Breaking News. 360 Brake Closing Its Doors. Looking For Strategic Alliance.

“Hello Cyril. I have attached a letter from me to the industry that will be going on to my website in a day or two, and if appropriate you can post on your blog. As importantly, I wanted you to know where we are, as you have always been a friend. Best of luck this year with all of your interests”. Dale E. Needleman, 360 Brake

“My name is Dale Needleman, and I am the President of the 360 Brake Company.  I am writing to announce that the 360 Brake Company has sold all of its existing inventory and has elected not to order new inventory until the motorcycle industry rebounds.  As a result, we will not be accepting orders for new brake sales until further notice, although we will try to continue to fulfill parts orders.

The 360 Brake Company invested substantial sums of money in 2007 to acquire the brake from the Baldwin-Wilson Development Company and even more to re-design and expand the product offering and fitment.  Shortly after our acquisition, the recession hit the motorcycle industry hard.  Unfortunately nobody could foresee how bad the economy would get or how long the recession would last.  We agree with our customers and fans that the 360 Brake is still an exciting and unique product in this industry.  Check it out at 360 Brake.

At this time, 360 Brake Company has decided to sell the company or form a strategic partnership with a new investment group or another company.  We are ideally looking for someone who would like an exclusive license to manufacture and distribute the product, but we will also consider an outright sale or even a contract sale with the right terms.  We have described some of the partnerships that interest us below, but we are open to other business structures.

During this transition we will be operating electronically via email only.  We apologize for any frustration this transition may cause for you.  If you have questions or need assistance please email info@360brake.com. We are grateful to our distributors, dealers, and customers who have supported our company and product through what has proven to be a very difficult recession”. Sincerely, Dale Needleman. President, 360 Brake Company, LLC

Partnership With a Wheel Company. We think a strategic partnership with a wheel company would enable a wheel company to sell more middle to high-end wheels with the 360 brake, as a wheel-brake package. Any wheel company that has significant market share or an established distribution channel would be able to distinguish itself in the market from any competitor, because we would be willing to provide some level of exclusivity on brake sales to that strategic partner.  In addition to increasing revenue from wheel sales, a wheel company that forms a strategic partnership with 360 Brake Company will also enjoy profits from the sale of each 360 brake.

Partnership With a Parts Distributor. We think a strategic partnership with a parts distributor or any company with strong distribution channels in the motorcycle after-market could easily add the 360 brake to existing product lines and generate profits almost immediately.  A strategic partnership with a parts distributor or other established industry leader would enable 360 Brake Company to realize deeper market penetration than 360 Brake Company can achieve on its own as a single-product manufacturing company.

Acquisition by Another Company. Although the owners of 360 Brake Company believe strongly in this product and the long-term future of the industry and this company’s important role in the industry, we are open to considering any fair offer to purchase the assets of the 360 Brake Company.  We would consider installment payments, if accompanied by a meaningful down payment or a significant commitment to market the 360 brake in the future. We recognize that the motorcycle industry is just now starting to stabilize and that it will take some time for the industry to fully recover.

Partnership With New Investors. We would consider adding additional partners to the group of businessmen who purchased the 360 brake from the Baldwin-Wilson Development Corporation.  This is not a public or open solicitation or securities offering.

Multiple Partners. We also will consider more creative arrangements involving more than one strategic relationship.  For example, we would consider a partnership or joint venture arrangement with a machine shop or other parts manufacturer, and a company or firm with experience and resources to market motorcycle parts and products.  As another example, we would partner with any company marketing a product or service on a large regional or national scale, if that would increase public awareness of the 360 brake.  We are open to suggestions, as long as our strategic partners share our philosophy of (1) always treating the customer right and (2) always creating win-win business relationships.

Zipper's

32 Responses to “Breaking News. 360 Brake Closing Its Doors. Looking For Strategic Alliance.”


  1. 1 Bigalyts Mar 7th, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    GOOD IDEA! Sorry to see any Busness Man close the Doors, but Dood, $6 Large for a pair of Brakes…………..save your Do Re Mi !!!!

  2. 2 golfish Mar 7th, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    no shocker here.

  3. 3 maroco Mar 8th, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Realy nice product, hope you find a soluction for.

  4. 4 raycwheeler Mar 8th, 2010 at 6:11 am

    Stop it.

  5. 5 busfreak Mar 8th, 2010 at 7:18 am

    We are open to suggestions, as long as our strategic partners share our philosophy of (1) always treating the customer right.

    Well here is a suggestion, “lower the price”. The 1k front brake days are over.

  6. 6 BikerMarc Mar 8th, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Hey,

    Business is tough. Its tougher if you are in the motorcycle business.

    All the best to you all as we strive to survive these recessionary times.

    BikerMarc

  7. 7 The Supreme Team Mar 8th, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Very sorry to hear this. Too many good folks out there getting hit hard with this scenario.
    We too acquired Supreme at a rough time for a very substantial amount of “owed” money.

    We are thankful to have been able to survive this and continue to move forward.

    My sincerest hopes go to 360 Brake for a quick/stable solution. Very cool product in their niche market. Regardless of price, it’s a great product.

    For those of you quick to worry about the pricing, blame it on your distributors…they’re dictating the end price. The manufacturers are just trying to eat and we’re the ones maintaining the enormous inventories waiting for a sale to the distributors…360 Brake is making all of about $150 on their $1K brake.
    Dealers get the best bump and distributors next, then the manufacturer is low man on the totem pole holding $100K of inventory waiting for $10K in orders from a distributor…that’s why we moved from them, lowered our price and only sell dealer direct and retail now.

    It’s a tough time to be in this industry and you have to be able to survive with more than just a single product that you sell.

    Best of luck to you Dale.

  8. 8 Boss Hawg Mar 8th, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Supreme team…

    Very smart move and I am happy that you pass the savings on to your dealers and the end users in lieu of the distributors with tiered mark-up mark-up mark-up. Aside from the motorcycle business, having a small multi store retail sales operation (mattresses, an everyday household staple) we do the same, buy direct from the manufacturers and pass the savings along…no middle men. You should do very well with this move.

    Boss Hawg

  9. 9 jspfc Mar 8th, 2010 at 9:57 am

    I agree that $1,000.00 for a brake is expensive but if you actually compare it to Performance Machine is it really that much?

    Cheapest set up from Performance Machine – 4 piston brake caliper and 11.5 disk is $780.00 and if you go with a 6 piston and 13″ disk you are looking at $940.00

    So is $1000.00 really that outrageous?

    I do think that 360 needs to make some alliances with wheel manufacturers because this thing is not easy to install and it would be nice to order the proper set when you order your wheels so it is a simple installation. Might be hard though because if someone uses a 360 versus a disc that matches their wheels, you are now taking money out of the wheel manufacturers pocket who is selling the disk.

    Good luck though, it is a great product.

  10. 10 The Supreme Team Mar 8th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks Boss Hawg.
    We’ve put up an e-commerce site and are collaborating with other folks in the industry to start offering more products in the way of lighting and such. One person leaning on the next, and all working together to beat this mess.
    Press releases, small ads, and presence in the forums, as well as offering free shipping, etc. to our retail and dealers, has seemed to make for some happy folks.

    We’ve paid for our e-commerce site in just 8 weeks being live, and with continued incentives, both dealer and retail being offered via e-mail blast weekly, we believe we’re going in the right direction.

    jspfc,
    Yep…agreed. PM is amazingly priced for the actual product being produced. I’m completely aware of what goes into caliper manufacturing as we make them in 4 piston as well, and though we could realistically retail ours through a distributor at $450…we offer them straight to you for a couple hundred. 18 month warranty, stainless pistons, Alcoa aluminum, and the same quad seals Brembo uses…hmmm…must be something in the cool logo on the caliper I guess.

    Anyway, no sleight on PM…I envy them and look forward to being that successful, but not at the cost of selling out to MAG. Just my .02.

    Best of luck to you 360…we’re rootin’ for ya!

  11. 11 AHellrider Mar 8th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    The idea was very cool but in t5he real world of riding the brakes SUCKED. They were great for the billit crap that you see at shows but for the rider the brakes were a downright lie. Now quit beating this dead hourse of an idea and move on. The 90s and the day of the rider with a gold card are gone…not coming back all you marketing wizes. The mass of population that fueled the biker phenoninon has passed. 360 brake bahahah!

  12. 12 J Mar 8th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Way to be enlightened there, AHellrider- no worries, chances are you’ll miss the next move, too; My gold card and I are doing just fine, thanks- keeping frycooks like yourself working does my heart good….

    360 Brake did a lot of work to improve their product, and I have no doubt they weren’t able to recoop much on their R&D. Price point was never really the issue- either you liked the set up or you didn’t, dropping the price a couple hundred bucks wasn’t gonna sell any more sets.

    Whether or not they worked as well as Brembo, et al, was never the point- it was a cool product, and I want a lot of ideas and choices when it comes to customizing a bike; Gee what now- I get to choose between what designs I want milled out on my brake rotor carriers? Ohhhh, cutting edge!

    There is room to thin the herd in the industry, but I’m not happy when truly innovative and unique products get tossed out, too- I hope 360 finds its way back into the market, I still want to try a set on my bobber…

  13. 13 S Mar 8th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I recall when this brake was first introduced in Daytona by Baldwin Wilson years ago. It was great to see a new custom innovative product reaching the marketplace!

    After several twists and turns, the new owners produced a quality product that performed well. In this economic environment, everybody is finding it challenging. What builder or shops have more (profitable) business than they can handle?

    Someone posted about selling price points…sounds like 360Brake kept manufacturing here in the U.S., which kept their price points higher.

    Sorry to hear of their economic challenges and hoping they are able to survive in some fashion until things turn around.

  14. 14 Mike Mar 8th, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    SupremeTeam,

    You’ve said several things that are simply NOT TRUE about the motorcycle marketplace, and I wanted to set things straight

    -It is not true the distributors set the price. I sell to Tucker and Parts and they both asked ME to tell them what MSRP, dealer, and wholesale price was. They accepted my prices, parts go in the catalog, and that’s it.

    -What the manufacturer makes on the part is up to the manufacturer. If 360 was making $150 on a $1000 MSRP part, then that’s their problem and that’s why they are going out of business. Not every product is viable and not every product is viable for distribution. If your product costs $300 to make but the market will only pay $500 for it, well, you ain’t gonna be able to sell it to distributors because there isn’t enough margin. If 360 tried to sell through distributors without sufficient margin, that’s their mistake and one that will (did) cost them.

    -I dunno what you mean about $100k of inventory waiting on a $10k order. If you are doing that, you shouldn’t be. Get your leadtimes down so that you can deliver in a reasonable time without carrying all the inventory. I get 30 days from PO date to delivery, and I can manufacture parts in 30 days. And why would you keep 10 times a distributors order on your shelf? Bad idea. That will sink you if you keep it up.

    Times are tough… you need to talk to your suppliers and get things straight with them. If your chrome shop tells you 6 weeks, tell them you need it in 3 or you need to get a new shop. Everyone is less busy and everyone is accepting smaller orders with shorter lead times, which should let you keep your customers happy without having 10x order volume on the shelf. Part of being a businessman is managing your supply line and if you aren’t doing that…well… look what happened to 360 brake.

  15. 15 OutThereSomewhere Mar 8th, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    AHellrider:
    You might want to put some fresh steel wool in your crack pipe. The design of the 360 brake is based on exactly the same design that has been stopping jet airliners, Lear Jets, Citations, King Airs and many other high performance aircraft for 40+ years. They just figured out a way to make it work on a bike and the new owers figured out a way to make it work better. They never intended it to be a racing brake and compete with the Brembo’s of the word on super bikes, they came up with something that make an old skool bike look, well old school but still have the front brake function that more modern thinking people have realized is needed on a bike.

    I love the idea, you can make a new chopbobber bike with all the requirements of the DOT with the braking system and to the casual observer it will look like it’s a chopped/bobbed 1960’s era bike with no front brakes.

    The custom guys with the really high end wheels can show off both sides of the wheel now without a giant Brembo disc in the way. Someone will go and spend $3k to $5k+++ on a set of custom wheels then cover up 70% of it with a brake and bitch about a $1,000 option (which in all actuality is a hell of a lot less since they went and dropped $900 for a chrome disc setup anyway) to completely open it up.

    I hope they find the investor/partnership needed to stay in the game. They have a unique product for the motorcycle industry and it’s a complement to them being a single product comapny that they have managed to stay in this long. That should say something to the company that has room for them in their lineup.

  16. 16 Vision Mar 8th, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Personally I hate big rotors. Even with a nice set Brembo or PM calipers you still got this giant scored metal disk bocking the view of what are some really beautiful wheels out these days. Never tried the 360 but I sure see the appeal. And not to knock Mr. Goldcard above but price is a consideration with everything that goes on my bike because I dont have unlimited funds and any money saved can be applied to buy somthing else for the bike.

  17. 17 Rider2 Mar 8th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Dear Supreme Team,

    Apparently Mike is making (or reselling) some cheap products that were manufactured to produce a 80% markup allowing distributors to get at least 40% and dealers 35%. That’s the norm. I suspect Mike sells either T-Shirts or cheap plastic parts to Drag or CCI or whoever. If not he would know that not every parts made are bringing that kind of money and that distributors don’t give a crap about the vendors and their price even if they put nice “map pricing” policies out there to make it look like they care. The bottom line is they will always try to bring you down for the cheapest price (that’s the job of the purchasing department) and they won’t care if a dealer make 12%, 20% or 50% as long as they get their cut.
    With this economy, I can name dozen of parts manufacturers (many read this blog, including Supreme) that got fed up with the bs at the distribution level and decided to sell direct to dealers or consumers. Why give the big boyz 40% when you can make 65% selling directly to “Jo Blow”. This is a smart move on Supreme’s end and others.

    The ones that don’t want to get away from distributors quickly learn that once the distributor dumps them (for lack of sales, interest, politics, or simply when they found a way to copy it overseas and sell it under their own brand), the little part manufacturer dies quickly because it has no marketing plan, no dealer to talk to and no way to survive on its own.

    Therefore I suspect our good friend Mike here to be a new vendor for those guys or someone who designed its products for distribution only. He probably heard the nice song from the oh-so powerful people working for those distributors promising marketing co-op, large continuous orders even when they don’t really need anything and exceptional push for their well-motivated road reps and phone reps. Then, a year from now, once Mike discovers his stuff doesn’t sell or he pissed off a buyer, or made a comment to the wrong guy, the re-orders are not coming as fast, the distributor asks for return numbers or extended payments. Then, Mike gets a letter saying his stuff won’t make the catalog this year (budget cut I guess). Oopppss Mike is now alone with no plan but he got a free T-Shirt from WI or CA or TX and a free both at their dealer show.

    High quality parts made in the US (brakes such as the 360, Supreme, exhausts etc…) don’t have that much mark up. They simply don’t and they will never. It makes total sense to go direct. People with a real business and marketing plan in this industry know they don’t NEED a distributor but it is always nice to have one to ensure some cash flow. But unfortunately, no everyone has a plan and they’d rather put all their eggs in the same basket and wait for orders (so much easier and so typical).

    Supreme and other made the right choice. I can only foresee more of this happening.
    Best wishes to the 360 Team.

  18. 18 Woody Mar 9th, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Rider 2-well said! China’s kicking our butt because we have an entire industry that starts at the MSRP the market will bear and then go backwards on pricing tiers to determine how much they’d have to make it for………………and have it made overseas because that’s the only way to hit the mark. Ask them why they have to sell to a wholesaler and they stare at you like you said there is no God.

  19. 19 Mike Mar 9th, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Rider,

    You simply have no idea what you are talking about. Also, it is clear from your tone and sarcastic comments that you got upset reading my post, and took a shot back. I guess you are one of those people I talked about who don’t know how to run a business, and are getting slammed in this economy.

    Every one of your shots missed, sorry.

    I manufacture hard parts in the USA. I have a shop of CNC machines and other machinery cranking out parts (as I type) that are sold through Tucker/Bikers Choice as well as Parts/Drag. I’ve been selling to these guys for 10+ years, and I’ve never had problems. Sure, they have asked me for various things, and sometimes I’ve said yes, and sometimes I’ve said no. I did an extra 10% off at the Dealer Expo and V-Twin Expo for all dealers, and got a nice fat order from them in return.

    If you don’t know how to run a business, you’re going to get burned. The way to piss off the buyers is to backorder parts, to produce shoddy quality, and to get bent out of shape when they don’t make you rich for sitting on your ass waiting for the fax machine to spit an order out.

    If you guys only have 15% margins selling to distributors, then you have no business selling to distributors. I gross an order of magnitude more than that when I sell my parts to distribution, but then again, I am vigilant about my parts costs and manufacturing costs.

    My parts sell for a premium price, and I do pretty well with the distributors. And I like the fact that they order every month like clockwork even in November through February.

    If you look at the big names in the industry, all of them sell through the big 3 distributors. Anyone who thinks they can be better or bigger selling direct is kidding themselves. Ask Micron Exhaust how that business idea worked out for them.

    Selling through the distributors isn’t perfect, but if you have a business mind and a business plan and know how manufacturing and development works, then you can make good money selling through distributors. That’s why the vast majority of bike shops buy the vast majority of their stuff through the big 3. You can tell yourself that you will sell direct and offer better pricing – but at the end of the day, one of two things will happen. Either you won’t sell much or you will sell a lot, at which time the distributors will want the product – and if you can’t sell it to them, they will get it elsewhere and kick your ass on the deal.

    Some have what it takes to make it work. The rest whine about it on the internet.

  20. 20 Mike Mar 9th, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Woody,

    I looked at your website, you have a cool product and I wish you well with it.

    As far as your comments on the industry… how else should it work, other than starting with what the market will bear? Some products are simply not candidates for distribution… for example, custom leather seats. If it takes 10 hours of labor to make one, and the maker nets $300 on the deal, then it could be a nice home business for a talented person, but it’s not a model for distribution.

    If people will pay $200 for a set of chrome floorboards, but nobody can make them for less than $100, should the distributors refuse to sell them because they would need to sell them for way more than people will pay? It’s naive to think the distributor won’t or shouldn’t do that. The reality is we live in a global economy… you can complain about it, or you can work with what we got to earn money.

    I do all of my manufacturing in the USA. My electronics are designed here, assembled here, CNC machining is done here, chrome is done here, anodizing is done here. I buy American metal and use American machine tools and employ Americans in my shop in America. And I do OK.

    If you’re making commodity stuff – grips and pegs and clamps and that sort of junk, then people aren’t going to see the value in paying 10x the price for US made stuff, unless you have something unique to offer. So for those that whine about the glory days when you could make billet shift linkages with skulls cut in them and sell them for $199.99, well, those days are over. Adapt or die.

    Lots of companies making good money in the USA. Look at Hawg Halters, TPI, Adjure, Paughco, Dakota Digital, Zippers, Xtreme Machine. All make parts in the USA and have reps for high quality stuff.

    It can be done.

  21. 21 Woody Mar 9th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    “If people will pay $200 for a set of chrome floorboards, but nobody can make them for less than $100, should the distributors refuse to sell them because they would need to sell them for way more than people will pay?”
    That thinking is the crux of what I was trying to say. If you’ll excuse me, I have to run out to Walmart and see if there’s a 99¢ television available yet. 😉
    I’m not saying all distributors or bad, or anything like that. Some products are well-suited for volume mfr. and resale. Others aren’t, and rather than demand a fair price for the labors they just have them made in China. If more folks here still had decent jobs, a $200 or even $400 pair of floorboards might not seem so expensive.

  22. 22 Mike Mar 9th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Woody,

    The average wealth of the average American is higher than at any time in history. If you look back to the 50’s, people didn’t mostly have cars, and those who did spent more (as a % of their salary) on them, and kept them longer. Most families had a single small black and white TV. They maybe took a family vacation by car once a year or every other year, and the average home size was around 1,800sq-ft.

    Today we drive late model cars. We have 60″ flat screen TV’s. We fly to Cancun or Paris for a holiday, and we live in 2,500sq-ft homes with AC and landscaped yards. We live better than we ever did before.

    We have a high-tech industry that we never had before. A medical industry we never had. Yes, a guy can no longer expect to live a middle-class lifestyle if he has lower-class skills, but Union auto workers making $150k a year was never sustainable anyway.

    Times have changed, and indisputably for the better. I don’t want to go back to the days of $1,500 20″ televisions or cars that break down every week and get 11mpg for 160hp.

    Like I said, we adapt or die. If it is easy to get stuff made in China or Taiwan, everyone would do it. There is no innovation in making a set of pegs like everyone else makes, but in a different color or with holes drilled in them. Those ideas have little value, and the manufacturers add no value, so they won’t last.

    But we still have a bigger manufacturing base in the USA than all of China has (it’s a fact). We have a higher GDP. We have higher earnings per capita than ever before. We have a higher quality of living than ever before in history.

    We don’t need cobblers or blacksmiths or coopers or stonemasons anymore, but then again, before we didn’t need computer programmers and electronic engineers and biochemists and neurosurgeons. However you slice it, we’re moving up.

    And we’ve all gotta adapt or die. There is no free lunch.

    Sounds like you’ve carved a nice little niche out for yourself – good for you. But you must surely realize that if all your materials were made in the USA and without price competition, then your parts would cost way more to produce. And if everyone made more money to be able to afford higher end parts, nobody would have any money for them because we’d be paying $1,500 for a 20″ TV and $90,000 for a Chevy Cavalier to support all the US workers who want to earn an upper-middle-class wage for a zero-skills job.

    Onwards and upwards – chin up 🙂

  23. 23 Woody Mar 9th, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I respectfully disagree. What was the national foreign debt. in the 50’s. I’m afraid we’ve mortgaged our future for those items some call progress.
    My home is only 1000 sq ft. BTW, but it & everything I own (except my health 🙂 ) is paid for.

  24. 24 Rider2 Mar 9th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Woody,

    There is no need to argue with our good friend Mike. We all appreciate his input on survival as I am sure we all appreciate his comment on companies making pegs and clamps he considers “junk” apparently. As a 15-year veteran in his industry, I would love to know what Mike is manufacturing that is so unique that apparently all the distributors are fighting over his made in USA “junk” to be sold at a premium price. Apparently he used metal in the US and electronics… So I am wondering what he sells… maybe he’ll tell us.

    But there is no denying that manufacturers need to adapt and be smart. There is also no denying that everybody can go to China and get parts manufactured for cheap (well it’s not true anymore but that’s a different story) and there is no denying that having a distributor behind your back to help you with orders is safe. However I have a problem with distributors copying products overseas and reselling them under their own brand and complaining to the original US manufacturer that his product line doesn’t sell. The list of examples is very long. Selling less but with better margins is probably a good approach for certain companies and some prefer using a distributor for volume and let’s say lack of business plan. After all it’s a lot easier to talk to one buyer and get one check rather than talking to 12,000+ dealers and trying to get paid.

    I guess it depends what you sell and who you want to play with in this industry. Some people don’t like to be told what they can do and who they have to sell to and some like to control their own destiny even if they don’t do the volume you are probably doing. It’s a matter of choice I guess.

  25. 25 Woody Mar 10th, 2010 at 10:08 am

    “I guess it depends what you sell and who you want to play with in this industry.”
    True, and I’m sure everyone on this thread is doing what seems right to them. In that respect we’re probably ALL correct in our opinions. I didn’t mean to use up so much of Cyril’s bike bandwith, too many days without sunshine I guess, plus it’s tax time 🙂

  26. 26 Mike Mar 10th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Rider,

    What does it matter what my company does or who we are? It is irrelevant.

    Pegs and such are not “junk” per se, but it’s not unique stuff. Some guy with a lathe who turns pegs and anodizes them in black is adding no value, not when he wants to sell them at $150 a pair, and not when those same parts can be made for $8 overseas. And markets will always find efficiency (see: entropy). If you are a person who has something you make that is not unique, is not patented, is not specialized and has nothing that allows you to add value to the chain, then you’re not going to be making it long, not in volume anyway. People who get that can make money. People who don’t, complain on the internet about it.

    I don’t have distributors fighting over my product… it is a relationship developed from a sales effort. Any real businessman would know that. To think it would ever be anything else is naive. I make sure I deliver on orders. I make sure I am always developing innovative new products. I make sure I am making unique parts, not copying what else is out there. I price it right, I control my manufacturing costs, I offer value, and I do well with the distributors. I am not alone. Like I said, lots of companies do the same. Hawg Halters, Dakota Digital, Zippers and many more. Yep, sometimes they drop product lines. Yep, I get knocked off. Yep, I occasionally have to make compromises with price or with volume. But that’s part of business. You can work within the system and get rich, or complain on the internet that the system is keeping you down and it should be different. Whatever floats your boat.

    There is nothing wrong with being a small fish and making your living that way – some enjoy that, and more power to them.

    Your statement about two paths and one buyer/one check vs. 12k dealers and trying to get paid is again naive. I am not sure if you are in the industry but if you are, I think I see why you may not be getting the results you wanted. Even the distributors don’t extend terms to little shops. If you feel big enough to give terms, you damn well better be big enough to be running D&B checks on all those businesses you give terms to. And if you’re not doing that, then you are playing with fire. And the suggestion that a company follows one path or another is foolish… I sell to dealers direct and I also sell retail. No distributor ever told me what to do nor did they complain. And anyone in this business who is a serious player knows that most of the shops out there prefer to buy from distributors only, so despite the fact that I have 600+ dealers I sell to direct, most of the orders go through the distribs.

    Nothing wrong with being a small fish and making a living on a small scale – I have tons of respect for people who do that and follow their dream. But I can’t say the same about people who just complain on the internet and say stuff that isn’t even true, especially when me and a thousand other businessmen are out there doing what they say can’t be done, and doing it year after year after year.

    Trust me, it ain’t the distributors holding you down.

  27. 27 Dale Mar 10th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Gentleman: a lot of great comments have been written above about dealers, distributors, and the cost of manufacturing both in USA and Abroad.
    Please note, I never said anything about distributors, dealers or the high cost of manufacture. In fact, I am Sincerely Grateful to all of the Distributors, Dealers and Builders that enjoyed our products. We have made so many great friends, and I have enjoyed working with all of the industry. The unfortunate present condition has nothing to do with our customers doing anything wrong.
    We appreciated all distribution and sales channels.
    Dale

  28. 28 The Supreme Team Mar 11th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Rider2, well said.

    I would have responded two days ago, but I was filling orders.

    Mike, well said, however, I am completely aware of what my distributor and dealers are asking for their margin.
    We run a just in time inventory (do you?), however we also offer over 500 skus..how many do you offer?
    I don’t make one offs, and I don’t make 10 at a time, we manufacture in quantity because of the amount of product we move.

    Drag carried over 220 skus last year between Parts and Drag, so before you enlighten “everybody” about how your business works, remember that each scenario is different.

    I dealt with Tucker before, and to be honest, they moved about 1/4 of what Drag did for us…catering to them was not worth the money made.
    And yes, our dealers get 30%, and distributors get 35%. I could certainly sell retail direct only and move product for half what they’re going right now, but why not share the wealth with the dealers…why not let others make some money off a top notch product? Thousands of dealers across the US and overseas will tell you how happy they are with the margin they receive.

    We are far from a one man show, and we certainly are capable of running our show efficiently. I’ve been in manufacturing since I was 8 years old cutting chips on a bridgeport at my old man’s shop…yeah really. I also ran that shop for 20 years as the operations manager, until I was able to take it over. My experience in efficiency and cost cutting will explain me being ruthless with my vendors for pricing and the “doesn’t bother me…there’s plenty of people that need my business” attitude.
    My chrome shop has parts for me next day when I need it, and usually no more than 5. I get 60 day terms with my chrome shop. I use ONLY American billet, Alcoa or Kaiser for my products.

    So…um..”not adding value”? Interesting. Our product is designed and exclusively manufactured COMPLETELY in the USA. We offer an 18 month warranty, and second to none product support.
    I’m not sure what exactly anybody considers a “value added” aftermarket product unless it’s a performance upgrade along the lines of exhaust,tuners, etc. so if you’re not making that, you’re in the same boat as the rest of the industry…and even exhaust can only be bent so many ways.

    There is a cost of doing business associated with these margins, including overhead, cash flow, etc., so though I appreciate your input, it’s apparently only valid to your particular scenario.

    I know a few people who sell through distributors who are putting the parts together in their garage…I only wish I could do that. I have product liability insurances, workman’s comp, building leases, utilities, marketing companies, advertising and all the overhead of the rest of the world.

    As I’d stated, I”ve adapter thusly, and am enjoying the fruits of a well put together website, with plenty of SEO, loads of press releases, loads of installation articles in the major mags, loads of marketing, and collaboration with other companies in the industry to team up on marketing, and …whoops…hold on…OH…an order from Germany this morning for $960 with a 65% margin on it. You were saying?

    Perhaps Mike, you should give HD a call, as well as Big Dog, and enlighten them as to the “all knowing”.

    Good luck to you Mike. Good luck to all in the industry. I’m thankful I’m not having to deal with what Dale is, and you should be too.

    Take care…ride safe. I’m out.

    Bill

  29. 29 Woody Mar 11th, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Dale, I don’t think anyone is thinking that of you, we just scratched on a topic that’s easy to be passionate about like arguing health care or “what oil to use”. The internet has changed everything and marketing in particular. Folks barely flipping over the Drag Catalog for beer money have caused some mfrs. to lament the fact they have no control over what their products can be sold for. All you’d need is a dealer sign over an outhouse in MN and you could have a huge catalog business, though to be fair those prices are better (for the mfrs) than some of the ebay fronts 😉
    The value of the product spirals downward and eventually China is the only way to mfr. and survive. Once we’ve finished tuning this country into a nation of burger flippers, even the China stuff will be too expensive.

  30. 30 Dale Mar 11th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Woody: Oh I totally agree. My career background is is manfacturing. And The USA was built on Manufacturing, innovation and adaptation. I am scared that we have become a country of consumers. Personally, I believe that as we lose our Foothold on manufacturing, we become consumer slave to the rest of the world, and in fact will lose our place in the ranks.

    The 360 Brake was made in The USA , by quality workers.

    Peace

  31. 31 MDSPHOTO Mar 12th, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    What happens to those of us that just bought one of these breaks from a customer service standpoint?????????????????????????????????????

  32. 32 Fluke Mar 15th, 2010 at 8:27 am

    MDS, just hang on and sell it in a year for a massive profit. The rarity factor. It worked for billy lane and jesse james when they stopped making parts. I just saw a pair of WCC risers go for over 1500$ on fleabay, and some of my Choppers Inc bits i sold for between 3 to 9 times what I paid a few months before. of course, you may need to drill holes in them and insert 44 mag shells to make the really serious money.

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