ordinary fallible human beings are creating them. Compare them to the old days - the cheese cutter wheels, the lumpy Farish 'Holden tank'... I for one am amazed by the quality and range now available. If they're not perfect, well, neither am I.
 
And, as we always say to people, if you are so absolutely sure you can do it better, do what we did. Find some likeminded friends, go and see your bank manager about a crazy loan, together stump up the US$150,000 to get your loco made, choose a factory and become a manufacturer. We did, and it's heaps of fun. And, you get free locos, too. Bargain!!
 
Cheers,
 Lindsay O'Reilly
 Ixion Models,
 Newcastle NSW.
Well, that's just not good enough. Some fount of all knowledge you are!  :no:  ;)

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2014, 09:06:10 PM »
What a great and illuminating note from Lindsay - thanks for posting it :thumbsup:

Online Bealman

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2014, 12:36:39 AM »
Extremely interesting. I like Mr. O'Reilly's last paragraph - tackles the naysayers in one swift stroke.
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline captainelectra

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2014, 01:56:07 PM »
Totally agree. Big respect to Dave Jones for taking on such a project - I couldn't be that brave!
Best Regards,
Adam Warr
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http://www.electrarail.co.uk
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Offline sparky

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2014, 02:15:23 PM »
The ixion post whilst it shows it can be difficult to deal in different countries with potentially different languages does not totally excuse the ridiculous lead times...it needs an investment with good locals on the ground to join the gaps in knowledge together..it is still ultimately about recruiting and managing the right people...I worked for a company supplying parts to ford in Russia with design done in the UK...key to success was the local Russian employees we had to put in place who understood all the local logistics etc.. So I still feel we are making excuses for what is a badly managed development process...the delays and lack of product on time speak for themselves. PS the products are as everyone has stated are now very good so I am not saying everything is wrong but both bachfar and dapol must continue to improve the time from design concept to market.

Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2014, 02:45:35 PM »
Having someone local means paying for someone local. It's perhaps easy for Bachmann (who are Chinese with an outsourced UK office) but for any small company its a big extra expense and would end up reflected in the prices.

Alan
"Knowledge has no value or use for the solitary owner: to be enjoyed it must be communicated" -- Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden

Offline Richard G Dallimore

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2014, 04:23:03 PM »
Just remember that the first Manner from Ixion turned up 8% too big as changes were made after sign off design. Finding errors and then scheduling time to get them changed as time beyond anyones control if designer is off or busy on other projects. Chinese new year can cause issues, although these should be planed in but if the expected issues arise just before, it can take a couple of weeks to catch up. I think aot of the delays are also down to the recission in that companies have slowed down development of new products awaiting an improvement. Unfortunately none have had the sense to come out and say this, if they had it may have saved them some complaints.
Regards
Richard
Formerly NtasticShop
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Why am I surrounded by maroons?

Offline Only Me

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2014, 05:59:09 PM »
You also need to bear in mind that these Chinese factories have production slots booked by other companies many months if not years in advance so a company making for instance the PCB's for 500 Dapol locos is not going to put that job in front of Apples order for say 5,000,000 pcbs.  Hence production setbacks because the chinese companies push these little jobs back to fit in more lucrative assignments.... Our little model world is small fry compared to a lot of the manufacturing slots available...



Offline MattJ

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2014, 12:09:33 AM »
Well Hitachi are moving manufacturing to the UK... only problem is, their trains may be a tad too large for most people's layouts...  ;)
They're there for their tea.

Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2014, 12:28:04 AM »
You also need to bear in mind that these Chinese factories have production slots booked by other companies many months if not years in advance so a company making for instance the PCB's for 500 Dapol locos is not going to put that job in front of Apples order for say 5,000,000 pcbs.  Hence production setbacks because the chinese companies push these little jobs back to fit in more lucrative assignments.... Our little model world is small fry compared to a lot of the manufacturing slots available...

The guys who do small runs are set up to do small runs. That's their business. Big runs of stuff are much more highly mechanised with a big set up budget.

Capacity is not a huge issue. The giant mess a few years ago is over.

I would be more worried about demand than supply. There is an awful lot of stuff stock in retailers not being bought and despite all the wittering in westminster bills are up wages relatively down, pensioners are getting clobbered and we all hopefully pay the gas bill over new trains...
Alan
"Knowledge has no value or use for the solitary owner: to be enjoyed it must be communicated" -- Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden

Offline sparky

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2014, 08:53:34 AM »
Given the choice between the gas and electricity bill I would definitely pay the electricity as my power cab is no good on gas !....

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2014, 09:09:03 AM »
Th question about why catalogues turn out to be fantasy is really very simple. If they are annual rather than quarterly then they cannot be updated with realistic possibilities. Secondly catalogues are the sole preserve of Marketing Departments - not even the Sales Department are allowed to participate, and certainly Engineering and Logistics both of whom have to make it happen are not allowed to participate in the catalogue. Marketing are only interested in new products for all kinds of reasons that are good for the company.

So annual catalogues will always have models that don't become a reality in that catalogues year. New Product development is miles more complicated than anyone who has not actually been involved directly in it (I was for 8 years) will know and thus theorising about what is going wrong in a company that we don't work for is also fantasy. But interesting to read.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2014, 09:43:04 AM by ParkeNd »

Offline sparky

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2014, 09:27:23 AM »
I was a product development manager in the steel industry for many years so I know the realities of bringing product to market...I won't name the company but we were very slow in developing new advanced products and were rarely first to market.. The issue was management mindset to research... We were going down the road to oblivion by producing standard grades that the Chinese could produce at lower cost...the new owners of our business have now heavily invested in R and D and we involve the sales and marketing teams very early now in new concepts...the result is a pipeline of new products...so it can be done if the mindset is changed !

Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Dapol 2014/5 catalogue
« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2014, 11:17:40 AM »
Having had a look at the catalogue that appeared today (I'm apparently on the Dapol dealer database as I bought loads of bogies off them for kits) I'm struck by how little "completely new" stuff there is.

There is at least one kettle shaped surprise, ane a rather welcome re-introduction/rework or two, and some interesting accessory updates but it's mostly "as before", which is probably a good thing.

Nice to see another small tank loco, especially being done in pre-group livery too. I can see another rake of new coach products appearing shortly 8)

Alan
"Knowledge has no value or use for the solitary owner: to be enjoyed it must be communicated" -- Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden

 

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