Author Topic: Supplier Problems  (Read 602 times)

Offline Jo

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Supplier Problems
« on: June 09, 2021, 07:02:57 AM »
I don't know how others are finding it but over the last year or so I have had no end of problems trying to purchase stuff from our Model Engineering suppliers. Earlier this week I attempted to purchase a set of castings and got the response:

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Our foundry are still taking longer than usual to cast, when we receive sets in they sell out very quickly. Customers pay to reserve a set from the next batch and therefore they go extra quickly
We currently have no stock of the Baileys Bee, If you wish to reserve a set in our next batch we would require a £20 deposit
The wait would be around 3-4 months

I don't know if anyone else has had bad experience with suppliers but in the UK over many years we have a couple of suppliers that have a habit of taking a deposit with the promise you will get the castings in a couple of months.. Months turn into more months  :cussing: , which in turn turn into years  :Mad: Then you finally demand your money back and that is not easy either and you end up in the small claims court...  I'm not playing that game anymore :Director:


I thought you may like to read my response  ::)


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Sounds like both yourselves and the foundry have on going business problems associated with Covid which need to be resolved before either of you are in a position to be able to provide a reliable customer service. Under these conditions it would be foolish of me to pay a deposit as there is a high risk that the items would not be supplied in a timely manner.

I will wait until your business is back on a more sound financial footing and are able to supply from stock, rather than risk the hassle/agro of chasing the on going non delivery of items that I had paid a deposit on which will cause me unnecessary stress.

Jo

P.S. I particularly love their claim "when we receive sets in they sell out very quickly" = "we can sell as many as we get cast" now if that was true wouldn't you increase your order volume  :noidea:
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Offline Jasonb

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2021, 07:39:12 AM »
Well if it's anything like building materials risking your £20 deposit may be the cheaper option as prices are going up at a very fast rate with a lot of things like cement, timber and paint being in short supply. I recently had to take my third choice for some boards as the ones I wanted were not available. The suppliers had had them on order for a long time but until the boat was unloaded at the docks they did not even know what they were going to get so could not put a time on things.

I suppose it depends on how much you (or he) wants the castings, I know Warco are doing similar so if you want one of their lathes or mills that is shown out of stock you need to place an order and wait until it may arrive, no point in just watching the website for them to come back into stock as they are likely to be allocated and sold before they arrive in the UK.

I was in contact with a supplier earlier in the week and he had got castings from two foundries without much of a wait but a third were dragging their heels with an order though they did cast a sample in a very short turn around.

If all else fails you could now 3D print some patterns for the bailey and get your own castings done, no need to go near the brown stuff now ;) Can't remember now if it uses many castings or not, did Anthony scratch build it?

Offline Jo

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2021, 07:55:10 AM »
I had watched the price of building material sky rocket. One wonders what will happen to the cost of those new houses being built locally - I can't see the builders wanting to loose their profit  ::)


If all else fails you could now 3D print some patterns for the bailey and get your own castings done, no need to go near the brown stuff now ;) Can't remember now if it uses many castings or not, did Anthony scratch build it?

Anthony used his favourite foundry to make the original castings - now long since closed down  :(

The model could be made from Bar stock but it is not the same  :hellno: it takes longer and you get those nasty black lines round the parts in a few years time.


The problem with being a pensioner  :old: is you are money rich and time poor so you have to go with the quick and easy way of doing things so Castings are always preferred  :)

Jo

P.S. Not forgetting the threat of building an engine from bar stock causes the sound of little Elephant footsteps in the dark  :facepalm2:
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Offline Jasonb

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2021, 08:12:39 AM »
Looks like most of the fabricated parts of a Bee would end up painted so now tarnished solder joints to worry about but that's just looking at Polly's photo rather than digging out the mags.

Your £20 would also buy a set of Heinrici drawings from Germany if you want to do a concentric engine.

I expect it really comes down to a lot of these engines being slow sellers and the suppliers don't want to tie up lots of capital with castings sitting on the shelf so are almost running to a "cast to order" basis.

Offline Jo

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2021, 08:25:55 AM »
I expect it really comes down to a lot of these engines being slow sellers and the suppliers don't want to tie up lots of capital with castings sitting on the shelf so are almost running to a "cast to order" basis.

I would accept that but they clearly stated: "when we receive sets in they sell out very quickly". If I was running a business I would be keeping track of demand over the years and planning to have stock level meet my expected sales numbers to maximise my profits. The last thing I would want is someone walking away with hundreds of pounds in their pocket that they had just offered to pay me  :hellno:

Jo

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Offline Jasonb

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2021, 08:37:45 AM »
Well I don't know who is buying them :headscratch:

Hot air engines are not as popular as steam by a long way so I would think they only sell a Bee once every few years at best. Even Anthony's more popular designs cant sell that many after the initial rush (well shuffle) when a new design came out.


Online Twizseven

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2021, 03:18:32 PM »
We have just had a three week wait for some composite decking boards.  My landscape guy has been running all round the area to get materials for a number of jobs.

I am currently chasing some castings for one of our mutual friends.  Waiting for a call back from the foundry.

Colin

Offline Jo

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2021, 05:39:15 PM »
We are in a sad place when people like us are trying to spend thousands of pounds and the suppliers do not want to/cannot deliver  :toilet_claw:

I had offered one of the guys in the village the opportunity of an easy CIH job of replacing my 6 internal doors with some nice solid oak ones and he didn't turn up to price it :rant: That was after I couldn't get any plumbers to turn up to quote me to fit a couple of air cons or air/ground source heat pumps  :wallbang:

Jo
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Offline Jasonb

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2021, 06:43:53 PM »
You will have to see if you can get one of these cast, photo posted elsewhere by Mr C earlier today.




Offline Charles Lamont

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2021, 10:57:53 PM »
I would accept that but they clearly stated: "when we receive sets in they sell out very quickly". If I was running a business I would be keeping track of demand over the years and planning to have stock level meet my expected sales numbers to maximise my profits. The last thing I would want is someone walking away with hundreds of pounds in their pocket that they had just offered to pay me  :hellno:
And what if you were hit by a sudden, unpredictable and probably temporary surge in demand just at the moment your supplier becomes unable to deliver in the normal quantity or time? Order lots more stock at premium prices that doesn't get delivered until just when you discover you have flooded your market?

Offline Jo

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2021, 07:14:13 AM »
And what if you were hit by a sudden, unpredictable and probably temporary surge in demand just at the moment your supplier becomes unable to deliver in the normal quantity or time? Order lots more stock at premium prices that doesn't get delivered until just when you discover you have flooded your market?

This Stirling engine design by Anthony Mount that was published nearly 20 years ago in ME on which they make more than 100% mark up on the Foundry price ::)


As JB says there is not a huge market for Stirling engines. My guess is they sell a maximum of half a dozen a year more likely half that - the turn over is low but the profits on each sale is worth the risk of ordering one for the shelf. If you have watched the sales of casting sets on Fleabay of late you will know they are still making good money

Jo
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Offline Jasonb

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2021, 07:44:17 AM »
I don't know what Polly's setup with their foundry(s) is but it is not just the actual cost of the castings that their sales price needs to cover.

Having talked to another supplier about it several years ago he would have to travel to the foundry to collect his castings. This took a whole day and a good tankfull or more of fuel so he would wait until he had a reasonable number of castings wanted and then get a batch done splitting it between ones customers were waiting for plus some for the shelf. That time and travel costs would all need to come out of his sales price. If patterns were not kept at the foundry that would also add to costs as a second trip would be needed. Active business can't get their castings collected and delivered by friends or customers, what would it have cost on some of your recent aquisitions if the cost of taking the patterns to a foundry, collection and delivery had had to be included in the costs?

There is also rent and rates etc as they need somewhere to store castings when they do have them and any royalties or fees paid for the patterns to be spread over a number of sales. Upkeep of websites, wages etc all eat into that 100% mark up. Then there is the fact they have to allow for any increase in costs that the foundry may add to an order unless their conditions of sale say that the price in the catalogue is subject to change which most don't, they just have to take a chance that the price shown will cover any increases.

As Charles says if the increase in forum activity seen on some forums during Covid Lockdown is any indication of workshop activity then there should have been a peak in sales which could be hard to keep up with as foundries may be working at reduced rates or not even open, same with the actual suppliers who may only have a limited number of staff actually working and if there are more profitable aspects to the business then labour will be directed to them not keeping slow sellers on the shelf
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 07:48:36 AM by Jasonb »

Offline Jo

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2021, 07:54:44 AM »
I don't know what Polly's setup with their foundry(s) is but it is not just the actual cost of the castings that their sales price needs to cover.

Their foundry is about 2 miles from their business unit. The total casting stock for the Bruce Engineering stuff takes up about one Dexion rack, in amongst the much larger loco works. They pay Anthony £25 per casting set they sell (actually they only pay for the drawings not the castings if you buy a drawing they will take that cost off the castings if you buy them later but they won't sell you castings without the drawings).

Jo
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Offline Jo

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Re: Supplier Problems
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2021, 10:13:07 AM »
My reply to Polly Wobbles got a response  :) :

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Good afternoon
I think you may have interpreted our response incorrectly

It is down to sheer volume of castings being sold and nothing to do with either ours or the foundry’s financial situations
Over the lockdown period, lots of model engineers bought the castings sets, compounded by the foundry being closed for several months, meaning our stock levels were somewhat depleted

Turnaround from the foundry is still about 3 months, so by asking for a small deposit we have a good idea of numbers of engines to get cast to fulfil customer orders and leave some stock on the shelf

Surus has found his flexible friend :pinkelephant:

Jo
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