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Author Topic: Why I was a loyal Williams customer...  (Read 3779 times)
« on: November 05, 2007, 02:49:07 PM »

Mr Bach Man I would like to voice my opinion of Williams, I hope I am not too forward.

I have been a loyal Williams customer for about five years now. I discovered Williams after getting back into the hobby. I aquired my first Williams engine at an auction, I was immediately hooked. Since then I have been buying mostly Williams engines. I still buy Lionel occasionaly, but Williams has my loyalty.

So, here are a few things I love about Williams:
The Platinum club and the 20% discount.
Direct mail order.
Simple, trouble-free electronics.
A large variety of engines.
Numerous road names.
A mostly unchanged catalog year to year.

What I don't like:
A large number of items on back order or out of stock a lot of the time.
Not enough Louisville and Nashville!

I really think that the Williams name will be a great addition to Bachman. I just hope that in five years time Williams by Bachman will still look like Williams.

Thanks Grin
Atlantic Central

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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 12:16:56 PM »


First let me say that while I am a long time model railroader, I don't own one O guage train or accessory, from Bachmann, Williams, Lionel, etc. I model in HO and have no vested interest in whether or not ANY O gauge train is made, or how it is sold. but I have worked in this business years ago and can share some thoughts.

I Understand your concern and think it is good you shared your thoughts.

On the matter of your other post however, I think the Bach Man is right - give them a chance.

Have you ever started a company? Developed and marketed a product? Took over an existing company and ran it?

The Model train business is small business, even the biggest (Bachmann, Athearn, Walthers, Lionel, MTH, etc) are small companies with limited staff and resources - they are not GM or Toyota.

It will take time to make this transition. Rest assured Bachmann does not want to loose Williams customers, but they must evaluate how they can run Willliams at a profit in the current market and with their resources.

In HO many said the purchase of Athearn by Horizon would be the end of Athearn, but after a few bumps in the road they are stronger and bigger than ever.

We have all become spoiled and want everything yesterday, but some things still take time. Take a deep breath and give them a chance.


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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2007, 06:47:31 PM »

Sheldon, that was a well-thought out response and shows a greater understanding of the business of making trains than many current operators of model trains seem to have.

New tooling and particularily high end product tooling (research, development, design, production mock-ups, molds, paint masks, final packaging) is expensive, and doesn't turn a profit on small production runs. Despite countess commentaries from the CEO's of the various trains companies and the excellent article on the Sanda Kan facility in the OGR Magazine, many just don't seem to get it.  This is well illustrated by the many "please make this" and "why hasn't this been made yet" comments one can read on-line. Most of which border on ridiculous, unpractical and mostly money losers that end up as blowouts. Those folks who want unusual train products that have little broad market appeal should just send a check for several million dollars to their favortite train maker, and they will make them one.

Despite the "wish lists" from a small group of spoiled hobbiests, I do hope that Bachmann will continue the tradition of decent, basic affordable products that they have made. There is already more than enough advanced scale products available, most of which seldom sell more than a couple thousand units, if that. Meanwhile a non-prototypical, traditionally scaled train set can sell in the tens of thousands if not more.

There is far more of a market for the basic, simple, slightly under-scale trains that can run on 027 curves (that the original Williams made) than the voices of a small few on an internet train forum would have one believe.

I trust the good folks at Bachmann already realize much of this. The Plasticville buildings certainly are not full prototypical scale sized, and yet still continue to be in demand.

There is certainly a small determined market for true scale advanced product offerings in 3-rail 0 scale. But those can be rough waters to tread, as those seem to be the modelers who are the most unhappy and unsatisfied with anything that is offered. Meanwhile we toy train guys can be quite content with the non-scale sized 44-ton centercab switcher previously offered by Williams. I don't mind the same truck sides being used on one diesel to another if it helps to keep the retail price down.

Another well known train maker went out of business in large part, attempting to please the smallest, unpleaseable part of the 3-rail market. I boggles my mind how otherwise intelligent people cannot understand how much it costs to develop accurate train replicas with advanced electronics.

Bachmann will decide which track to take the Williams product line. But I trust level heads will prevail, and the product line will remain much the same, if not a little better. Otherwise why would Bachmann purchase the tooling, dies and Williams name, only to toss it aside To start an enitre new line of full-scale detailed products from all new tooling? And whatever new products may get introduced will be well thought out considering real market demand and the best sales potential.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2007, 06:54:34 PM by brianel027 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2007, 01:02:43 PM »

Amen, Brianel!  Amen!

I'm fairly confident that the powers-that-be at Bachmann are savvy enough to know that they have acquired a good and solid line that needs little more than an expanded and more aggressive marketing approach.  And if they read the various forums related to O gauge, they already know full well where they had best keep the emphasis, and what areas to avoid.  At least I hope that's the case.
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2007, 10:01:14 PM »

Hey all.

The other day I was kinda blowing some steam, maybe my apology for venting on the other post wasn't very good. Being a medic has made me a severe pessimist. Not to mention some premature grey hairs.  Grin

But, as for the question above, does helping merge two 911 EMS systems count?

Sorry for being so negative folks.
Atlantic Central

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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2007, 09:28:02 AM »


Apology accepted by me and I am sure by all others. Just remember, you work in a situation where being in a hurry is very important, but running a manufacturing company is a business where being in a hurry can kill you!

Its a tough job you do and I hope trains helps you to relax and unwind.

And remember, they want your business. They are not a big faceless company like a GM or Toyota, they are a handfull of hard working people like you tring to provide a product to their customers in a market that can me very tough and often at low profit margins.


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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2007, 12:26:41 AM »

  Guys,the reasonable prices attracted me to Williams.Then when I opened up the package and it said "Thank you for purchasing a Williams Electric Train" I was impressed with their sincerity.I also played the role of spoiled hobbyist asking Williams to make locos and rolling stock in the Great Northern Big Sky Blue and new Canadian Pacific liveries but it didn't happen.But I've been looking at Bachmann's HO offerings and I get to thinking:An F7 in the Burlington Grayback scheme,a U33c in the Missouri Pacfic scheme,the possibilities are endless. 

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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2007, 11:19:59 AM »

I just want to say why I was a loyal customer.  I liked the robust nature of the locomotives that had little problems.  One of the features of the company that I liked was the platinum club, and the ability to buy trains directly from Williams using the three payment method.  That's how I was able to buy my Hudson - on three payments.  I hope Bachmann continues with a three payment method because the dealers don't have that option available.    Today on this Friday before Christmas I was able to set up a train for the department and I'm using a set of Williams GP-9's in the Canadian National roadname.  I wonder if anyone will buy a train after seeing this one up for two days!  I know some of them will take a trip down memory lane.   Smiley
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