AGD's Reply to the Wait on Xmags (long)
This is in response to to the many threads currently running about AGD's ablility to deliver product.
As the president of this company I have to look at the big picture. It is my responsibility to insure the survival and long term health of the company even before the wants and needs of the customer. Please note the words "long term". As an example, if we were making widget "A" and loosing money, I would have to raise the price IN SPITE of 100% complaints from my customers. From the companies perspective there is no difference between loosing money on a product or not selling it at all, which is what the customers might do if you raise the price.
There are only three variables when it comes to making a product, Quality-Delivery-Price. You only get to pick TWO! These three options are never clearly understood by the buying public. Marketing’s job is to make people believe they are getting all three. AGD as a company picks Quality and Price, we have never in our 16 year history been known for delivery, ask anyone. No one ever says “that’s way too expensive” or “that’s crappy quality” but they certainly complain about “AGD doesn’t make enough”.
So in the big picture (and we will use recent examples) what do I need to look at in order to make my overall business decisions? Lets start with the Superbolt! We came right out of the box with 1000 units, plenty for everyone so no one would wait. A problem was discovered and what did everyone say? No one said “hey great job on delivery!” there was a loud and clear bashing that “we came out with it before we tested it enough”. Our reputation for delivery went up ZERO and our Quality rep took a big hit. In order to shore back up Quality we had to do a trade in deal on all the old superbolts. This cost the company double to get out of that tight spot. Note to self, “better to wait than to rush because it costs twice as much to fix and they care about quality more than delivery”.
Lets move on to the ULE bodies with the detent issue. Now if that had been a slightly different problem and the bodies were unusable, we would have had to go to the bank and get a loan in order to trash the bodies and then make new ones. Note to self, “the more expensive the product, the more careful we need to be on the first few batches or else it could bankrupt the company”. I doubt many people would line up to buy a product that was non functional even at a discount price. At this point everyone has forgotten about the Superbolt and is back to complaining about delivery (good job Tom you are still scoring high on Quality and Price).
Moving further on lets go to Roller Triggers! Good quality, SUPER FAST DELIVERY and not a bad price! Sold the first bunch in a couple days so we banged out 1000 more and sold…….none. AO screaming for them one day translated into a dead item the next. Had to blow out the last batch to another manufacturer at a big loss. Note to self, “listen to AO but don’t count on everything they say as being true in the big picture”.
So finally we come to the subject at hand, the Xmags. It was never my idea to make the xmag body, AGDE came up with it and when the cnc version came out you all went wild for it. Of course you did because it was one of the hardest to machine parts in the history of paintball, that we didn’t design, made overseas, from a supplier we had never used before, on the most expensive product we ever made. Not a problem lets proceed. From the very beginning this is what I heard from AO “ I want an Xmag NOW but if AGD doesn’t get them out people are not going to wait”. Humm… based on the Roller Trigger above that means we could sell a few and then they could decide that the Matrix is better because they liked the movie. Thinking about the Superbolt fiasco these things better be perfect because we cant afford to replace them or we might go to the poor house aka ULE’s above. Thinking more about it, if we blow the quality (like on the ano) on our flagship product, we will never recover, if we raise the price….no can’t do that… its already the most expensive paintball gun out there. Ok only choice then is to let them wait, that’s what we have to do because our delivery rep can’t get trashed any worse!
Some facts about the xmags, we are currently 300 on backorder and its not going up. This is not a big backorder by any standards. We have 500 machined bodies in the pipeline right now. This is a prudent number in process for this level of backorders considering its such an expensive product. While AO has been complaining, there have been multiple dealers that have had these guns sitting on the wall and not selling. Adventure Games NH had the first 9 to come off the assembly line with no preorders. She wanted to cut it back to two but I told her to come to the AO dealers section and sell them. She did and got no takers in the auction she set up, she only took two. More were sitting at Predator Marketing in CA for weeks until an AO guy found them and bought them. This is even after I made a personal appearance out there to show them the marker and get them charged about it. Fox River Games home of our sponsored team Swarm had them sitting on the wall for weeks until AO found them there too.
In the grand scheme of things its not the dealers calling and placing orders, its AO voicing its opinion from the group that wants to have Quality, Delivery and Price all happen at the same time. While I can sympathize with your desires, the reality of manufacturing does not allow me or anyone else to make all three of these things happen at once. You have all made it exceedingly clear from your comments and actions in the past that waiting sucks but lack of quality is completely unacceptable. We still have the price variable that has not been tested yet. If we come up with some extra guns in this next batch I am going to put them in stock at some extremely high price just to say we have them. This is the only way to get rid of Delivery at the (increasing) expense of Price.
So AO I have to come here every day and read the gut wrenching complaints about delivery but I know based on the big picture that the long term successful strategy is to make you wait. I should see it as a good thing because that means or quality and price are on target, but that’s hard to do when people think its stupid when you don’t just magically make more. If it was a 5 dollar item I would gamble and make a bunch, fact is we don’t make enough profit on xmags to live off them so they are getting all the attention we can give them. For the reasons above I will restate that it is highly unlikely that we will ever be holding xmags in stock, if you can’t wait I apologize but that is just the way it is.
Let me put on my flame suit
With all due respect, the examples given in that reply were not the responsability of the customer. It is not the cutomer's fault that there were defects in the super-bolt. It was not our fault that there were issues in the ULE bodies. Theses were quality control issues that should have been dealt with before they were distributed. As for the roller trigger and the apparent lack of interest in the X-mag, I must question AGD's use of this forum as one of the major tools it turns to gauge the marketplace. I understand that AGD is trying to give us AO'ers what they think we want, and that is admirable. However, it is poor marketing. I think the best policy for any future products is to keep them under wraps until they are ready for production. I'm not trying to be a jerk or pick any fights, but I think it should be ok to reply to a post, regardless of who posted it. And, for gosh sakes, as customers, we didn't let anyone down! AGD makes their living off of us (and I happily comply-they make a great product); it is not our responsability to "keep them up".
Yay TK! ( hey that rhymes! :D )
All I have to say is - I love AGD , and love AO. I am so happy that TK has made this forum for us. I think its a privlage to be a member of this forum. Thats why I get mad when people flame , and diss AGD. They never had to buy this forum , keep it up , or tell us anything. But ya know what? They do it. I was going to sell my mag , and get an impy or viking or something. But not anymore. This post has put no doubt in my mind that AGD is THE best in paintball. Cant wait till I get my Xmag. If it takes a while it takes a while. I think its worth the wait to get the best paintball marker out there. And I think its uber smart to have the pre orders so there not gonna have a bunch of em sittin on there hands not gettin sold. Ok Im done now...
LONG LIVE AGD!!