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Author Topic: Ameritrons as kits?  (Read 13093 times)
W9PMZ
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« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2011, 07:09:25 AM »

the concept of an 811 amp as a kit...

so a company has, R&D, good will, material cost, labor and load and profit...

if you add up all of the parts to make a 811 amo, assuimng that ameritron will factor in the costs associated into the parts; the cost may well end up close to being the same cost of a manufactured amp

their reasoning maybe if you can buy it built from them at about the same cost of kit...

the additional benefit of not being a kit is that they do not have to staff phone banks for hapless kt builders... (some would argue that they have to staff phone banks for their hapless production workers; but in all that i have purchased from the mfj company products over the years i have never run across "mf")

if you really really really want to build a 811 amplifier i'm sure that ameritron will sell you the parts piecemeal...

73,

carl - w9pmz

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AE5X
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« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2011, 09:05:35 AM »

Here's another perspective of kit vs built:

I'd pay (and I bet others would too) 10% *more* for a kitted AL80 or '82 so I could build it myself rather than have 8-10 non-hams building it piecemeal on an assembly line while simultaneously BSing about what they did over the weekend, etc.

Anyone is going to put more care into what they own than the hired help will.

John AE5X
http://www.ae5x.com/blog
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KH6DC
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Posts: 771




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« Reply #32 on: May 26, 2011, 01:47:04 PM »

To AE5X;  I agree John, and it would be fun to build the LA80 from a kit and I would spring for it.

 73 Delwyn KH6DC
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73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC
AD6KA
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Posts: 2243




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« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2011, 02:03:53 PM »

I'd pay (and I bet others would too) 10% *more* for a kitted AL80 or '82 so I could build it myself rather than have 8-10 non-hams building it piecemeal on an assembly line while simultaneously BSing about what they did over the weekend, etc.
Anyone is going to put more care into what they own than the hired help will.
Very true about the care & quality issues in assembling ones own gear.

But I suspect by the time Ameritron:

1) Writes an "Idiot Proof Assembly & Test Manual". (No small undertaking, even for a simple amp)
2) Has a couple dozen "Beta Builders" of various skill levels try out building the amp kit.
3) Rewrites the "Idiot Proof Manual" based on the Beta Builders feedback.
4) Pays to consult a Product Liability Law Firm for evaluation/opinion.
5) Determines the added cost of "Picking, packing & labeling" all the amp kit parts.
  (Labor, packaging, layout, training of "kitting" employees, etc)
6) Determines the cost of hiring and possibly training "Kit Trouble Shooting Techs".
  (And buying test gear and tools for them, adding phone lines, computers, etc)
7) Realizes that every minute their $50/hour "Kit Techs" are on the phone or answering emails, they can't be
working on and billing for returned "dead kits" or "dead amps".
8 ) Does a real world Market Study of how many hams would actually buy such a kit.
(Let's face it, it's becoming less and less a "tecnical hobby" and more and more "Plug & Play)
9) Factors in other hidden costs

That they will come to the conclusion that it will take a loooong time before an
 "added %10 in price" will even make them break even, much less turn a profit.

Of course, I could be wrong.
...and I might even buy one too if they offered it!  Grin
73,  Ken  AD6KA
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WB4AUW
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Posts: 44




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« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2011, 02:27:49 PM »

Ameritron could solve a lot of problems if they would write an "idiot proof" assembly and test manual for their employees.
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W8JX
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Posts: 13268




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« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2011, 03:12:43 PM »

Ameritron could solve a lot of problems if they would write an "idiot proof" assembly and test manual for their employees.

If they simply had a better QA program these [problems would never make it out the door. I have little doubt it is cost related.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KE4DRN
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Posts: 3746




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« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2011, 04:41:30 PM »

hi,

The liability issues are always around, we can't expect
a piece of paper or warning sticker to protect us,
we have got to use our brains.

Some companies pay their assembly workers by the piece,
Lincoln Electric and Smith & Wesson do this.

Big difference was S&W produced lots of parts but they
were not quality parts and that caused them lots of problems.
S&W has since fixed this and quality is where it belongs.

Lincoln Electric workers get a nice check at the end of the
year based on the profit sharing of their company.

Perhaps MFJ can take a lesson from Lincoln Electric and
increase the quality of their products.
73 james
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W8JX
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« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2011, 05:38:27 PM »

I expect that one day MFJ will be forced to move assembly to China to get quality up and keep prices down and profits high. With lower labor prices they can spend more time with quality issues.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KD8MJR
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Posts: 5557




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« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2011, 06:59:22 PM »

China makes very little sense in the quantities that AMERITRON sells.
Just to tool up a factory and train personal would eat out a couple of years of profit, not to mention added shipping costs and most Hams dislike of equipment made in China.
I would bet that they thought of this years ago and crunched the numbers already.

« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 07:01:42 PM by KD8MJR » Logged

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  (Mark Twain)
AE5X
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Posts: 1467




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« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2011, 07:01:35 PM »

I expect that one day MFJ will be forced to move assembly to China to get quality up and keep prices down and profits high. With lower labor prices they can spend more time with quality issues.

Before Ameritron moves to China, Chinese amps may be well established here. Here's one in the works:
http://www.ae5x.com/blog/2010/07/31/hf2k-new-info/
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W8JX
Member

Posts: 13268




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« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2011, 07:26:13 PM »

I expect that one day MFJ will be forced to move assembly to China to get quality up and keep prices down and profits high. With lower labor prices they can spend more time with quality issues.

Before Ameritron moves to China, Chinese amps may be well established here. Here's one in the works:
http://www.ae5x.com/blog/2010/07/31/hf2k-new-info/


If you snooze you loose.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
N2EY
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Posts: 5096




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« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2011, 07:39:58 PM »

The problem with trying to idiot-proof something is that as soon as you succeed, nature evolves a better idiot.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K7GLM
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Posts: 51




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« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2011, 06:57:22 AM »

The problem with trying to idiot-proof something is that as soon as you succeed, nature evolves a better idiot.

73 de Jim, N2EY

In I.T., we always phrased that "There are no fool-proof systems. Fools are far too resourceful."

I've never known it to be wrong. There are really bright engineers in my company that can F-up an iron ball with a rubber mallet.
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K7KBN
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« Reply #43 on: May 27, 2011, 07:06:14 AM »

I've heard it as "If you build a better mousetrap, nature will produce a worse mouse."
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
W8JI
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Posts: 9748


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« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2011, 09:11:39 AM »

K3WD:
You're right - there's no way to know the real, absolute numbers. But relative to other manufacturers, Ameritron seems to have the lion's share of complaints.

Ameritron also has the lion's share of the market. It has at least thirty times the product volume of the nearest competitor. I would expect complaints to be about 30 times higher for the same percentage of problems.

Quote
WB2EOD:
We live in litigious times alright but Elecraft is now kitting a 500W amp. I bet if Ameritron did that for the AL811, folks would snap them up like candy - soon, everyone would be QRO. I guess you're right - not such a great idea  Wink

I designed for Heath when they decided to drop the amateur kits.

30-50% of the price of a kit was support and assembly manuals.

15-20% of the cost of an assembled amp is labor.

If you are willing to pay about 50% more for the street price, an amp could be kitted.

In the 1970's Heath wanted me to handle all the amateur service kit returns. I tried it for one store and found the labor to correct the kits was more than anyone would ever pay (the labor rate then in Ohio/Michigan was $15-20 an hour), so I bailed on that idea. Today the labor plus overhead rate is about $40 an hour for a good "technician" here in Georgia.

73 Tom
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