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 Post subject: Re: The Prop Shop...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:58 am
Posts: 10910
Location: Denmark
The market actually is there. There are just some things that these prop companies need to have in place before starting offering props - an actual plan; not reaching wider than they can manage, get proper customer service running, and have back-up plans for runs gone wrong. You definitely need something easy to make and easily sell-able to get funds in for larger product runs. It also seem that there is anything really saved by using Chinese companies - no offense meant - but it seems that time and time again that there are issues with the company not doing things properly, a super long learning curve, and so on.

I guess the companies need to think smart instead of what they are doing, as it seems they keep making the same mistakes as the last one - and overselling a product as something it actually turns out it isn't. Sure, the license costs are enough to break a company, and runs gone wrong can really set a company back a great deal. The market isn't too small, but yes, the prices on The Prop Shop stuff was way too high. eFX prices things really low considering what they were offering, but I still think the dome issue on their Vader releases took out a huge chunk of their finances that they wanted to invest in getting other things ready and had them limping onward from then.

Sure, it's easy for me to sit here and act all wise regarding this. I've never run a company, and I'm sure it's really hard to get product out on a timely manner, but other companies do not get the same kind of leeway from their customers as prop companies do. Something definitely needs to be done, so we can keep prop companies available to offer accurate items and not imploding on themselves leaving so many customers out of their hard earned cash.


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 Post subject: Re: The Prop Shop...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:56 pm
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Location: Germany
In short...they just need a management who know's how the shit needs to be done. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: The Prop Shop...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:21 am
Posts: 730
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
That is a very rare commodity.

My most recent job was with a small manufacturing company that did a great deal of business with China so I can see exactly what companies like Anovos are going through -- it's an almost impossible situation -- and our management knew what it was doing. Back on the "old" RPF Steve Dymszo posted a fantastic write up about what it was like at Master Replicas working with their suppliers and it's almost miraculous that we ever got anything from MR.

I can completely see how, even within an established big business handling things internally, setting up such a peculiar business model as The Prop Shop could take a nose dive. I absolutely agree that it was their insane price structure that brought them down. I have no doubt that they did a full analysis that lead them to those prices and they were fully justified by their accountants.

Not to go too far off topic -- as much as I can empathize with what Anovos is going through I can't defend the situation that they've put themselves in. At least they are making an attempt at communication and transparency but they've still got a loooooong way to go to rebuild the trust that they've lost and I hope they are able to make it. Part of the problem is that in addition to, and because of, the mess that they've made for themselves they are also having to overcome the bad taste left by the failure of "industry" and hobby as a whole, if you will -- Icons, bad private product runs, etc.

It's funny to read now about how great MR was -- the rose tinted glasses are on in spades. If you go back to look at vintage threads all you read about MR at the time are threads tearing them apart with usual complaints about accuracy, shipping problems, product timelines, etc. So the rose colored glasses are on because ultimately MR delivered -- it may not have been100% what was promised, but they delivered. Maybe now that we've had time to look back at things we are realizing that they were great after all.


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 Post subject: Re: The Prop Shop...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:49 pm
Posts: 57
"Member berries...............


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 Post subject: Re: The Prop Shop...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:38 pm
Posts: 885
Location: Dracula's Castle
MR was far from perfect, but they indeed delivered. And their products were pretty good, reasonably accurate, and if damaged, you would get a replacement/refund easier than with EFX.


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 Post subject: Re: The Prop Shop...
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:26 pm
Posts: 644
Location: Dallas, TX, USA
Add Don Post Studios to the list of companies gone bye-bye in part because of outsourcing to China. While the company had been sold in 2010, the final comeback attempt by Don Post as a brand failed following a poor showing of their product line in 2012:

http://monstermasks.blogspot.com/2012/09/rip-don-post-studios.html

I've purchased direct from sellers in China for a few retail purchases. Often the initial products as reviewed on youtube look and preform great, but subsequent products sold are of low quality or comprised of cheaper or different parts, or are poorly manufactured. Then it's lets-make-a-deal to negotiate what refund is due (rarely a 1-1 replacement or full refund is offered). And for almost half of those purchases I had to invoke the ebay, paypal, or credit card guarantees for refund for products that never arrived. I rarely purchase direct from China now.

There seems to be little or no regard for quality assurance, product data management (i.e. consistent Bill of Materials, product revision tracking), hardware or software configuration management. And if there's a way to save a penny, they'll do it, even if it means a huge hit on performance or reliability. Guarantees or adherence to agreed upon contract terms? Forget it. Everything is subject to change and renegotiation.


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 Post subject: Re: The Prop Shop...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:18 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:26 pm
Posts: 644
Location: Dallas, TX, USA
Initially The Prop shop said their products would be "Made to order at Propshop in Pinewood Studios". Was a decision later made to outsource to China? If so, they would have been better off closing ahead of such a decision. The finishing work in particular requires it be done by a true craftsman to meet customer expectations at this price level. Until 3D printing technology can produce a complete, finished product at the push of a button, outsourcing of such products to the unskilled isn't viable. Hindsight is 20/20, but management should have had 20/20 foresight of the same.


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