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FROM BEHIND THE COUNTER
WE ARE KEEPING YOU INFORMED
 

NEWS AND UPDATES

08/14/22

Slows Sales Week Again

There is a pattern emerging. Busy one week slow the next.

I blame this partially on the economy situation and the they way our wholesalers have been running their specials.

Several years ago our main wholesaler stopped doing a monthly sale which changed every month. BRH always passes on the sale prices that we discount even further. However when the monthly sale changed to a two or even quarterly sale BRH saw a significant drop in our sales.  The reason for this is simple! The sales are 'stale' after about two weeks. Sometimes the sale items sell out within that two weeks leaving nothing for customers to look for, thus they have no interest, thus sales go down.

Currently, we are in one of those cycles.

The sale at this particular wholesaler used to be strong each month , mid month, for 5 days. It was like clock work each month. Then they changed the length of each sale.
Simply stated, the sales lost their 'rhythm'.

This happened before Covid and the supply chain issues so that is not an excuse.

BRH is doing its best to et you the most in stock product at the lowest possible pricing. This type of business model from this wholesaler is not a good one and has not been one for about 5 years now! It shows in the slowing sales!

What's Up At Walthers

Walthers has been removing manufacturers from their database for sometime now. So of this manufacturers jsut have not been producing enough product if any at all. Then there those businesses that are just closing up shop like Fox Valley for example.

Also, one month Walthers announces a price increase on the Mainline (910) items two months ago and then they are now on sale!

Plus the MAP pricing situation that does  not allow dealers / retailers like BRH to sell to you at a lower price. All the MAP pricing does is drive the BRH prices closer to the Walthers pricing for some items which is not fair to you our customers.

So, despite all the price increases via the supply chain problems, what is up a Walthers?
I am hearing rumors but I am not going to spread them at this time.

Fedex Update

All I can say is that the customer service at Fedex is horrible.

As of this update I have not heard for the Shipmanager escalation desk to fix their software problem since Friday  08/05/22. Not a peep from them in over a week!

Also, I tried to reach out to the executives at Fedex and have  not received any responses.

While the Shipmanager software is now working, (I found an old contact at Fedex that I reached out to during the week and he put me in touch with someone that could fix the issue and he did!) but not do to the efforts of the Fedex help desk or their executive team. Nothing but crickets there!

It is a shame that Fedex can not handle a very very simple issue.


08/07/22

BBB Removes Rating

So, for some unknown reason we found out the the Better Business Bureau (BBB) removed our A+ rating! When I found out I immediately contacted them to find out why?

The explanation was that the BRH information was not updated. I advised an update was not needed and nothing has changed. Within two days the A+ rating was restored.

I have found over the 18 years BRH has been in business that the BBB is not a reliable and is not a neutral operation. In the case of BRH vs BBB they refuse to see the side of our business. I have always had to 'fight' with them to maintain  our A+ rating as they seem to put blinders on when it comes a businesses side of a 'story'.

Did you know that there is no where to complain about the BBB?!?!

As with other online reviews services most are blatantly false and ratings like Yelp and the Google weigh negative ratings higher then  positive ratings. This holds true for not only BRH but other businesses seeing the exact same thing.

For example Yelp buries and has even has removed positive reviews. Google refuses to removes bogus reviews even then the negative review has the wrong company name in it, They where not reviewing negatively BRH yet Google lets the review stand after numerous complaints that I have filed!

July Sales

July sales where again down based on year to year comparisons by 21%. This is due to the normal summer dull drums, lack of product available to sell, the high cost of living and general world wide negativity!

Year to year shows new customers down 47%, returning customers up 112% and daily receipt totals down 23%.

New model railroaders are not entering the hobby, costs of product have increased by a least 25% and there is less available to purchase plus the over all economy is in very very rough shape.

Shipping Department

The move of the shipping department to a new location has been completed for the most part. Some organization of some paperwork still needs to be done after hours but the new, more efficient location, should decrease the time it takes to ship orders to you our customers!

Fedex Offline

Since around Wednesday at 9am BRH has been without Fedex Shipmanger software as the software for some odd reason will not initialize.

I contacted the Fedex Shipmanager help desk early Thursday morning. The lower level rep could get the software to initialize so he had to escalate to the department that was authorized to fix it!

I was told that it would 24 to 48 hours for someone to call. I immediately advised the rep that I could not sit  by the shipping department phone to wait for this new person to call back sometime in the next two days! Fedex should at least give a time window for the callback that was more reasonable.

Well I stuck around the phone for two hours and no call was given. 4 hours later a call was received but I was not at that phone. A message was left with a call back number to the lower department. You could not get back to the person that could fix the issue who left the message. This happened 3 other time during the day.

Around 3pm I received a call from  my sales rep. I did  not know I had a direct sales rep since my last one quit 10 years ago.

She got involved and claimed to have some contacts she could reach out to. I advised here to advise them I would be but the shipping department phone until 4:30. So for the next hour and a half there was no call. I was working on other things and finally logged out for the day at 5:13. Later that evening I checked the BRH voice mails and Fedex called at 5:20!

Now to Friday.

I called the help desk main number and again got the run around and advised this person to note transaction ticket that I would be available at the shipping department number until 11am.

I received a call on my cell phone! When I asked where they got that number he advised it was in the notes. Probably from the sales rep. Within 30 seconds of this call I received a call on the shipping department line. I asked the cell caller rep to hang on ( I did nt put him on hold) while I answered the store landline. I advised that rep that I had someone on the cell line. He quickly advised "Great! I close the ticket" and immediately hung up before I could say a word! I went back to the cell call and this person was gone as well!

So here I am left hanging.

I called back in and was advised that the ticket was closed and they had to start over yet  again. As of this update I have not received a call since 10:30am Friday. So the Fedex system is still not initializing.

I the past when I have had issues like this where the lower line employees and not responding to fix and issue. When I try to reach out to a supervisor I get the run around.

So then what I do is reach out to the presidents or CEO's of companies via their emails listed on the internet. I know that these emails are really not a direct link to them, but usually have a person or department that monitors these emails.

In the past I have reached  out to Bob Iger former CEO of Disney. I reached a call, not a email with an hour. Very impressive! And the question I had was resolved. In fact Disney wnet  over and above. Also, I was having some issues with our Point of Sale software so I reached out to the CEO of Intuit. I received a call from tem within two hours. Since I could not the software issue resolved due to an upgrade on the Intuit side and I was not going to pay $2,000 to upgrade the software I had, the finally agreed with me and sent me the new version with the upgrades for free! I did not ask for that. Again, very impressive.

So, back to Fedex.

As of this update, late Thursday I sent and email to the Founder and CEO of Fedex regarding this matter and the processes within Fedex to resolve this issue.

As of this update I have not received any response back. 

So, I reached out at 3pm Friday to the upper executive management at Fedex:
eaneal@fedex.com; jdberry@fedex.com; bmhale@fedex.com; FWSmith@fedex.com; rsubramaniam@fedex.com

As of this update I have not heard a word from anyone at Fedex that will resolve their software issue.

And so the poor customer service world wide continues.


07/24/22

News Letter Last Week

Sorry I missed the news and updates email last week. I just had way to much going on with the move of shipping operations last week to the new location I got a bit behind so there was no time for updates.

USPS Carrier Screw Up

Last Thursday the USPS fill in carrier picked up some 45 packages for shipment around 314pm. Unfortunately this carrier encoded ALL of the packages as being delivered to the ship from address which was not correct! This caused a lot of emails and call to BRH with customers thinking there shipments where sitting at BRH which was not correct.

I have been keeping an eye on that days shipments and all seems to be arriving at the customers ship to locations. It was the on line tracking information that was messed up!

Also, this past Friday the USPS Carrier was a no show for our scheduled pickup of outbound shipments to our customers!

And so it goes!

Walthers Handling Fee

As of this update BRH has not been charged a handling fee for orders which is a good thing so BRH has not had to pass this cost to our customers.

Quiet Week

The past two weeks have been quiet. This is both good and bad.

Since I needed time to close down the Pleasantburg shipping operations and get the new location open and operating while closing the old location, the "hot" and "cold" uneven online sales has been a good thing.

Even emails and calls have been off a bit.

As of this update outbound shipping all caught up and BRH is running on the "new normal".

Faster Order Processing

With the move of shipping operations and the late in the day inbound deliveries coming at around 3pm each day, BRH can now ship your orders to you one day faster.

The new location allows a 12 hour quicker processing of your orders for shipping. The old way meant the deliveries had to be transferred to the old Pleasantburg location which for the last 2.5 Covid Years, has been a PITA. Though the old days of processing orders in 3 days instead of the current 5 to 7 days seems to be gone forever!

As always I process orders as fast as I can so there is no need to call or email about your order status. It is rare there are issues and if there are issues, I will reach out to you with a call, email or global update via the news and updates.

Fox Valley Models

Fox Valley Models brand has been sold to Scale Trains which means that BRH can no longer offer FVM any longer. Not sure what will happen to all  of the back orders with the Milwaukee warehouse since, as of the update, we have not been advised if they will honor all of the outstanding back orders and advance reservations.

The honest thing to do is honor those orders but I feel that will not occur.

FVM has had a lot of production issue even before the Covid situation. So this sale of the brand is no surprise.

Regarding Scale Trains.

Initially Scale Trains signed up 32 dealers when they first opened for business in 2014. Shortly after that, and I mean shortly, they would not allow any more dealers like BRH to be allowed to sell their product. Scale Trains like Exact Rail, have chosen to sell their product  direct and have cut off most hobby shops around the world. What does this mean? While Scale Trains makes a great product, the do not want to allow you the consumer to get any discounts on new items!

Be prepared as I still feel the next big manufacturer that will disappear this year will be InterMountain. As BRH has 100's of outstanding orders we have placed with them and they have not produced hardly anything.

Time will tell.

Oregon Rail Supply

After years and years of limited supply and delays delays and more delays it seems that they may have gone the way of Con-Cor and MTH-Railking. They may have recently gone out of business.

Recently a blog post stated "
I called ORS their voice mail was full.
If they are out of business"

As of this update we have not been officially notified by the wholesaler or the manufacturer.

Walthers MAP Policy

Let me perfectly clear! BRH does not believe that MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) helps anyone. In fact this policy costs you, the model railroader, more money for already expensive products. BRH does not agree with this policy.

As of 07/15/22, Walthers has implemented the MAP policy. So some items in the 910, 920 and 948 series of items now will cost you about 12% more for absolutely no valid reason.

Dealers, like BRH, should be able to sell ("advertise" via our product search page) without restriction.  BRH stands by this and has done so since 2005.

So when you see the note in the product description "MAP PRICING IN EFFECT", this means that this item has the forced higher price. BRH has no control over this.

File a complaint with Walthers!



THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT!

 

 


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The prices and products reflected on these pages are subject to change without notice. Shipping, handling and sales tax are not included
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Prices on these pages are available for online sales only

Minimum Online Shopping Cart Order is $50.00 effective 07/27/20

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