Kadee... Just How It Is (March 2018)
I've had quite a few conversations recently that have brought up a number of different subjects that I think needs to be shared. Hopefully the information might help others to better understand the model railroad business.
First, Kadee® rarely announces "new products" before they are actually ready to release. We don't want to announce a product and have modelers waiting for it if something goes wrong or we change our minds. Other manufacturers already have this problem and much of the time it's caused by having their products made overseas where their control is very limited. We make all of our products right here in our own factory and we have total immediate control of production and quality. However, we do have to deal with higher labor rates, insurance, taxes, material supply, inflation, and tax happy liberal politicians that haven't a clue how to run a business let alone a government.
We are pretty much a complete in house operation. We are very proud to advertise "Made in America" and we've been that way since we began in 1946 and we'll continue to do so in the future. To celebrate this we have been producing our freight cars with a number of "Patriotic Paint Schemes" as we have recently announced another Patriotic scheme to be released in June, you best pre-order it ASAP.
We do all of our own tooling (mold making), die casting metal, and injection molding (plastics). As such we receive constant requests for us to make molds for some obscure freight cars and different parts. Most of these requests come from modelers that have no clue to the real costs of mold making and actual production costs of a product. Many think it's a simple task of just whipping out a new mold, how wrong they are. Much of the time we just tell the inquirer that the car or part they want does not have a big enough market to justify the tooling costs. When we quote a tooling cost even for a "simple" mold they are shocked to find out how much it really costs.
There are many products we receive requests for and some we are not interested in because of cost recovery (too small of a market) and there are some we might be interested in. These are put on a list of possible future projects. If they get to the actual project list it is then listed by priorities which is based on market demand, market size, time to design and produce (schedule), longevity in the market (cost recovery and profit), consumer pricing, just to name a few.
There are quite a number of products we'd like to make and we will eventually get to them. Our project list changes all the time as does model railroading, technology, marketing, and consumer interests. However, Kadee® has been around a very long time and we've seen just about everything in this industry and we've got a good idea of how to run "our business". We do take our time and rarely rush into any new trend or product.
If you want us to make a new product you need to do a lot of research and not just within your limited area, a few guys at the club just isn't a big market. We have a world wide market as we sell to manufacturers, wholesalers, dealers, and individuals all over the world.