Allen Cain <allencain@...>
I think that Allen (not me) hit this on the head.
What we may be seeing is what is referred to as a "death spiral" downward.
Manufacturers are unwilling to take the risk of producing to stock (which is
the retail business model that this country was built on) so they produce
only what is pre-ordered. As consumers, we want to see what we are buying
before shelling out the money so we are balking at preordering what we would
gladly buy if we could see it first. Few preorders means lost sales for
manufactures means that more will go out of business.
Combine this with aging demographics in this hobby and it does not look to
Better hang onto what you got because the best days of high quality models
produced in quantity may be behind us if manufacturers do not figure out a
way to make money without preorders. I am a Lean Manufacturing professional
and one of the key elements is developing the ability to produce-on-demand.
A manufacturer who figures out how to stock core stock that can be assembled
and painted for various roads at minimal cost while maintaining the quality
we have grown to expect will make money and make his customers happy.
Continuing on the course we are on will eventually fail for all of us.
The Highliner F-Unit kits are great examples of a core engine kit that can
be assembled to accurately represent a variety of roads and phases for
F-units. Assemble these on demand and run them down a paint line that is
designed for rapid change over between paint schemes and you can pump out
F-Units on demand without preorders and zero inventory. This is done in
manufacturing every day by those who follow the principles of Lean
Manufacturing so it is not a new concept.
Of course, this is just my opinion and I may be wrong (my apologies to