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Thread: Conundrum i need some thoughts and advice on.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Conundrum i need some thoughts and advice on.

    I have wrestled with this problem for a few days now and just keep going in circles so i was hoping the collective brain trust here can help me break free.

    This problem involves a product i have need of for a new venture i am getting up and running. Its key to my venture. I can source alternatives but they limit my idea and flexibility so i am not keen to go down that route yet.

    The product is supplied by a US company and they in turn have plastic parts of it outsourced to China.

    So here is the problem. I ordered and recieved the largest unit this company has of this particular product. Started testing and found a bunch of issues.

    Prior to even recieving the item i had written and explained my purpose for purchasing their product and my intended application and future need and got to be provided with a contact point one up from CSR. Even after i requested contact with the owner.

    Anyhow i subsequently brought to their attention the issues involved and got a response which at the time was that they had so many issues they had decided to suspend sales and refunded my money telling me i could keep or throw away their product.

    Well that did not make me happy but thats not the point. I had still lost in the deal shipping and brokerage had cost me $200 which was not being reimbursed.

    So this happened last year and later i check to see their site once again offering the item. In fact they never suspended sales.

    Well at the time i left it with the holidays and other things taking priority but decided a few days ago to follow up with them.

    I had subsequently used my knowledge of plastic part manufacturing and resolved the issues that matter and was keen to see if they had done the same meaning i could go ahead and order more of the product.

    Well sadly i got a response which to put it mildly blew me over. Turns out management of the company decided they were not going to be doing anything to the product and were merely going to deal with issues on an as and when basis and resolve them as they come up.

    So i can get my hands on more of the product, then spend time to take each unit apart and file and fix and go ahead with my own use but my brain says this is totally stupid.

    The problems involve "flash" and tooling issues which i know are relatively easily fixed. Heck i have had enough involvement with plastic tooling in my time to know this blindfold.

    By the looks of this companies range of products this is the first one that has involved tooling of this kind. Its not complex tooling just clamshell stuff but most of their stuff in the past has involved cutting and drilling not actual molding.

    The conundrum is i have considered sending them a detailed report with the neccessary fixes and even recommendations on what needs to be done and would happily do so for free just to be able to get product in future with no issues. But the other side of the coin is i would hate to have done all that work and find it falls on deaf ears like appears to be the case with the first time i raised the problems.

    Swimbo says dont give them anything, just fix the ones you buy. This is near impossible for me to accept its so far from my business nature i cannot grasp doing it. I would do it if it were a temp need and have done things like this in the past but for a new business on an ongoing basis i just cannot see myself working with a company with this mentality.

    So any thoughts on how you would approach resolving it.

    My nature says get on a plane go to see them directly after having tracked down the real owner as opposed to the General Manager. But problem is right now i am not in a position to cut a deal for large quantity to make getting attention meaningful.

    I simply cannot get passed their shortsightedness. Sorry i know there are no details here about the product and the company but its the behavior i am trying to tackle. So far i have not been aggressive. I really like the product, think the world of it and cannot see the competitive ones in the same light.

    Thanks for any input or ideas. This one has me flummoxed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Let me restate this to see if I got it correctly.

    You want to start a business venture that requires a product from another company. This product from this company is the best available but it has issues. The company is unwilling to address those issues to your satisfaction. Your new venture is stymied until this can be worked out.

    Rob, my friend, if this is the case, I have a question. I was under the impression that you are a pretty savvy business guy, so I am a bit mystified. Why would you rest the success of your new venture in the hands of someone else, especially someone who has a different agenda? Obviously for you to control the success of your venture you need to control the essentials of it.

    I have a couple of ideas but won't offer them here, because I could be missing some important information. And I understand the confidentiality issues as well. You are always welcome to email, not PM, me. PM'ing is too clunky for me. Hate it.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Sadly, I agree; your venture will be built on unstable ground if the "best" supplier is poor. I assume the capitol required to have this particular item made is a non-starter. I therefor assume the item is an assembly and not just a part that you could have fabricated. As you say; a conundrum.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    youre a new business for them and perhaps, and Im only guessing, manufacturers just dont want to get invovled with any type of retooling or adjusting for some small business start up. Im sure if you were talking about sending them a 10 or 20 million dollar check, theyd be right on it and have it corrected in 1 day.
    Human Test Dummy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I'd say get a hold of the owner and see if he's got the integrity to listen to a customer and feedback you have to offer, regardless of if you are a large account for him or not. Either way, you know where at least this bump in the road lies and can plan for it if you have to stay on that road.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Southeast Pa
    I'd say run don't walk as far and as fast from this company as you can. If the problems are as trivial to solve as you say there has to be a company somewhere that can deal with this item and be more motivated to solve issues..
    At worst you could buy direct from the far east and skip the middle man and their lack of interest in problem solving. This guy here started pretty small and now has some pretty exotic items produced for his line in the far east..

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Different line of thinking here Rob.
    You say that...."This problem involves a product i have need of for a new venture i am getting up and running. Its key to my venture. I can source alternatives but they limit my idea and flexibility so i am not keen to go down that route yet"

    If it's the key to your success in this venture and if it only takes a short time to rectify the problems with the quality of a few of the parts, then I would go for it.

    I would venture to guess that people adapt products to fit their needs all the time.

    If you are determined to make this venture a success than you should spend the time and energy to make it one. Just be sure that by fiddling with their product that they can't sue you if things go wrong.

    After you order a few more of these things you will have the leverage to insist they fix the issues or give you additional discounts because you fix them yourself.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  8. #8
    I agree with Gary, run away. If my name is being put on a new product, I would keep searching until I found what I needed. As for giving them your years of knowledge for free, Well, let's just say that you know what my answer would be
    Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes!

    The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Well if the end product is worth the effort then I say fix the ones you get. Look at it as a way to make sure no one can copy the product you market cause if they try they will get the product with the same defect and may not know as much as you do so they won't be able to fix it.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Thank you all for all your replies. Pretty much you have all got a piece of my thoughts.

    I have one real big weakness, i have a habit of falling in love with a product.

    I have done my tests and decided to go in two directions. Ordered one solution from a competitor and at the same time did a bunch of tests on the one i like and now as Darren said will get hold of the actual owner something i had planned on doing right up front but have left to later.

    I will set up to fix and mod if they aint gonna listen but i checked them out some more and this seems very out of character so i smell a little rat something like someone is trying to cover up something within the organization.

    I can tell you this is going to be a great business. Still doing what i normally do but this is gonna be my hobby business and my contribution to job creation for the millions that are unemployed.

    I genuinely appreciate all the input sometimes one needs to hear a bunch of views from others just to shake down a problem.

    Allens dead right, right now i am "International Business" to a US company. Many in the US dont seek "International Business" so dont wonder why China is taking away much of global growth. Thats just about all they do seek.

    Second i am a start up. Yeah while i personally am in business and have been involved in business, this new entity is an unknown quantity. I used to get this kind of one off interest as well and while you take it seriously you are not going to rearrange the farm just to accomodate the one off. When the one off puts up then you can make changes.

    So at the point i am ready they will get a wack of an order that will make them stand up and take notice of Canada as a territory. Here we all think the US economy is battling.

    Those who have said modify the parts thats exactly what i intend to do. Been down that road before which is why i am comfortable doing it. I know it sounds crazy to some but its not uncommon practice .

    BTW for those interested this device is patented and while i could reengineer etc and make my own, i have one thing that will go to the grave with me and that is integrity. Yeah it might one day see me starve but thats not in my belief system. So i respect the laws of intellectual property rights. I know its fair game to take what they have done and come up with a better mousetrap but its not worth it yet and in my business plan i have an evolution to the business that means i dont need the moustrap at a point in time.

    There are other ways when dealing with a patent. Its worth knowing patent laws fully, patents are not a one sided affair. There are daily cases of people granting people rights from a patent in exchange for a fee or royalty.

    I still believe one can do a honest business deal, make money and survive. When i have proven that to be wrong i think soylent green then has the answer with that special pill of theirs.

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