Hornby tiers system

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darkscot
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Hornby tiers system

#1

Post by darkscot »

What do people think of Hornby's latest announcement? I was a bit negative at first, then sort of saw their point of view, then again I am not so sure.

Are they seriously worried about the likes of Hatton's doing their own thing?
Tier 3 designated retailers may also manufacture their own branded model railway items which might possibly conflict with those produced by Hornby Hobbies Ltd.

My local model shop does not have any website, effective or otherwise, so definitely not tier 1!

Tier 1 relates to those retailers that amongst other things maintain a clean and well laid out store and who promote several if not all of the Hornby Hobbies ranges, which includes as well as Hornby railways, Scalextric, Airfix, Humbrol and Corgi. These retailers invariably have an effective website and mail order service
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Steve M
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Re: Hornby tiers system

#2

Post by Steve M »

From a similar post on he Hornby Forum, it would appear that this categorisation is the reason that some retailers have cancelled preorders for many disgruntled customers.
The tiering dictates how much stock they are given to satisfy those preorders.

I can understand the Hornby position but it has pi##ed off a good few customers who know cannot find a retailer who has or will get stock to replace their cancelled orders.

Maybe it would have been a more customer focussed decision if they had given twelve months notice,
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Re: Hornby tiers system

#3

Post by Walkingthedog »

I sometimes got the impression that some retailers took more pre orders than they should. Hornby and the other producers are not bottomless pits as much as they probably would like to be. No point in a retailer taking 100 pre orders when they know very well they will probably only get 70 locos. Then they tell the customer their pre order is cancelled and blame Hornby etc.
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Stese
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Re: Hornby tiers system

#4

Post by Stese »

tbh... i really don't like the implications of whats happening here... the fact they are peanalising retailers who find gaps in the market and fill them. It stinks of anti-competiton.

The idea that the manufacturer gets to impose its will on retailers like this seems really wrong.

I also don't see the benefit to the customer.
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Steve M
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Re: Hornby tiers system

#5

Post by Steve M »

Hornby did issue a press release earlier today in which they explain the criteria for each tier. On the face of it each tier reflects the appearance of the retailer’s premises and their willingness to stock other Hornby brands.

Tier 1 is for tidy, presentable outlets stocking multiple Hornby brands.
Tier 2 tend to be the types of outlet that will also include heritage centres but offer help and support but unlikely to stock other Hornby brands.
Tier 3 tends to be ‘box shifters’ with no bricks and mortar presence. But they also added a line to say any manufacturer of products in competition with Hornby would be put in tier 3.

My cynical view is that line was added specifically to hit the likes of Hatton’s.

My realistic view is that all it has done is inconvenience the customer.
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darkscot
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Re: Hornby tiers system

#6

Post by darkscot »

If I was the proprietor of a Tier 3 establishment I would be wooing the likes of Accurascale, Heljan et al. Also if I worked in marketing for the likes of Heljan I would hotfooting it to those Tier 2 establishments to introduce myself.
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teedoubleudee
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Re: Hornby tiers system

#7

Post by teedoubleudee »

I haven't seen any of this so please excuse my ignorance on the matter. So what is the consequence of being in a particular tier? Do Tier one get bigger discounts or share of the goodies?

My belief is that Hornby need to make up their mind whether to be a manufacturer or a retailer rather than both. Many large companies manage quite well by not having it's own retail sector but maintain a robust distributor network that in turn serves the retail trade.
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Steve M
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Re: Hornby tiers system

#8

Post by Steve M »

TWD, the tiers determine the allocation of stock. Basically Tier 3 can only get new stock after it has been released and then only if there is any left after tiers 1 & 2 have been served.

It's a bit hypocritical of Hornby who are both a supplier and a retailer.

I believe Peco are also restrictive - talking to a shop owner the other day, and apparently they won't supply to anyone without a 'proper' shop.
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bulleidboy
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Re: Hornby tiers system

#9

Post by bulleidboy »

This is the link to the complete press release:

Press release from Hornby:

Without doubt these last 15 months or more have proved incredibly challenging for us all due to Covid -19. As with many other manufacturers we have been faced since March 2020 with ensuring that our supply chain remained open and was able to meet the increased demand created by the abundance of leisure time that many of us faced when we were confined to our homes due to the lockdown restrictions.

Our overseas partners also faced some unprecedented challenges both in maintaining a demanding schedule of development but also the increased manufacturing requirements that we were asking of them.

It is unfortunate that as our new product plans, many of which had been laid out some two or three years previous were scheduled to come to fruition during 2020 just when Covid 19 struck. Just prior to the World going into lockdown the new Hornby model railway range, which included some truly amazing products, was launched and so successful was the new Hornby range that we were instantly faced with an immediate and unprecedented demand. Prior to the release and trying to learn from previous years experiences we created an allocation system which we hoped would prevent retailers placing large orders first and therefore by default reserving all the planned production. Although this allocation system worked to a degree it was far from being ideal, with the obvious limitations became apparent as 2020 unfolded, and because of this we believed that the system still needed to be refined.

As we moved into 2021 and acknowledging that the allocation system was not functioning as hoped we decided to introduce a Tier system with each of our existing retailers being placed in one of three tiers.

Tier 1 relates to those retailers that amongst other things maintain a clean and well laid out store and who promote several if not all of the Hornby Hobbies ranges, which includes as well as Hornby railways, Scalextric, Airfix, Humbrol and Corgi. These retailers invariably have an effective website and mail order service but more importantly they would also be able to provide help and guidance to their customers.

Those who have been nominated to Tier 2 tend to be the types of outlet that will also include heritage centres or museums. Those outlets designated Tier 2 must also be able to offer help, support and advice for their customers and are willing to promote Hornby products. Tier 2 retailers will include those on-line retailers who are also prepared to offer help, support and guidance to their customers.

Moving onto Tier 3. Amongst the retailers in this category will be those that may not have ‘bricks & mortar’ premises and more than likely trade mainly on-line with limited support. Such Tier 3 designated retailers may also manufacture their own branded model railway items which might possibly conflict with those produced by Hornby Hobbies Ltd. The Tier 3 store, if there is one may also be poorly laid out, untidy and consequently uninviting.

With such a tier system in place those in Tier 1 will quite naturally receive priority on deliveries especially where a product may be in high demand with low or restrictive quantities available. More importantly the Tier system will restrict the possibilities of orders being favoured to just one or a handful of accounts and therefore allowing for a more even and fair distribution.

The increased demand we have seen over this last year has been very welcome, but it has also had a knock on effect. To smooth production we have decided to restrict the manufacture of several of the new items so that our vendors can focus on efficiencies in an effort to improve their production and volume capabilities. This does mean that the release of some keenly awaited products will be delayed by up to 6 months from their original anticipated release date. We appreciate that in the short term this will cause a degree of disappointment, but in the long term we believe by relieving some of the pressure from our suppliers we will be able to return to a more consistent and reliable release date programme once the recalibration has been achieved.

Making such key and fundamental changes to our distribution operation has not been an easy task and we accept that for some our actions may not appear ideal but what is clear is that we cannot continue with the frustrations for both ourselves, our customers and the model rail enthusiasts that the old allocation system was undoubtedly causing. As is the phrase so common these days, the system is broken and it with such radical steps as has been laid out that we believe will result in a much smoother and less frustrating distribution of our products.
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bulleidboy
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Re: Hornby tiers system

#10

Post by bulleidboy »

I suppose some retailers will now be pushing "We are a Hornby Tier One store".

If, having read the press release, this is why certain models in the 2021 new releases have been marked on the Hornby site as "Unavailable" - I think this could have been worded slightly better - "This model now due in 2022" - "Unavailable" leaves one asking "why" or "will it not be produced at all". Two of the so-called "Unavailable" models are the new 9F Evening Star and the Hornby Collector Club Standard 2MT - I pre-ordered both and have emails confirming the orders - no further news - the 2MT loco no longer appears on the Hornby site at all!
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