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beech1948

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I was trying to order a low angle block plane from Brimarc yesterday...for myself...not as a Xmass presy thank god.

Ordered via internet to dealer. Next morning Brimarc phoned to say that they had'nt got any in the country...next delivery was January...probably the end of.

During the discussion it transpires that getting deliveries from LV is a real pain for Brimark. Now I don't want to cause any issues between Brimarc and LV here but it seems to me that there are a few issus.

1) Deliveries from LV are intermittant. Why is this. Surely stock control and making to fulfill that stock would resolve the issue or can not LV manage this.

2) Delivery from LV of many new products must strain their own foundary resources...and it is easy to see where new versus old product manufacturing clashes might begin to cause delivery problems.

So Rob. Whats going on. Can't LV keep up. Have you enough foundary/manufacturing resources available. Why is it so difficult to buy stuff in the UK. That is because its not readily available. I feel fairly certain that it's not Brimarc although I could be wrong

By the way. I am sure that you are probably upset by this email given your reputation for customer care. I would say that Brimarcs attention to me over a small order for LA block was exemplarary, offered choices and allowed me to make a decision. I am sure you would do the same.

But isn't customer service also about having product ready to purchase, available when required and without long supply delays.
 

MikeW

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I shouldn't touch this with a ten-foot pole, but I've never been known for smarts...

I know next to nothing about the LV-Brimarc issue. What I do know is about shipments to European distributors as regards a company I use to work for.

The shipments by boat--and I don't know if that is how Brimarc does it--begin weeks ahead. If something does not make the shipment, it waited until the next shipment is fulfilled, often triggered to the dollar amount of the order in order keep cost of per-unit shipping down.

So if a dealer placed an order following a previous one that had already sailed, it waited until enough items are ordered before being sent.

This also applied to orders shipped via air, but the order/ship trigger was smaller.

Doesn't help much, I'm sure. And like I said, I have no idea if this applies to the LV-Brimarc situation.

Ordering via the web or phone direct, of course, is faster for the individual but more expensive.

Take care, Mike
 

beech1948

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Mike,
Valid points. I agree with you.

I think what I am getting at though is that once planned these things should just happen. I have taken this particular line re manufacturing resources simply because of the tenor of the chat with Brimarc.

Planning ahead to have stuff to sell is obviously a Brimarc/LV joint task. But if LV can't make it and don't have it to ship then shortages happen in the UK...I'm just asking...why. After all I can go get an LN today from Axminster..I called to check.
 

MikeW

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Yep, supply can be an issue--but ordering stock to have on-hand is the vendors issue.

I just checked, and the LA block is in stock ready to ship, so LV has them. It's the vendor who doesn't. Perhaps they need to order more stock in anticipation. Which is a two-edged sword. Sitting on inventory that doesn't move is expensive.

Anyway, I hope you get it sorted out. It really is a nice little plane...and one I didn't sell in my quest for less.

Take care, Mike
 

Rob Lee

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Hi -

Firstly - let me say that replying to this is a no-win for me...I cannot/will not comment on the specifics of your post - but I will add a few generic comments...

Lee Valley is a retail company - and buys product from Veritas Tools on the same basis as anyone else does... orders are filled on a FIFO basis...Lee Valley has "nothing" to do with Brimarc....

Veritas Tools manufacturers more than 500 products...and works on production planning months in advance, building to orders, and forecasts....we do not build large amounts of excess inventory on spec.

Cheers -

Rob Lee
(wearing the President - Veritas Tools hat at the moment....)
 

frank

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beech have you tried to order from anyone else, at the shows brimark seemed to be short of a few bits and bobs, if you want it we will take your order and post it i heard on the stand .
can you not order direct ??it will take about 6 weeks

frank
 

LyNx

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Beech, not much help, but i waited nearly 5 weeks for my apron plane. But after receiving and finished looking at it for 4 hours :shock: i realised that the wait is worth it. I've got a LA smoother being ordered and know i'm not going to see it until late feb, but it's going to be worth the wait

Andy
 

engineer one

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rob is right not to go into the specifics, but it is very easy for us furriners
to mis understand the mechanics of shipping from the US.

take an example, one of the reasons in the old days that we used to
get most american magazines overhere, of any kind, was that the
publishers in the US would send them to a consolidator who would
then sell them for use as ballast on ships coming to the UK, a mate used
to work for the importer, who found the economics were strange and
even with free mags, they made no profit. go figure.

anyway back to the real problem, for brimarc i would suggest that they
have to try and ensure that there cash flow is always as positive as possible, to having dead stock is a no no, if possible, but how do you know
what is going to sell and in what quantities. who'd have thought the apron plane which i too own, would be such a good seller, but the gamble is for how long will it sell like this.

to order from any overseas country you almost certainly have to allow at least 14-28 days for the money to get through, because few people will supply you from overseas on credit, even a letter of credit requires you
to block the amount of money which you cannot then use for the rest of your business. then once the order is placed it will take up to say 28-60 days for it to be consolidated into a container load which is economical to buy, in relation to the terms of shipping costs, customs costs, and then duty and clearance costs. Gordon Brown wants his pound of flesh.

even if Lee Valley has the stock of all things, the process will take a minimum of 6 weeks from start to finish before it lands in UK customs, and then who'd have thought that the damn things would sell like they do?then if like brimarc you also sell to retailers, you must balance the fact that most of them want 45-60 days credit too.

Lee Valley and Brimarc are victims of their own success, but both must be careful to balance cashflow and good stocking levels. For instance how long will the Mk 2 sharpening jig be a fantastic seller since its introduction, how do you judge that???

buying exotica to sell on is a very difficult balancing act, and frankly it is not the fault of either Lee Valley, or Brimarc that there is an imbalance between stock levels in the UK, and the client's wish to buy. although Lee Valley produce 500 odd items, even they need some guidance to determine the production schedule, and generally can only go on past guesses for new products. Then they produce a block buster, and having no historic data, must guess, this is where the difficulty lies.

i mean seriously who would have thought a block plane could be such a good seller?

i think that having talked at length to both Martin at Brimarc, and then Rob at Lee Valley, these guys deserve our respect for putting the products out in the market place, and often the wait is worth it. Why not set up a standing order with Brimarc, then you could know that all the new stuff would be available to you, BUT would you want to buy it all??

One of my other clients for my other business has items that have been in limited production for 10-15 years, and they never stop selling, yet other things come and go. customers are just so fickle.

Most woodworkers seem to take a time to make their decisions about products to buy, seems a shame to puppy when it is not then available immediately, you have to share some of the blame too. (and by you i mean all of us).

Maybe it is all actually the fault of ALF, if he did not do such good reviews, then we would not want to buy :lol: :lol: :lol:

Anyone who makes a living by selling a product or service to others must understand the problems of balancing demand with cashflow and not having dead stock. i know it is frustrating, but it does require a sense of balance.

No i am not employed by either Lee Valley, or Brimarc, but they both seem to me to be the kind of companies i want to support both by buying products from and through them, but also where i think they are being unfairly knocked.
 

Alf

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beech1948":mdetq3l0 said:
After all I can go get an LN today from Axminster..I called to check.
As Pauline points out, having a history of what's likely to sell most helps them a good deal in this respect. Axminster have been stocking LNs for a good few years now, and should know just what stock they're likely to need. Having said which, it's not unknown for them to trip up either. Viz: special deals selling out vs. surplus of calendars. :wink: LN also hasn't been adding quite so many new products to their line all at once, with the subsequent strain on existing production.

But yes, it's incredibly frustrating to be all ready with the necessary lettuce, only to find no chance of instant tool gratification. It's certainly pretty frustrating to those wanting to sell you something in exchange for that lettuce, I'm sure. I can understand both sides difficulties, and to be honest the only solution seems to be to tow Canada over a bit closer to the UK. Just as long as they don't bring their atrocious winters with them, I can't see any fundemental problem with that. A few technical issues, mebbe... :-k

Anyway, I'd just like to give a big gold star to BriMarc for getting back to you with the bad news themselves, rather than making the dealer do it. =D>

Cheers, Alf
 

beech1948

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As I expected lots of ideas and excuses. I use the excuses word simply to categorise the comments.

Rob: Thanks for comment. You are on a loser here as you point out. The logistics of planning production volumes are as you say dependant upon forecasts/ orders from retailers. However, that still leaves me searching the UK for my LA block plane.

Either the planning between Brimarc and Veritas is poor or just wrong or just lacks courage and conviction.....or you just ain't making enough. Thats seems to be the main issues.

Others: Transport is a non issue and a non excuse. The time needed is well known, is repeated for each load and is planned in. These days such movement of goods is routine and very organised.

Engineer one; Thanks for your list of reasons why business is difficult. Non of the things you list are easy to overcome but in my business and many others we routinely manage the stock vs orders vs buying in new products etc etc. Its not hard its just about planning and a little conviction . I am afraid I see many of your comments as excuses routinely trotted out by businesses..all very British I know. I have 25+years experience of manufacturing and the same for moving £ billions across the Atlantic so I know something of the issues.

Whats interesting about this is that as soon as one gets closer to the commercial issues the smoke screen goes up.

I am still no nearer my objective of finding out why I can't find a LA block anywhere in the UK. Obviously Brimarc as the UK distributor did not understand the likely size of the market....obviously the BRImarc/LV/Veritas delivery forecast was poor....I wait in backordered Hell.

Perhaps its Christmas...ho.ho.ho

As my final comment it has occurred to me that Robs email is perhaps the most useful. By implication he is saying that the issue is caused by Brimarcs ordering or lack of order volume since Rob's company plans manufacturing many months in advance.

best regards and a merry Xmas to all

Alan
 

matt

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I do agree with your use of the word "excuse" and I don't think any of the previous correspondents would take issue with that view either.

I work in "buying" and we get it wrong. Simple as that. If the product is not in the right place, at the right time, at the right price, then it is our fault. By "our" I mean myself, my suppliers/mfrs.

It's increasingly easy to get caught out by unexpected demand and either sell out, leaving gaping holes in the supply chain, or end up with dead stock. The problem with the latter is that the consumer ultimately pays for the reductions to clear the dead stock.
 

Martin Brown

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Thanks for all the posts on this. Clearly we are disappointed that we have this plane out of stock, however when I checked on Friday it was the only plane that we are out of. Answering on Saturday does mean I don't have all the info to hand today. I will PM confirmed delivery details Monday, however see below.

For BriMarc it is not good enough but the truth is we have 95% of the stock correct and keep trying all the time to get it right. It has nothing to do with courage, or money. The stock takes not weeks of planning it takes months. We employ a full time stock ordering co-ordinator so you can see we take it very seriously.

I have just rung D+M and they have them in stock for despatch before Christmas. Ditto Rutlands I believe, can't be certain as they are shut. Buck and Ryan too. Not sure where you tried but they are reputable well known suppliers. Sorry we did not put you in touch, but unless I know the specifics of the conversation it is hard to comment. We do not refer customers from one retailer to another for the obvious reasons. Again I will PM on this.

So to sum up.....

We have tons of stock usually and take great care planning, but cannot get it perfect.

We sell via retailers who are desperate for your business and they are easily found. There is stock out there!

Sounds like we tried hard on the phone, and could have done better.

Martin Brown
 

martyn2

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:D To both Robs and martin's credit to reply on a OPEN forum and to reply to any critisum or comments shows a outstanding level of customer service that is hard to match :D

Martyn :D
 

Martin Brown

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Thanks for that.

I may be old fashioned but where I used to work such sort of correspondence was made to the MD first, who used to come around and clip my ear, then he would reply with a solution like the above.

This post would perhaps have been better a PM first. I enjoy the chance to respond directly.

Martin

PS Gidon sorry to have not replied as promised, but I have one now.
 

engineer one

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sorry alf the operation went wrong, must have been my
mk 11 jig which sharpened the wrong parts of the cutting
equipment.
so back as paul.
i was not looking to make excuses, and i agree bundles of
stuff crosses the oceans daily, but remember the recent
post office scandal where a sub contractor was dumping stuff in
the skip?? even if you have paid for it, someone will try to find a
way around it.

sure english companies make excuses, but so do many american ones
too, i know having worked with some, but what i do know is that to get stock from an american manufacturer to the docks is pretty easy, getting it consolidated and then on a container ship is more of a problem, which can take a long time over which people like brimarc and lee valley have no control.

remember a lot of people even here on the forum think these products are too expensive, if they were airshipped, they would almost double in price.
and still at odd times, someone somewhere would be out of stock.

question does your local Tesco/Asda/ Morrisons always carry all the items you want all the time?. I know mine does not. Why should a tool retailer or importer. all business is a balancing act, and the more successful you are, the more difficult the balancing act, and the more likely to fail, so i say
well done to both for getting to where we are unhappy that they have no stock of only one item.

congratulations to both Brimarc and Lee Valley for responding in the open air, it says much for both companies, and we should be thankful that they are so honest.

all the best for XMAS

paul :ho2 :ho2 :-({|= :eek:ccasion5:
 

woodshavings

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I have to say that it was Rob's participation on this Forum that encouraged me to purchase my first Veritas product last year (Clifton was the competition)

The openness of both Rob of Veritas and Martin of Brimark are outstanding in my opinion - they show exceptional customer service and will certainly get my custom as a result.

I wish both companies a happy Christmas and a successful new year.

John
 

beech1948

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Martyn Brown,
Many thanks for the open reply.

However, the person from Brimarc who called me twice said(twice) that there were no LA blocks in the country, that all retailers had run out of stock and that I would have to wait until the end of January (ish) for a plane.

Current status is that I seem to have picked a retailer who has no stock, Brimarc have protected them...understandable I guess.

I have no time to ring round many retailers...for gods sake.

To now let on that others have stock is ridiculous...why was this not mentioned earlier...I have no particular loyalty to the retailer who I first called...particularly if they have no stock..why was I not referred to a retailer which had stock. I am checking to see if they have removed funds from my credit card account already. IF they have I will immediately cancel the order and obtain a refund.

bah humbug.

I have come to the conclusion that Brimarc's strategy for selling via tool shops just adds confusion. Use the internet to sell directly and possibly even shave a few pounds off tool costs. To try to be seen as the source of imports and not as the seller is too awkward for words.

I am now very angry at Brimarc.

Action to follow when I am calmed down.
 
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