The simple answer to the question, “How do you decide what models to make?” is that those decisions are ultimately determined by our customers.
Depending on circumstances, that can be as direct as a request from a manufacturer, or one of their business units, to make a specific model for their use. In some cases, these models may not be offered for direct sale to our customers.
For the models we sell to our customers the matrix we use can best be described as both “dynamic and multidimensional.” Or in other words, we take a lot of input from a lot of sources, mix it all together, talk about the possibilities endlessly and make a final determination that we hope makes you happy.
What’s the first steps?
For any model we make our very first consideration is permission to create it. Whether it’s a 40 page contract or a simple, “Sure, do it” we don’t make a model without proper permission.
Up there close to the top of the list is whether the model has already been made by another manufacturer or if it is already scheduled to be produced by someone else. A “yes” here won’t automatically take a model out of consideration but we want to be sure we are adding to the overall value in the market with the models we produce.
Right next to that in importance is considering the models we have made with regard to type of machine, scale and construction material. While we know we have customers who would be more than happy if we would produce just one type of machine in one scale from one manufacturer we do our best to service the “common good” with our model selections.
How do you decide scale?
When we consider scale, one of our first considerations is if any given machine will model and display well at any given scale. We also consider what other models we have made in that same scale and on a relative basis, the difficulty of producing a large machine in large scale or a small machine in small scale.
Again, it’s not an absolute but at any given scale the difference between die-cast construction and all brass construction can have a huge impact on whether it’s feasible to produce any given model.
And of course, dead center in any discussion about a potential model, is the question of the shape of the demand curve and what it looks like when it is overlaid on the cost curve. We’d like to think there is some science to how that all works but the truth is that it’s much more of an art that we’ve developed over time.
Do you ever take suggestions?
Beyond these questions we certainly have requests from Cat® though these are typically directly through a business unit that desires models for their internal purposes.
We regularly receive suggestions from customers and these models are added to a list internally. We are in pretty regular communication with a lot of our customers so should the opportunity arise we will discuss these suggestions to get additional feedback.
Ultimately there are a lot of considerations but our starting priority is always what our customers want to see. So if you have ideas, thoughts or suggestions on upcoming models please feel free to share with us and who knows, maybe it will be the one of the next models we announce.