Is Marrs Communications dead?

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Aerochrome, Feb 3, 2018.

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  1. EastPoint

    EastPoint Factory Code No. 4200 Subscriber

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    What I don't get here is why this is difficult at all. Shipping belts is the easiest thing imaginable. Just throw them in a plastic bag and then in a bubble envelope. You don't even need to print out a fancy label--just two stamps and a written-out address can do it fine. Belts are tiny, so storage can't be that big an issue either. I mean, I understand delays when shipping receivers and stuff, but belts? Seriously? Just hire someone to take over that part of the business if you can't manage it.
     

     

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  2. DaveVoorhis

    DaveVoorhis Super Member

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    Reading between the lines, and speculating wildly, it looks like the business owner (Fred?) is trying to interest at least one of his offspring (Krista?) in taking over the business and said offspring desperately trying to do anything but. It's a common pattern with family businesses: the founder wants to pass it on as a thriving legacy to children who want nothing to do with it.

    There might be a good small-business or hobby-business opportunity here to find out what Japanese company manufactures the replacement belts and compete against Marrs Communications.
     
  3. goodolpg

    goodolpg Just an old fart trying to help. Subscriber

    There's a well known AK member who specializes in bulbs for vintage stereo gear.
    It's just a sideline for him.
    But he communicates, ships QUICKLY, charges probably not enough, and has included a little something extra (at least in my experiences with him...solder, a sample bulb, etc).

    And then there's the belt people...

    If I am understanding the complaints, money is sent and accepted, then weeks or months pass by with no communication.

    Pathetic.
     
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  4. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

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    Missed that there must be tracking
    Fred is overwhelmed with orders and he has had real help at one time but that can't be paid for properly even at the prices he charges. Krista has come along to help, too, but I don't know what takes so long to ship belts other than maybe determining every time what belt a machine should use. Maybe his inventory is hard to work with and find the right belt. You do know that this isn't a big money maker, right? Lots of costs, major amount of work, over 100 emails a day and what 40k coming in for a year's worth of work?
    more than that. Fred used to document the sale by producing the shipping label and folks get the tracking number and the package takes weeks to make it to the PO. That pisses folks off, seeing no movement for weeks.

    Just an odd business process that has some serious hiccups and it doesn't seem that Fred can figure out how to dig out of that situation.
     
  5. OMGCat!

    OMGCat! AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    This is what I was thinking as well. Someone either team up with Fred or start their own company up.
     
  6. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    I don't have any skin in the game but a few observations that seem to pop out to me here.

    I don't think he keeps much of an inventory. Anything except plain vanilla items that fit several pieces might be special ordered, which takes time. How much time seems to be the issue here, which brings me to the second observation.

    It's a generally accepted business practice to not do the billing until the product is shipped.
     

     

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  7. theoman

    theoman Confused Member Subscriber

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    I think they live in an apartment down from my old house. I think but not sure but his daughter is running it.

    that part of houston was flooded pretty bad!
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  8. theoman

    theoman Confused Member Subscriber

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    It maybe just becoming a hassle to do it. I have a TD 124 that I need to sell and I'm to lazy to box it!
     
  9. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

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    Yes, Fred was flooded in TX.
     
  10. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    it's super easy to BS everyone about how easy it is to run a business with hundreds
    of different types of belts and hundreds of orders per month, then give an example
    about a guy who sells m1.5 screws who gets one order a year for one screw to
    prove how easy it is to run a business.

    imagine how you would do this, by belt size? then you'll need a cross-reference
    to all units by brand, then by product line, then by model, then by revision. or
    start the other way. now you buy belts by the thousand and don't have time
    to bag, label, catalog them. then try to do an inventory for re-order when you
    reach the expected duration of inventory versus order and delivery time.

    it all tells me one thing. no experience running a business. you'd know
    better than to judge another person's business practice based on your
    own experience. ever build a website, setup a payment system, create
    a facebook account, email system, order tracking, shipping, then advertise?
    try it, bet you a cheap beer you can't do all this even in a long weekend.
    if you can then you have a million dollar business but no armchair CEOs here.

    just for the record, about 10-15 years ago, NAKs were in danger of all them
    being junked. I had one of the last NAKs serviced by Nakamichi USA in
    1991 or so, before they went under. Along came Marrs and it was a miracle.
    then he expanded to cover other brands. your only alternative was to buy
    from someone who bought out inventory and there are still companies out
    there who have these parts. Without Marrs you could try buying counterfeits
    out of china. then when it comes and is wrong, learn Chinese and use Weibo.
    good luck there.

    I've had two software app businesses. and gave both up. folks who spent
    the low price I charged expected unlimited support, fixing their laptops
    and desktops, installing windows and updates, etc. then they complained
    and said they could re-invent the software over a weekend with no
    programming experience (one of the packages was a ten year coding effort
    with 3 people, a BS, a MS, and PhD). then there was the piracy and the
    sharing. but the last straw was the number of complaints over nothing.
    just like it is here.

    now imagine no one selling quality belts that are technically correct for
    the players. then your choice is to learn Japanese, negotiate with
    the factory you've found, and buy minimum of 1000 belts. or buy fakes
    that don't fit, or work, and cannot be returned.

    and if it's the response time, then complain about the AK experts who
    are backlogged 6 month or more and tell them about the mythical guy
    that can rebuild a NAK at the component level, align it to factory OR
    design specifications, and does all this in one day including delivery.
    and instantaneous quotes that are dollar and time accurate.

    there's an old quote from the 60's
    no money in times of dope is not as bad as no dope in times of money.

    draw your own conclusions. I have 6 decks, running now, and hope and
    pray Marrs is still around when I need just one belt for any of the 6.
     
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  11. DaveVoorhis

    DaveVoorhis Super Member

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    I ran a successful software firm for thirteen years in the 80s and 90s, specialising in small business and departmental automation (with a speciality in scheduling), then semi-retired in my early 30's to do research and teach applied computer science in a university with emphasis on programming, software development, and software entrepreneurship.

    Based on that experience, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I stand by what I wrote in post #42.
     

     

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  12. w1jim

    w1jim I can fix it but good... Subscriber

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    This is all fine and it’s great that he’s providing the belts.
    But if he can’t deliver then he simply doesn’t have a viable business plan.
     
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  13. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I spent my entire life in the business world and excuses mean nothing. If you are in a tough business either quit or get better, it is not like he was FORCED into that business. You bring up a bunch of stuff that means nothing regarding how bad this guy's business is being run.

    The worst part of this is that it seems the seller knows he wont be able to ship in a timely manner he still accepts money from his customers......and that is plain flat dirty. IF there is a large wait time for an unusual product, have the balls to put that on your website so the customer knows what to expect. Taking orders and money then not fulfilling the order within a reasonable time cannot be defended as it is close to fraud.
     
  14. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    EXACTLY. Cant hack the market, go out of business, period. If there is a true market for these items (and it seems there is one) then a better businessman (or woman) will take his place. This is a business, not a social program.
     
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  15. EastPoint

    EastPoint Factory Code No. 4200 Subscriber

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    As I said, shipping stuff out should be the easiest part. It costs $2.66 to mail a 1-4 ounce bubble envelope, with tracking. The bubble envelope is like 11 cents in bulk, add a penny or two for a plastic bag and a few cents for the label and you're set. You can print though Paypal, it's easy. The USPS will pick up at your location. It's 2018--this stuff is easy.

    This isn't like shipping a TD124, because belts are tiny and light. And they're small and flat, so they're easy to store and keep sorted. Seriously, this is a joke. Sell the damn business to someone who will run it right. Naks aren't getting repaired now because this guy can't ship stuff out.

    If running your own website is hard, use eBay. List all your belts on there, and they handle half of the hassle for you.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
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  16. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

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    Fred quit ebay a decade ago because it was a PITA for his business model to work in an environment where folks expect to get the goods shortly after they pay for them, a week or less I guess. That leads to endless communications. I doubt he will give up the information on his belt suppliers or the knowledge base he has as to what belt to use with which machines. Nearly like ink cartridges, every unit uses a different one, makes it hard to get that info together but Fred has it and the only way to get the belts right now is an apparently broken business model.
     

     

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  17. EastPoint

    EastPoint Factory Code No. 4200 Subscriber

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    Yeah, I mean, you can set eBay's handling time as long as you want, but people do expect their stuff to be shipped pretty much immediately. I think he'd be best off using eBay and just paying someone $15 an hour to handle the packing and shipping, with him doing the "what belt works for what" kind of questions. Sort of hybridize the current business model. It's too bad this is getting so difficult for him--it's a really valuable service to the community.
     
  18. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    for all you guys who can do business better, please start a company to be the second belt supplier.

    or help Fred. your grasp of the obvious, incredible business sense, decades of proven success,
    can only fix his problems. probably inside a day as suggested his deliveries should be.

    as some of my acquaintance in an incredible state say, "tis better to light a candle than to curse the darkness".

    I spent 2 decades looking for an output transformer for an HF52 then gave up - no one had one for sale.

    As an Amazon customer since 1997, I expect instantaneous delivery. anything else can wait. but only
    for those who stay alive, easy to quit or complain. next thing we'll see is same-day delivery from China...
     
  19. tarior

    tarior Dirty pool, old man? Subscriber

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    From what I've seen, Fred doesn't want any outside help, and isn't too keen on consistently doing anything to improve his operation or reputation.

    Bob at Vintage Electronics doesn't seem to have any problem getting his products out in a timely manner. Steve at CEI, pretty much a one man show that moves huge quantities of parts, also doesn't seem to have trouble getting his stuff into the mail in a timely manner either.

    We don't want excuses. We decent service, and something that resembles communication. It would also be great if we didn't have to go on Tapeheads and start a thread to get our orders fulfilled after waiting seven or eight months with no reply to any query.
     
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  20. EastPoint

    EastPoint Factory Code No. 4200 Subscriber

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    There are other folks selling Nakamichi and other belts on eBay. There's already plenty of competition.

    His problems go back many years. This isn't new. If you google "Marrs communications" one of the auto-complete options is "complaints," and there sure are plenty.

    No one is saying that. We are suggesting that he ship things out within a week, as opposed to in a couple weeks or not at all, as seems to be the case.
     
    tarior likes this.
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