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Antiquated machine tooling distribution! Dear Tooling mfgs get with the time!

partsproduction

Titanium
Joined
Aug 22, 2011
Location
Oregon coast
What they charge depends on who you are.Edwin Dirnbeck

That was writing of UPS charges I think. A few thoughts;

I'm nobody, my business is very small now. When I need something fast I use MSC, they get orders to me from Reno in one or two days max, at basic ground rates, which is what the people in Portland do, but the Portland tooling store's UPS costs way more for some reason.

As for the time and expense of driving up there, my wife does that and her car is very frugal on gas needs, plus we try to have at least two errands for her to run in a day which cuts the gas price in half.

As for DHL, I like them a lot, AFAIK they are not union, which thrills me as I despise unions and all marxist tentacles. I also think they are slightly cheaper than UPS. UPS had a strike many years ago which meant dozens of my parts rusted inside their truck for about two weeks.
I believe in forgiving individuals, but not organizations. My experience with their insurance has been that UPS always fight against paying it, which pure aggravation is far more costly than whatever they should pay, though a refund's never happened to me from UPS. I would agree that it was the union that should have paid for the rusted parts but that would never happen.

As for buying from distributors instead of ebay, there are many distributors who use ebay as a selling platform, and among the perks you get an email the day of or the day before shipping, plus it's easy to tell who insists on using UPS by the shipping price shown in the ad before hand.

Since I mentioned confirmation emails, one seller in Portland sends confirmation notices the same day, within minutes of filing the order. That makes me think it's an automated process. OTH I ordered some acetal rod from another seller last week, and they don't send confirmation notices, so I didn't get to look at one and see that the salesman "heard" 5/8" diameter when I know I said 1 and 5/8" diameter. That has happened two or three other times, so the tool people's auto confirm feature is great in my book.

As to "too much trouble" for a company to send via USPS, stamps.com is a USPS offering that allows a company to print prepaid labels for a one time fee of $17.99 ad the postage is a monthly total of charges (Unless I have it wrong), no trip to the post office and cheapskates like me would love it!

It used to be that all first class USPS packages we sent were the same anywhere in the US, but lately they charge a few cents more for packages that are on the East coast (Padded envelopes 8X6").
parts
 

jccaclimber

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 22, 2015
Location
San Francisco
I'm glad someone mentioned McMaster Carr. Machine tools are just as bad. I bought a few things (band saw and maybe $10k of assorted mainly US made mill and lathe tooling) from the local guy in Dallas a few years ago. Took three tries to get the quote right, he seemed to think I should be thankful he was doing it at all, took weeks to get any of it, and then billed me separately for freight to his business and then again to our place a few miles away.

The next place I was at we bought everything from McMaster, MSC, hell, even Grainger was easy to work with compared to this guy. We had our stuff faster and by the time you account for the fact that I didn't need to spend 4 hours on the phone and pay freight twice it was cheaper too.

I don't mind when places require an account *if* they also sell through McMaster or whoever. Want to deal direct, set up an account. Want to be fast, loose, and use a CC, here's our part # for McMaster Carr.

Even when the local tool place is good, it still takes time. For example, I want a bunch of Deltronic pins (I like their product and they're nice on the phone, but I have to go through a local distributor. I have a person at the local distributor, we'll call her Ms. V. She's great, 90% of the time it's a same day reply. Problem is I email her, she verifies availability at Deltronic, then quotes to me, I verify, confirm, and then she places the order. Alternatively I call Deltronic to verify availability, then call her and let her know it's all good and just ship what you have if it's an issue. I still need to wait for quote, verify, etc. Even when it works there's still 2 or 3 emails and a half day of delay. Get someone else in the office because she's on vacation and half the time the wrong thing shows up.
 

jaguar36

Cast Iron
Joined
May 13, 2015
Location
SE, PA

Pick up the phone, talk to a human, get some human contact. you need some (as we all do)


The thinking that phone is somehow more important than email is the kind of antiquated practice that is the issue.

If I know what I want, having to waste time on the phone as well as risking someone hearing me/writing it down wrong is just silly. Suppliers need to learn that both methods of communication are equally valuable, or they will lose business to someone who does.

I needed some unistrut the other day. My local metal supplier carries it, but to order it I've got to go somewhere quiet, call them, wait for them to write up a quote and approve it. Instead I just spent 10 seconds ordering it from Grainger's app and had it the next day. Probably was more expensive, but it was worth it.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Location
Illinois
Having a "good" e-commerce website especially for this industry is not an easy task. I probably have over 1 million invested in mine, and i started out with an open source template. Now ours is unrecognizable and heavily modded from front end functionality and shopping cart tech that the customer sees to backend technology that helps us efficiently list products and maintain inventory. If you do it correctly it never ends. We have a full whiteboard of future projects and current projects to make the shopping experience better and keep the customers coming back.

Starting from scratch is a huge undertaking, you can't just download pdf pages anymore and ask customers to call for pricing and stock information. Yet that is what some companies still do.
 

TeachMePlease

Diamond
Joined
Feb 11, 2014
Location
FL
Having a "good" e-commerce website especially for this industry is not an easy task. I probably have over 1 million invested in mine, and i started out with an open source template. Now ours is unrecognizable and heavily modded from front end functionality and shopping cart tech that the customer sees to backend technology that helps us efficiently list products and maintain inventory. If you do it correctly it never ends. We have a full whiteboard of future projects and current projects to make the shopping experience better and keep the customers coming back.

Starting from scratch is a huge undertaking, you can't just download pdf pages anymore and ask customers to call for pricing and stock information. Yet that is what some companies still do.


I've always enjoyed your website. Just last week I placed my first ever order from you, some rubber sealed ER11 collets. The website was pleasant to use, and the collets are superb quality. So thanks for that!
 

DanielG

Stainless
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Location
Maine
For tooling, setup an account and develop a working relationship with one of the great Portland area tooling vendors. They will beat all the internet prices and they know what is the right fit for what you're doing, they know lead times and the current state of supply issues with different manufacturers. They deliver same day or you'll have it the following day UPS.

Meanwhile in the other Portland, our tooling vendors never call people back and don't stock any machining stuff even if they would. All they seem to stock is janitorial supplies. And when you do finally get a quote out of them, it's more expensive than the online vendors.
 

CarbideBob

Diamond
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Location
Flushing/Flint, Michigan
Having a "good" e-commerce website especially for this industry is not an easy task. I probably have over 1 million invested in mine, and i started out with an open source template..
Ouch, that is a lot of $100 holders and $10 endmills at a 10 to 15% margin.
One million over how many years?
Just curious if you want to tell (or brag) . How many dollars in machine tools, grinders and inspection stuff on your shop floor?
When you started out I gave you a 1 in 10 chance of making it.
You have done wonders. :bowdown:
Bob
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Location
Illinois
I spend roughly 80k/year on code and maintenance.
Yea this business is all about long term investing. I didn't make a penny or draw a salery for 5 years, I just kept on reinvesting. When I stock a new product line it typically stays in the red for 3-4 years. Then it starts turning a profit and you just have to maintain stock and keep on eye on the quick movers for that particular item.

Also products feed of off other products. carry more endmills and you will sell more endmill holders. Carry more carbide saws and you will sell more saw arbors.

In the begining I never wanted to sell cutting tools. But I quickly realized "hard tooling" doesn't bring the customer back quick enough like consumables. Common sence stuff.
 

helocat

Aluminum
Joined
May 13, 2010
Location
Newberg, Oregon
Having a "good" e-commerce website especially for this industry is not an easy task. I probably have over 1 million invested in mine, and i started out with an open source template. Now ours is unrecognizable and heavily modded from front end functionality and shopping cart tech that the customer sees to backend technology that helps us efficiently list products and maintain inventory. If you do it correctly it never ends. We have a full whiteboard of future projects and current projects to make the shopping experience better and keep the customers coming back.

Starting from scratch is a huge undertaking, you can't just download pdf pages anymore and ask customers to call for pricing and stock information. Yet that is what some companies still do.

I am with you on our retail side for a website. We were similar using dedicated software we had to have hosted, then kept making things custom. It become this beast that was a huge PITA to update and it ran slow. About 8yrs ago we switched to an enterprise level off the shelf service, in our case Big Commerce. It was about $50k to rebuild it onto that platform but so worth it. Did another refresh about 2yrs ago and that was only $15k or so as the data already existed. Now lets talk ERP systems..... uggg. Switched from QuickBooks Enterprise to NetSuite 3yrs ago. Has taken us just about that long to get it dialed in, and easily $100k. But the flexibility of just about any API integration is seamless so way worth it as we build out our brands for the next 10yrs.

Its that ERP integration that is key for any brand selling on line to have that visible inventory availability and to receive and process orders quickly.
 








 
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