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North Wales
Member since:
13 Jun 2011

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Latest Forum Posts

  • Dr_Loco (25 posts), 399 days ago

    I think Jason Shron's reasoning for not moving it's production to Canada is pretty valid.
    I have a Rapido Turbo VIA Train set which is very good quality though need to be handled with great care. One thing I like about him is his openness about his company. I wish our Hornby CEO does the same and explain to us in great detail as to why Hornby is having problem with the supplier. One has to bear in mind that Rapido is a relatively small company. To find a new supplier in China to manufacture all the Hornby products is a massive challenge. One also need to consider the Chinese attitude towards certain Western companies. Afterall Jason is a Canadian!!. To have a very robust QC for larger company like Hornby would be a massive task (unlike Rapido), unless Hornby owns the company itself.
    Moving the company to a new country like India is rather risky in my opinion. The Chinese workers are well known for their intricate 'fingers'. I hope the Indian workers will be able to match their dexterity with their Chinese counterpart. Only time will tell.

  • Dr_Loco (25 posts), 402 days ago

    I don't think it is fair to blame everything on the Chinese. It is the British and Western companies that contracted them to make these products. It is the Western companies that should dictate high quality control in these chinenes factories. British companies want to maintain certain profit margin and we all don't want to pay premium price for the products. We all want to get paid certain minimum wages and it's no wonder the low cost jobs are taken by the eastern european. British companies can't survive nowadays because of stiff cheaper foreign imports. Hornby products will be more expensive than B#mann equivalents if manufactured in UK.
    I think Hornby may be able to bring back its production back to UK but in stages. It has to adopt clever design of the products using a lot of automation which means using minimal workforce. The British are well known for this invention in the first place. Perhaps use the method by companies such as Kato whereby all the detailing bits (high quality) are installed by the modeller. I know that some people prefer to have all the detailed parts pre-installed but this is a compromise. This will please those dying for detailed version to be maintained. We all have to open the loco shell in order to install the decoder. The only contentious issue is the cost of the raw material which can be very volatile. On the other hand, the Chinese has to import these material anyway!! Hornby should be as patriotic as its die hard fans!! Just look at the German manufacturers which can sustained its own production in its backyard for decades. Hornby also need to advertise its product more widely in order to attract new customers. Why not make tv series on model railway using Hornby products like James May. Perhaps invite celebrity like Pete Watermann, Roger Daltry or even Rod Stewart as guests!! I'm aware that only Pete Watermann is into British products.

  • Dr_Loco (25 posts), 403 days ago

    With contract manufacturing, as long as the manufacturer stick to the agreed price, there won't be any problem. But the problem arises when its profit margin is affected by the rise in materials, transportation etc, they will in turn demand higher price from Hornby such as with the Skaledale issue. Unlike Tesco which can pick and choose its supplier, I don't think Hornby can robustly dictate the price from the supplier. We all know that most of the American Model Trains company, their products are being made in China. I'm sure they all have similar problems like Hornby. Their fans also wanted them to be repatriated to the US but at what cost?
    If one look at Roco products which are manufactured in Germany, but look at the price... they are very expensive even for folks like me who has spare cash!!. On the other hand Piko's product are less expensive probably because the product has less detail than Roco.
    Hornby may be able to adopt Rapido's method whereby it only produces the product when the volume of pre-orders reach a profitable figure. It only works with certain products. I for one don't like to pre-order any product til I see it available in the shop.

  • Dr_Loco (25 posts), 403 days ago

    I agree with you WTD that locos from both companies are of very good quality. But the detail bits of Hornby are more fragile and also its quality control. I'm sure you've heard stories about the loco shell issues with Hornby but not as much with the blue box company

  • Dr_Loco (25 posts), 403 days ago

    For once I thought I dhould join the debate.
    Repatriating Hornby Production back to UK won't be as straight forward as one might think.
    Firstly, Hornby needs to find a new factory perhaps refurbished the old Margate may do.
    Secondly Hornby needs to train new workers especially to fit the extra bits to the locos, coaches and wagons. This will take time with long learning curve. Thirdly, Hornby needs to bring back all the moulds that have been used in China. I can only guess that some of them are owned by Hornby and some by Sanda Kan. So Hornby will have to either buy or make new one. This is the expensive part or the stumbling block I guess.
    We all complained about the low quality control with the Chinese products. How come B*mann products seem to be more superior than Hornby?? They are been made in the same factory!!. The answer .... I guess its because the factory is owned by B*mann who would obviously look after its own product first. It's not Hornby's fault for using this factory in the first place because it was owned by independent person until B*mann bought it few years ago.
    The option for Hornby now is to either find a new supplier in China or bring back the production with high initial cost but in a long run the second option will stabilise Hornby (like Roco). Transferring the production to another country such as India will involve the same issue with the 'moulds'. It is not an easy solution as Hornby is making a loss so it needs to convince the Bank for the high loan if it decides to bring the production back to UK. It would have been a lot easier if all the moulds are owned by Hornby in the first place ( I stand to be corrected on this issue).
    I was also told by my LHS about the Skaledale product where the guy who has been making them had left and gone to work with B*mann. By the way, B*mann parent company's profit has also been affected by the economic downturn. It appears that the Chairman has to pump in some of his wealth back into the company (based on its annual report)

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