Support for obsolete products

From: Christian Fandt <>
Date: Thu May 7 16:10:40 1998

At 10:27 07-05-98 -0700, Gary Oliver <> wrote:
>There are companies that care... I recently wanted to resurrect an
*Very* few companies, darn it.

>Locating DigiData from their web page (they WERE still doing business)

A problem is that companies get bought out and/or go completely out of
business. These circumstances cause loss of a *lot* of parts and paper
useful for folks who still have equipment they want to use or, like us, to
preserve and document.

>We have a customer who is a major supplier of wood products machinery
>(plywood and saw mill stuff) that has parts on their inventory shelves
>more than 100 years old because they support mills that are running

Yeah, occasionally I still privately support ("unofficially" as far as my
company is concerned) a few of our old customers who have ancient optical
measuring instruments that are 25 to 40 years old. They eventually track
down and call my company who is now the third generation instrument
manufacturer from the original manufacturer (originally Bausch & Lomb in
this case). Customer Service in my company turns them toward me partly
because they know I used to build and repair those products (I've been here
24 years), they kinda want to provide good Customer Relations as in 'Good
Will' ("We can maybe sell a new electronic linear encoder system to them
later") and finally, they know I'm a Certified Pack Rat who has rescued a
lot of old parts and manuals from the Dumpster Patrol. The net result is
for us to ratchet upwards market share even if it's ever so slight.

We as collectors/preservationists wish companies in the computer world
would do the same but there's reasons mentioned further on....

>equipment that old. It costs them little to do this (except the IRS
>hassles of inventory evaluation - I'm sure they've "paid" for that
>inventory several times over with taxation on the shelf stock.) But

This is a bell-ringer with many companies who pay too much attention to
"The Bottom Line". Even my company's bean counters panic when they find
that obsolete parts have been setting on the shelf for more than a year or
so. "Call the Dumpster Brigade! We've got an emergency in Finished Goods"
is the call from the company comptroller. We're a small-to-mid sized
company, so sometimes we can negotiate with the comptroller so salvage some
stuff. The IRS socks it to all companies to pay tax on all of their parts
inventory. If it is not making money (as in being obsolete and not many
repair parts being sold) then trash it. Otherwise, a company could be bled
dry of its financial resources over a period of time from being taxed too
much for too long.

>the good will it generates from their customers, knowing they can
>repair a dead mill from company stock parts is priceless.

Try to tell a company driven by bean counters the exact value of
"priceless". I mean to say that the sales/engineering/manufacturing parts
of that company may have the good customer relations at heart but sometimes
the accountants want to see the money in that.

>If we encourage this behavior and reward it with purchasing products
>(and recommending purchase) from companies that hold these attitudes,
>we may be able to make a difference. At least I'll do what I can.
-- --
Christian Fandt, Electronic/Electrical Historian
Jamestown, NY USA
Member of Antique Wireless Association
Received on Thu May 07 1998 - 16:10:40 BST

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