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Old 05-18-2004, 02:57 PM   #1
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Selling Engineered Junk

Originally Posted by Rick Alston
Your comment on insulation is right on target!
About your comment on Airstream engineers, I'd like to make an observation. In 1975, I invited Bill Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard to speak at a business club at the university, and he came and was very "entertaining" to us as senior business majors. At lunch, he told me that H-P hand-held scientific calculators were built with obsolescence in the design. This was purposeful, he said, because no company could continue in business without providing customer support and repair service for existing products along with building new and better products. I think the survival of H-P is a clear indication of Bill's business mind.
So, Airstream probably thinks in a similar vain. If Airstream built trailers or motor homes to last "a lifetime", then a good part of its profits from new sales and repair would not happen; thus its survival as a going concern could be questionable.

I pulled this quote from another forum. I thought this would be a good topic for debate. I would like to hear what others think on this subject.
The topic of Selling Engineered Junk has always been one of my hot buttons.
I find it most unfortunate that this attitude exists in the business world today. "Planned Obsolescence" is a bull!@$#$ idea I believe was perfected in American business schools in the 50's and 60's. It is one of the problems with todays businesses in the USA. Build an inferior product, don't supply product support, and what else will the schmucks do? They have to deal with us and buy a new one when the old one wears out. Great attitude!

I for one believe that if you build a well engineered product and give good product support, people will remember when it is time to buy a replacement product.
It may be true, you might miss some sales because people do not need to replace an item as often, but if you offer a better one it will sell.
The idea of people will only buy a new one when the old one wears out, is stupid and short sided, and to make it wear out intentionally is no less than immoral.
A company that garners the support of loyal customers will not go out of business, because of lack of sales and support, it will flourish.
You take your business life in your own hands when you lose the trust of your customer base.

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Old 05-18-2004, 03:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Janet's Husband
I for one believe that if you build a well engineered product and give good product support, people will remember when it is time to buy a replacement product.
It may be true, you might miss some sales because people do not need to replace an item as often, but if you offer a better one it will sell.

ahh, if only it were true. it SHOULD be true. but it isn't.

lots of "better moustraps" went the way of the dinosaur. Still happens all the time, particularly in the computer business. MS's marketing budget is larger than most other companies entire gross income. They are a huge monopoly in so many ways, but they make "the best" of almost nothing, while other truly innovative companies are swallowed up or absorbed.

remember the "beta max"? that was supposed to be "better" than vhs.

I think its funny, all of us who like to play w/ our 30+ year old trailers, making suggestions about how they could have made this or that component or system last longer. ( want 50-year axles, instead of 30-year ones?? ) I suspect that the fact that our 30 year-old trailers exist at all is a mistake. heck, the current ownership of Airstream doesn't want to support anything older than 15 years, never mind 30, 40, 50 year old vehicles. . anything older than that? call Andy at Inland, who knew a good opportunity when he saw it.

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Old 05-18-2004, 07:17 PM   #3
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I posted my thoughts on topic in another thread .

Interesting, I still use my HP calculator purchased in the mid-eighties.

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