Update on the Springmill Depot preorder of N&W Caboose

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jul 26 20:14:35 EDT 2018

Marty, Stephen-

Lionel and Con-Cor tried production in Mexico and there were huge problems.
There have been some minor attempts to have hobby items produced in India
with very poor results.
Some items have been made in Taiwan but no major shift in production
I have heard of some efforts to establish production in Viet Nam but again
no movement.

The key to Chinese production is that you have entrepreneurs who establish a
turnkey operation that many importers can share to get product.  Some of
them were started by Chinese engineers and businessmen who trained in larger
companies and decided to start their own factory.
While costs will rise the potential labor pool in China is huge so "the cost
of labor" won't be a major determination of where products are made.   

If someone with more money than brains would establish a boutique factory in
the United States it could be done.....but the capital costs of equipping a
new factory would have to be self-financed in today's banking environment.
We still have a very tiny handful of Model Railroad products being made in
the United States, but with well-established family businesses and mostly
fully amortized facilities and equipment.   The cost of labor was not as
large of factor in production moving overseas as the existence of turnkey
factories that can spread out production over a base of clients.

Charlie Vlk
Railroad Model Resources

There has been some model manufactures that have tried production in
southeast Asia for cheaper labor and has failed.
They do not have the experience and require daily overseeing.
Stephen Rineair
The theory is that as costs rise in China, production will eventually move
farther into southeast Asia, and ultimately Africa.  Unfortunately most
model railroad companies are far too small to initiate this move.  They must
wait until someone else sets up a factory and then work with them.  Even
Lionel has run into this, and in the USA for that matter.  They try to do a
handful of American made freight cars each year, but more than once the
company they contracted with went out of business.

Marty Flick

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