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Author Topic: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders  (Read 9145 times)

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Offline acko22

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2015, 10:49:48 PM »
Scotty,

I know timings slip but when say Dapol on there product development page say due 3rd quarter 2015 it is reasonable to expect it then but they announce an guestimate and let shops start to take pre orders then that's unfair on the shop and the modeller.

Would it not be better just to say in product development and then announcements in the news section to say this is how far we have got?
Then you are not getting hopes up or making people wait or orders that can come in months even possibly years later and potentially tying up people modelling fun which could go on another model?

Offline PLD

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2015, 10:58:22 PM »
This a subject that has been gone over so many times, and whatever the manufacturer's do, they can't win...

If they announce intentions well in advance, they get criticised for the lead times. If they leave it to the last minute they get complaints from others that they didn't have time to save up for it!

When they announce models, they don't give a firm date because there is no way they can accurately judge when it will be ready. If something needs changing during the development should they correct it (and be criticised for the delay) or ignore it to meet the schedule (and be criticised for releasing a model with errors)? Then in the rare cases development goes quicker than expected should they hold it back until the scheduled date or release immediately???

Even when the final product is made and loaded on to the slow boat from China, they can't give an exact delivery date. they will have a 6-8 day window during which it will arrive at the UK port, then it could be anywhere between 2 days and 2 weeks before Customs allow them to move container off the dock...

Giving exact timetables in advance is not practical, and I don't think even desirable - I'd rather give some flexibility to get things right than flawed products be rushed to meet schedules. The only thing that could've improved is communication of what stage of development products are at. This is one of the things DJ promised to do better through a timeline on his website but even that could be improved on. certainly for the n gauge models that still takes some digging through multiple entries with little clear order.

Finally, as for different versions of the same model, if your favoured manufacturer is first to market, then it is "unnecessary duplication", if your favoured manufacturer is second, then it is "healthy competition"!!! :hmmm:



ScottyStitch

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2015, 11:00:20 PM »
Scotty,

I know timings slip but when say Dapol on there product development page say due 3rd quarter 2015 it is reasonable to expect it then but they announce an guestimate and let shops start to take pre orders then that's unfair on the shop and the modeller.

Would it not be better just to say in product development and then announcements in the news section to say this is how far we have got?
Then you are not getting hopes up or making people wait or orders that can come in months even possibly years later and potentially tying up people modelling fun which could go on another model?

To be fair I wasn't commenting on the fairness.

I was just pointing out that they don't technically make promises......

Offline Agrippa

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2015, 11:10:40 PM »
In 1963 the Yanks said they would have a man on the moon by 1970, and beat the deadline by
a year so I don't buy the toy trains on a slow boat from China stuff .Perhaps the Chinese
factories give priority to bigger customers knowing that the relatively small UK N gauge market
can either put up with a long delay or whistle Dixie.
Nothing is certain but death and taxes -Benjamin Franklin

Offline acko22

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2015, 11:22:11 PM »
PLD,

I know what you are saying and I couldn't agree more that they cannot give an exact date due to x factors.

But if they are willing to go to press and say that's when it is going to be available (3rd quarter 2015 lets say) then isn't it fair to say it's a commitment?
If they cannot be firm and be 100% sure that the can achieve that commitment shouldn't they hold off giving a time frame and prematurely raising hopes?

Offline PLD

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2015, 12:10:47 AM »
PLD,

I know what you are saying and I couldn't agree more that they cannot give an exact date due to x factors.

But if they are willing to go to press and say that's when it is going to be available (3rd quarter 2015 lets say) then isn't it fair to say it's a commitment?
If they cannot be firm and be 100% sure that the can achieve that commitment shouldn't they hold off giving a time frame and prematurely raising hopes?
Has any manufacturer ever said "we guarantee it will arrive in quarter X"?? I think not... Timetables given are only an estimate based on best interpretation of available information, and are never claimed to be anything else... If a retailer puts a different spin on it or the consumer interprets the information differently, is that really the fault of the manufacturer?

Offline acko22

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2015, 12:40:31 AM »
PLD

I am trying to think of the word but cant think of it so example will have to do.

Well all know Yodel and the dramas that have been faced with them.

So they say they will deliver on Thursday say you spend all day waiting and it doesn't come then they tell you Friday again it doesn't come, lets face it you would be rather annoyed to say the least.
You order something else and it happens again, you will be on the phone to them telling them they are taking the proverbial :censored:

They have told you it will be there then they haven't promised you an exact time from the tracking info just it will be there within that time frame, now if there was a delay the parcel missed the lorry from a to b and it wouldn't be coming on Thursday you wouldn't expect them to be saying still arriving Thursday because it isn't from the tracking info.

I never said any manufacturer has promised a thing but if they say out in x quarter and that slips well yeah it happens but don't leave it up there till the time passes, the second they know let us know.
Right now on the Dapol website it says the JNA Falcons anticipated release Nov-14, that's 2 months ago is it hard to say it's slipped to February? well all know then and we are not waiting and looking for something that isn't there yet?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 09:37:00 AM by Sprintex, Reason: Thinly veiled swearing removed »

Offline Karhedron

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2015, 09:06:09 AM »
The manufacturers of N gauge products are there to provide us with a service i.e. Product delivered to the required quality within promised timescales. That is no different to any other product on the planet. Why should N gauge be different?
No, the manufacturers are there to make a profit. If they didn't they wuoldn't be in a business. Even people like Dave Jones who have a real love of the hobby still have to consider their bottom line.

Now keeping customers happy is normally good business sense but I think you are making a mistake that an announcement implies some sort of promise. It is simply letting people know that product X is in development so that customers can save up and competitors can avoid it if they wish to avoid duplication.

To give you an idea of the problems duplication can cause, take a look at what is happening in 00 where 2 manufacturers have announced an all-new GWR King and 3 are producing an Adams Radial tank. My guess is that at least one manufacturer is going to end up disappointed by the returns on that particular project while we customers will be left wondering what might have been produced instead if one or manufacturers had announced earlier and the others had chosen a different prototype to model instead.

Product which turns up eventually is not acceptable
Why?

What are the consequences (beyond annoyance) of a delayed delivery? This is a hobby consisting of perhaps 10,000 people in the UK. Nothing vital depends on a model being released on the announced date. If the delays are that annoying, consider modelling a different prototype for which the models required are already released.

To take a few examples. The Farish Ivatt 2-6-0 was delayed because it took Farish longer than they expected to develop a coreless motor small enough to effective power such a small loco. What would you have had them do? Rush a dimensionally compromised model that was stretched to fit an existing motor in? Peco did that with the 2251 (oversized tender) and the market was not kind to them. The model is no longer in production and Peco have said they are not planning any new locos.

Rushing a project to meet some arbitary deadline is worse than being late if it results in a product that people do not want to buy.

Dapol have delayed a couple of locos such as the class 33 because they were not satisfied with the quality of the work done and sent it back to the drawing board. Would you rather they had gone ahead and produced a model that has mistakes? Take a look at the review threads and you will see that we modelers are a fairly discerning bunch and there are people who can and will flag up errors in released models.

You are asking for models to be 100% accurate and 100% on time. So how do you propose manufacturers react when they discover mistakes when work is in progress? You cannot have it both ways. Personally I would rather they take the time and get models right.

This is as annoying to me as anyone. I have had a Farish Castle, 64xx, Autocoach and hawkswoth coaches on pre-order for over 18 months and I would rather like to see them too. But I would rather they get them right than rush out a compromise to meet an arbitary deadline.
Well, that's just not good enough. Some fount of all knowledge you are!  :no:  ;)

ScottyStitch

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2015, 09:37:21 AM »
With regard to the Dapol Falcons, it is a case of the website not being attended to as much as they or we would like, but it's a fair point.

However, while I would like evreything to be perfect everytime out of the box, I appreciate it's not always possible. I think if you expect everything to be 100%, 100% of the time, you're not only in the wrong gauge, you're in the wrong hobby. I am in the situation that if I receive something and it's not right, I send it back for replacement. I've never had a problem getting a replacement or a refund. On top of that, according to the figures that someone in the know has posted on another thread, the failure rate of our models is pretty low. Out of 20-30 model engines that I have, I have had to send two back. They were both Dapol A4s from the same batch, I believe it was a quartering issue. Two Farish Diesel's have needed split gears replaced. Other than that (touch wood) everything else is fine.

The complete batch of Farish A2s were sent back to China because of some sort of error. I applaud Farish for having the minerals and integrity to do that rather than just release them anyway. Im sure they have taken a big hit financially on that, so fair play. The let's get it as right as we can attitude goes down well weith me certainly. Should they have caught the error before now? I don't know, depends what the problem was, but n gauge model railways arent any different from most other manufactured goods, nothing gives 100%, 100% of the time.

I think most of us are aware of the N-Gauge manufacturing issues enough to know by now, that any "due date" should be taken with a pinch of salt, but I think the manufacturers genuinly try their best.

As for being on a leash, we're not. It's a little model train set, it's not life or death, it's not essential, and we're not forced to order or buy these things.



« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 09:44:14 AM by ScottyStitch, Reason: some Writing left out first time round! »

Offline MikeDunn

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2015, 09:58:18 AM »
I am trying to think of the word but cant think of it so example will have to do.

Well all know Yodel and the dramas that have been faced with them.

Oh please ... ... that's hardly a fair comparison now, is it !!!

On the one hand, you have a design house / marketer (let's not pretend they are a manufacturer of trains, eh ?) who contract out the designs to a 3rd party, contract out the tooling to a 3rd party, and contract out the production to a 3rd party (albeit likely all the same 3rd party - but it doesn't have to be).  Oh, and the delivery back to them here in the UK is another 3rd-party as well ...

On the other, you have a delivery company that collects items from a supplier, drops off in one distribution point that may forward to another, and then sends out in a van.

The former example has a "project plan" for a deliverable anywhere between 12 months and 3 years (sometimes longer) that is dependant on their contracts with the 3rd-parties succeeding in the timescales they are given; the latter example one for (allegedly) several days that is dependant on not much ...

Apples & coal ... at least apples & oranges are both fruit  :D

Mike

Offline Agrippa

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2015, 10:58:57 AM »
As for being on a leash, we're not. It's a little model train set, it's not life or death, it's not essential, and we're not forced to order or buy these things.

The voice of reason...!
Nothing is certain but death and taxes -Benjamin Franklin

ScottyStitch

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2015, 11:01:30 AM »
I am trying to think of the word but cant think of it so example will have to do.

Well all know Yodel and the dramas that have been faced with them.

Oh please ... ... that's hardly a fair comparison now, is it !!!

On the one hand, you have a design house / marketer (let's not pretend they are a manufacturer of trains, eh ?) who contract out the designs to a 3rd party, contract out the tooling to a 3rd party, and contract out the production to a 3rd party (albeit likely all the same 3rd party - but it doesn't have to be).  Oh, and the delivery back to them here in the UK is another 3rd-party as well ...

On the other, you have a delivery company that collects items from a supplier, drops off in one distribution point that may forward to another, and then sends out in a van.

The former example has a "project plan" for a deliverable anywhere between 12 months and 3 years (sometimes longer) that is dependant on their contracts with the 3rd-parties succeeding in the timescales they are given; the latter example one for (allegedly) several days that is dependant on not much ...

Apples & coal ... at least apples & oranges are both fruit  :D

Mike

On top of that, there is the problem that there isn't too much choice in which 3rd parties you contract to provide this work for you. So it's either continue trying to deliver inspite of the 3rd party problems, or give up altogether and stop trying to produce anything at all. Which would we prefer?

I suppose there  might be a way to guarantee 100%, 100% of thetime and 100% on schedule, but the cost would be so prohibitive it would start another thread all of it's own......if there was an n-guage market left, that is.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 11:03:03 AM by ScottyStitch »

Offline talisman56

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2015, 11:16:32 AM »
I must admit that the main advantage of delays to release of products is the boost to my bank balance in the short term!!
 :beers:

I don't need a 'short term boost to my bank balance', as any 'excess' will no doubt be redirected to SWMBOs current project(s) around the house!!
My inspiration - never let a setback get you down...

My layout thread - Hambleside East: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=18364.0
My workbench thread: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=19037

Online Portpatrick

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2015, 02:30:01 PM »
As for being on a leash, we're not. It's a little model train set, it's not life or death, it's not essential, and we're not forced to order or buy these things.

The voice of reason...!

Fair point, we are not forced.  And we are not forced to buy other things we want which get delayed.  Or order the things which we wait in for and don't come when the courier states, or choose the potential  builder who then does not come to estimate when he says.  It is still poor service, and exasperating, even if not time wasting.  To draw from the late management guru, Peter Drucker, a business exists to serve its customers, not the other way round. 

My own take is that if a manufacturer is going to announce a new item, and they want to do so early in the total process, they should announce they are starting work, but not give an indication of dates unless on balance of normal probabilities there is reasonable reason to expect to meet that schedule.  Then as development progresses they can report where they are, and start to give expected dates at a  later point.  At least this increasingly seems to be happening - sometimes.  I note reports from Farish on livery samples for the Spam Can and SR Mogul. 

I never saw anything on the Farish website to indicate they were struggling to develop a small enough motor etc for the Ivatt.  Common sense says this was likely to be an issue.  Neither have I seen on their public website that the A2 batch has had to go back, and why.  I am glad they are sending them back, but for goodness sake, having publicly given dates to customers, tell the customers equally publicly what is now happening.  Don't just change the dates.  Neither did I see any such advice about early issues on the fine new Duchess - as with my Ivatt I am delighted with mine.

The fact of a variety of 3rd parties clearly adds complexity and risk to the process.  Hopefully the risks of this were fully evaluated when considering the business model our manufacturers chose to adopt.  If they did not, then they have only themselves to blame.  This is true of any process, whether in private or public sector.

I agree a forecast release date is not a contractual obligation and it will slip sometimes - though if they are learning from experience this should reduce as new models continue to come out.  But having given dates, there is a moral obligation to at least explain delays, and if need be suspend forecasts if the issues and reasons are big.  A business will cease to be profitable if it loses the confidence of its customers.  While we may reasonably moan about delays, manufacturers should be confident in providing good reasons.  For my part I will continue to buy what I want when it comes out.  But when a new release is delayed, I want to learn about it from a confident manufacturer's own public site, not through the rumour mill.

ScottyStitch

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Re: Frustration with Dapol and Farish Pre-orders
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2015, 02:58:21 PM »
Well I'm sorry, but Mr Drucker is wrong. A business exists to make money. That quite literally is the bottom line.

Regardless of that, how can we say that they are not serving the customer. They produce an item that you want to buy so they are without doubt providing you with a service. Whether it is on time, or not is surely irrelevant to that point?

Now, the fact that they are poor communicators in the event of delays, errors, etc is an entirely different issue. There are two issues:

1 - Announcing a due date and not being able to stick to it is one.

2 - Not telling us that they can't stick to it nor why is another.

Trust me, I understand the frustrations of waiting for product to come to market, and not just in Model Railways. I, like you, would like them to announce a product, only when it has been checked and is on a (fast) boat from China, but for whatever commercial reasons they won't or can't do that. So we either suck it up and live with it, or vote with our feet and refuse to play ball!

Someone earlier said this:

Product which turns up eventually is not acceptable
Product which does not work out of the box is not acceptable

But that's just not true. If it was unacceptable you wouldn't be playing ball and continuing to buy the stuff. If it was unacceptable you wouldn't buy anything from these manufacturers. But clearly we all do (save our contenintal, US, et al, bretheren)

Finally, why do you want to know why it's delayed? What difference does it make to you? It doesn't change the delay period at all. Why do we have the right to know? It could be commercially sensitive information for all we know. It doesn't matter. It's delayed, that's all we need to know.

I don't think it is poor service. It could be better, no-one's arguing about that, but it could be a hell of a lot worse.

I say again, it's a train set.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 03:02:12 PM by ScottyStitch »

 

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