What’s Up With the Ship Model Building Marketplace?

Some readers of this article may find this very provocative but need to say it. After spending 30 years building ship models, and twelve years selling hobby-ridden radio control and wooden ship models, I think there are some disappointments that never go into the ship model building industry.

let’s face it; The ship model manufacturing business operates as a niche industry. Nonetheless, radio controlled and wooden ship models are very important for hobbyists. Rich in history, technical challenges, and a form of art and heritage; Ship modeling is a very beneficial hobby. The ship model market, by its nature, serves to cater to a much smaller group of like-minded people with a specific passion. It is characterized by high prices, limited availability and limited manufacturer’s model options. And, to be proud of those kits rely heavily on our skills and innovations as builders to complete historically accurate ship models.

Let’s do a little investigation of the manufacturing and distribution chain.

Manufacturers of ship model kits and fittings often temporarily remove popular ship model kits from the market place, redesign them, and then reintroduce them. For what reasons would the manufacturer have to do this? Have you ever considered any of these possibilities to remove ship models from the construction chain? 1. Improve the overall quality of the kit? 2. Respond to customer comments about manufacturing difficulties in a particular ship model? 3. Reduce manufacturing costs? 4. Locate the Re-creation Center? 5. Add additional features? 6. Improve plans, sketches, or instructions? While the kit can be removed for any of the above reasons; Ship model makers are facing the same economic realities as other types of industry. Often times, this is the bottom line one has to register most strongly with a construction company. In strong terms, the reason is that we are also known to increase profit margins because we need to “make more money”!

Do not get me wrong; All manufacturers have to take reasonable advantage to stay in business. Most manufacturers of ship models offer a good quality product for a reasonable price. They need to pay a little more attention to the needs of the builders. This will definitely help in increasing the share of hobbies and their market.

Another disappointment for builders is manufacturers still providing only die-cut parts in their ship model kits. Die-cut parts have a tendency to become less precise with a greater number of parts produced and are often difficult to work with. Obtaining a die-cut nail from a 1/8 “thick piece of basewood without significant reductions can sometimes be enough to drive a builder to close the shop for the night. Listen to the kit manufacturers; If you are going to get into it. Businesses then do themselves and their customers a huge favor and get some laser cutting machinery! Or think ahead and investigate the possibilities of 3D printers.

Then there are manufacturers who give you materials that are almost impossible for the average ship model builder to work with. For example, some kits provide wires that are to be divided into chain assembly parts. This is a sure way to shut down the novice builder. Shut down the builders and look at the niche market we occupied, make my friends even smaller.

The reason DISTRIBUTORS exists is to represent and consolidate products from multiple manufacturers under one roof, providing an inventory, warranty and technical support system, often in a different country or continent than the manufacturer. The addition of the supply chain should enable smaller retailers to improve their competitiveness.

One frustration in this system, with today’s emphasis on Internet sales, is the distributor that competes with the retailers it wants to support. This can reduce supply, increase prices, and lead to an unfair (for the consumer) marketplace.

And, while the global market has allowed us to shorten all distribution cycles and become more price conscious and value savvy, it has also become a thorn in the side of the retailer, especially the small businessman. As we have continued to move inventory out of bricks and mortar buildings and retailers in the ‘cloud’, stock levels in North America have seen significantly lower levels. Cost concerns have prompted manufacturers to lower wage levels, lower health benefits, and source manufacturing in long-working countries. Unfortunately, these steps have also provided barriers to effective and efficient information related to product availability and long-term delivery in some cases.

To address product availability, long lead times, high shipping costs and highly price conscious retailers (as an extension of their customers), distributors are taking steps to improve their ability to provide cost-effective products Huh. Sometimes, in a smaller market (like Canada), this can mean limited supply of product in the warehouse, longer ordering cycles, and longer shipping to take advantage of low-cost transportation systems. is.
And we retailers are not all saints either.

Some retailers are known to dramatically increase their list prices and then offer a staggering 60% or more of ad sales from MSRP. I know I am attracted by a 60% savings sign! I also know that I need to be aware of the ‘real’ regular price, what other retailers are offering for the same item and how the service differs between retailers. The net effect of this confusion is an inflated advertising discount that end users must leave – you – with a bad taste in their mouth and a determination to avoid retailers who try to put one on you.

Ah, the Internet! Such an amazing device, it has opened up never before seen supply chains. It offers the consumer a chance to browse without the comfort of their living room. But what about the consumer who lives in a rural area, who cannot get a partner high-speed service? Or a consumer who is without access to the Internet? Or a customer who wants to touch and browse? These customers are often overlooked in our race to go digital.

There are many fly-by-night radio-control and wooden ship model retailers. They have no print catalogs for customers, they have no in-house stock, they are not ready to ship samples, and they do not accept returns without expensive restocking and handling fees. And last of all – the minimum shipping cost that does not reflect the true cost of the shipping products you ordered. Many of them provide poor customer service, only by email, make no warranties on the products they sell, do not follow customer service, and only rarely do you stick with any retail specialist. Enthusiasts enthusiastic about the ship’s model find retailers to answer technical questions. . If you do not have a computer or are not comfortable using this technique, you may have a hard time being able to enjoy the great hobby of ship model building.

Now, suppose you manage to get someone over the phone to a hobby shop. With whom are you speaking? Could it be a ship model builder, a full-time full-time employee who understands the ship model Hobby World, a small-business owner, a part-time student? Most likely you will be talking to a part-time employee or a small business owner, and while the owners and employees have a vested interest in your business, they do not always have the experience to provide your concerns or personal ship model is. And parts and fitting search services. Sometimes they can’t even get replacement parts from manufacturers for you (see information about manufacturers and distributors above)! The hobby market has changed in recent years and most hobby businesses are for the general consumer. In other words, their focus is elsewhere and this is because the sale of ship model kits, fittings, parts and accessories is a very small part of their overall business.

Look for a retailer that will provide products at a reasonable price that have both digital and print presence, are ship modelers themselves and are enthusiastic about hobbies. You want to deal with a company that has a history in business, and responds to your phone calls and emails in a timely fashion; A company with a single manufacturer’s product lines, an extensive distribution network, and a ship model building focus. When you find a company like that, don’t lose their contact information!

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