Joined: 15 Jan 2004
|Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:56 am Post subject: 2019/11/26
|Dear MODRATEC Shop Newsletter Subscriber,
MODRATEC NEEDS YOUR BRIGHT IDEAS!
The bottom line is that I have made the decision that MODRATEC cannot continue as it is.
I am finding that the stress of trying to keep on top of the manufacturing side of the business is threatening my health. You may not realise that I personally make almost every component of every lever frame and every WIT part that MODRATEC sells. Very little is outsourced. This is a "cottage industry" based in our garage.
I have reached a stage in my life when most people have fully retired.
I could do that by simply "pulling the pin" on MODRATEC. But I know that our many clients believe in the MODRATEC lever frame and interlocking system, and I don't want to let you down.
That is why I need your bright ideas.
How can I reduce my work load without disappointing our customers?
One obvious answer is to sell the business, but this is very much a business of niche products for a very limited market. A buyer would need to be as obsessed as I am with railway signalling principles and their application to model railways. They would also need to recognise that this business is not so much about profit as it is about service.
Another possibility that often percolates in my brain is that our products may better suit a cooperative approach - a MODRATEC club whose members use their varied skills, tools, and talents to develop, market, and manufacture. Such a club would ideally be international. Anyone familiar with MERG (merg.org.uk) will see how a club approach to model railway technologies can work very successfully.
And you may have many more fresh ideas.
I am an engineer and designer. I am not a marketer or an entrepreneur. I don't have pots of money with which to buy expertise. That is why I need your help in the form of ideas about how to allow MODRATEC's technologies to persist.
It shocked me to discover that I had not sent out a newsletter for almost exactly three years! That, in itself, is symptomatic of why it is crunch time for me and for the business. Much has changed in three years. My wife and I have packed up a house and a workshop and relocated. We have set up (ongoing!) a new home. We have set up (ongoing!) a new workshop. We have built sheds and a large pergola. We have paved. We have dug garden beds. We have planted and tended. And I've aged three years - at least!
I feel exhausted all over again just reminding myself of all that activity. I'm sure that you will understand that, as a result of the last three years, it has not been possible to offer the high level of service to our customers that had previously been our hallmark. We have several orders that are significantly delayed, and I feel really bad about that. There have been health impacts - nothing too severe - but these can all be traced back to the stress that the business is generating for me, and suggest very strongly that it's time for change.
I'm not asking anyone to feel sorry for me. I am simply telling it how it is and seeking any thoughts that you may have about how to keep MODRATEC alive.
Our customers are a very varied group. There are currently nearly 3,500 of you registered with us. You come from all over the world, predominantly from UK, continental Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. That is why I expect great ideas to come forth.
I really look forward to your responses. Please feel free to spread the word.
Keep sending the right signals!
All the best from "modadmin"