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It seems to be working for the new "leaner" MTH and Lionel right now, but there's no way of predicting that the current pace can be maintained.

Time will tell.

However, if everything becomes short custom production runs, how long before production scheduling becomes unmanageable?  One of the things yet to be seen is if this recent flurry of "customs" consistently delivers on time.

Rusty

MTH should be OK with only custom runs. He’s already made his millions and no longer needs a large staff to help run the business. His new focus is most likely not focused on new Ogaugers entering the hobby. I think Lionel on the other hand still needs the catalog as to continue to bring in new customers. Most likely custom runs are only catering to an already established customer and not bringing in new customers.

Custom runs alone would not be sustainable for brick and mortar dealers, so they'll need, at least in three rail O gauge, a full line manufacturer with planned production, as is the Lionel model, and the old MTH, K-Line, Weaver and Williams models.   Less than 1% of Lionel's production is custom runs is my guess. This period of custom runs only by MTH likely is a transition phase in the eventual disappearance of MTH as a train importer.  The tooling will all be sold eventually to others or leased by Chinese factories to other American importers.  Maybe a year or two at most is my guess, if that long.

Last edited by Landsteiner

Why would you need a printed catalog.  People today are willing to accept an 'e' edition of whatever the magazine happens to be.  How many people now prefer an 'e' edition of their newspaper.  Even Harbor Freight no longer sends a catalog.  The 'deals' are on line.  There is even a thread on this site about what to do about all those old magazines, etc.

I can even now purchase digital 'Art'.  After I purchase the art the artist promises to destroy all of the pixels.

It will not be long before it will be illegal to purchase anything in the printed form.  We need every tree to breathe for us and with global warming there will be fewer trees.  Shortly it will be unAmerican to possess anything printed.  Oh, right, I remember seeing that movie many years ago F451.



As for 'custom' runs.  Seems like a pretty good way to stimulate demand.  The fewer there are the more likely they are to sell out.

"Also, is the printed catalog dead"

I've commented on this before, but again: I shop from a paper catalogue, not the e-catalogue. I do look at the e-cat when it first comes out, several times. Then I seldom look at it again. Since there were no Lionel/MTH paper catalogues this year, I "forgot" to buy anything. I was not given the pleasure of sitting at my table in the morning. cup of coffee at hand, and turning the pages. A pleasant experience, which a mouse and a screen cannot give, and I simply enjoy it. That's just me, but "me" has the money to buy. I do believe that many of the older customers, and we are a lot of the customer base, enjoy the physical, paper catalogue shopping. Maybe if I spent more than 2 hours on the computer per day....but I do not.

Yeah, I know about printing and mailing costs. That's not rocket surgery. The thing is, e-cats become part of the Internet static almost immediately for me, and I soon forget them. That paper catalogue by the cup of coffee - that called to me every morning, and typically until I bought something, even if it was not a 2K loco. It was part of the tactile enjoyment of this hobby.

Change. Progress. Not synonyms.

Why would you need a printed catalog.  People today are willing to accept an 'e' edition of whatever the magazine happens to be.  How many people now prefer an 'e' edition of their newspaper.  Even Harbor Freight no longer sends a catalog.  The 'deals' are on line.  There is even a thread on this site about what to do about all those old magazines, etc.

I can even now purchase digital 'Art'.  After I purchase the art the artist promises to destroy all of the pixels.

It will not be long before it will be illegal to purchase anything in the printed form.  We need every tree to breathe for us and with global warming there will be fewer trees.  Shortly it will be unAmerican to possess anything printed.  Oh, right, I remember seeing that movie many years ago F451.



As for 'custom' runs.  Seems like a pretty good way to stimulate demand.  The fewer there are the more likely they are to sell out.

I can look at a catalog online, but prefer a hard copy. With no train shops within 100 miles, I get tired of looking at digital everything. I prefer the printed catalogs, magazines, books etc..

Joe Gozzo

We need every tree to breathe for us and with global warming there will be fewer trees.  Shortly it will be unAmerican to possess anything printed.

Absolutely right, we need more trees, but paper production doesn' t work that way. Trees are harvested, like crops, and are continuously replanted by producers to replace the trees that are harvested.

This from TGW:

Misconception 1: Making Paper Destroys Forests

This is a common misconception. Yes, it’s true that paper requires cellulose pulp and fibers from trees, and trees remain the most popular source of cellulose for paper products. However, modern paper companies are a far cry from the clear-cutting loggers of the past.

Think about it – companies like Domtar, Verso, Sappi, International Paper, and other paper companies rely on the forest for the continued success of their business. How would it be in their best interest to destroy forests with no intention of replacing the trees that are used to make paper? Sustainability of harvestable areas is crucial to the long-term survival of any paper company, and that means that sustainable, managed forests are crucial to the business model of each and every paper manufacturer.

The harvested areas for paper companies are also known as “managed forests”. Essentially, detailed models are built that allow trees to be harvested sustainably. For each tree that is cut down, several are planted or naturally regrown in its place, at a rate that keeps the environment stable.

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