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No wonder the US economy is failing - Doug Ayen's Blacksmithing Blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Doug Ayen

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No wonder the US economy is failing [Apr. 19th, 2012|10:37 pm]
Doug Ayen
I've been looking for a source for the bearings I'd like to use on the pizza cutters, miniature cam followers, basically a bearing on a stud, ready to for a press-fitted wheel on the bearing, and then just bolt the stud to the shaft.

Ranting on this theme behind the cut.

Most places that have online catalogs have cam followers down to about 1/2", which is kinda large for what I'm doing. There are companies which make smaller ones, in stainless, and I even found one place in Australia which sells stainless mini-cam followers down to 4mm for about $13 each, including shipping, with a 14-day + shipping time turn around.

Meanwhile, I've found a few other US companies which look like they may have small cam followers in the size I want, but of course they don't list pricing, and so far their only response to pricing requests has been silence. One of the companies has an email address listed that just bounces with "no such user," showing their lack of concern for acquiring new customers, and the others just haven't replied to my request for quote for an initial order in over a week. The bouncy one had a "contact sales" form which didn't obviously error out, but if their sales email address doesn't work I have low hopes that web-based java form works at all, or points to anything other than the broken sales account.

I've seen this before, with a "we won't sell our product to you unless you're already a customer," or even just a lack of ability to sell to what might be a small customer at first, and with no external sales channel to direct smaller customers to should they want a product. I don't understand it. If anyone asks to give you money, shouldn't you at least respond?

Crazy. You get big customers by starting small and then building them up. If for whatever reason you don't do small orders, at least let those inquiring know that, so they at least will consider you in the future if their business grows. If you're out of stock, or don't have capacity, then say so, or at least temporize or even lie about it, just don't ignore a potential customer.

Sigh. I could just make these, but I don't want to spend my time fiddling with bearings and studs and precision shafts. I just want to make pretty sharp things.

[User Picture]From: totient
2012-04-20 04:59 am (UTC)
I've frequently found myself unable to buy less than 10,000 of some (usually electronic) part. But getting the parts for free in the quantity I needed was usually possible. Don't talk to sales. Talk to marketing or engineering support and get samples.
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[User Picture]From: blackanvil
2012-04-20 07:23 am (UTC)
Good idea. I have 4 wheels in production, and if I can get the CNC conversion going on the lathe, that should speed up dramatically. I'm pretty much looking for a standard solution I can just order up as needed. Hence the Kickstarter project -- I'm putting together a wishlist of tools to speed up production so I can start recouping my loss^H^H^H^H tool investment through sales of my work.
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[User Picture]From: perspicuity
2012-04-20 06:05 am (UTC)
my response to this is contact the CEO :)

working at SUN and then DEC, *esp* SUN, when the CEO found out that a smaller customer that a sales person said "FU" to wasn't worth his time, the CEO *made it worth his time*, the customer got service. the sales person was then fired. as an example to others. "there is no such thing as a customer too small. you sell. you make profit. got it?" oh yeah :)

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[User Picture]From: blackanvil
2012-04-20 07:25 am (UTC)
Sadly, I don't think most CEOs care anymore. I met two last night, and it's like they live in a different world.
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