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What happens if Meade disappears?

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#26 imjeffp

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:27 PM

Hmm... All SCTs are Cassegrains. Not all Cassegrains are SCTs.
 

#27 sang33ta

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 07:08 PM

"Could someone discuss why and how Meade has come to its current business state?"

I would say too many DOA deliveries. Quality control is shocking. You have to send the whole thing back not just the broken part costs a fortune in shipping.

Like someone else said, you can always pop the OTA on another mount and put you knackered fork on ebay for "spares and repairs" to get part of the mount cost back.
 

#28 Lane

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 07:23 PM

Remember that Meade has just finished reorganizing and took the production facilities to Mexico. If not for the bad economy I think we would see them turning around right now. And even if they could not survive, they own a very valuable bunch of patents plus a valuable name. Synta or someone else would want to take advantage of that.
 

#29 CHASLX200

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 07:31 PM

I wish Meade would do back to the old days in the 70's when Meade was a great place to deal with.

Chas
 

#30 stars_in_my_eyes

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 07:33 PM

Remember that Meade has just finished reorganizing and took the production facilities to Mexico. If not for the bad economy I think we would see them turning around right now. And even if they could not survive, they own a very valuable bunch of patents plus a valuable name. Synta or someone else would want to take advantage of that.


Unfortuantely I do not think that would help used Meade equipment prices if the company fails.
 

#31 stars_in_my_eyes

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 07:37 PM

"Could someone discuss why and how Meade has come to its current business state?"

I would say too many DOA deliveries. Quality control is shocking. You have to send the whole thing back not just the broken part costs a fortune in shipping.


That is what I have been reading elsewhere.

It sounds like Meade is not the company for me...I like to buy something once and not subsidize UPS.
 

#32 Lane

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 08:13 PM

If you work for a company that is having finacial problems your mind is not on your work or producting quality products it is on polishing up your resume for that next job. I think that is what happened to meade. They made a decision a while back to sell cheapo 60mm scopes at Walmart and some other outlets and it killed them. More than half those scopes were returned and Meade ate the cost. The cost of producing scopes in the USA also went up at the same time and they found themselves in trouble. Then along comes the lawsuit over the RC issue and it was just too much for them to bear. To save the company they moved production to Mexico. All the scopes built in the 2 or 3 years prior to that move are of questionable quality. I suspect the quality will go up since they now have a bunch of new Mexican employees who are very happy to have a nice job to go to every day. Just my opinion but I did have a conversation with a Meade rep a short time back and most of this comes from that conversation.
 

#33 Jerry3672

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 08:56 PM

I also talked to a Meade rep a couple of months ago at a star party.

Meade has a plan for 2009. No more Wally, better quality, and new products. The new ETX-LS is a start. They also are working on a GEM mount that is between the LXD and the Max mount. Should hold a 65lbs scope. They have already made the ACF line of optics common for all of their scopes. This makes the production line move better, and we all get the ACF optics.

The online store is a kick in the teeth to the Dealers, but that is a great way to raise cash for Meade.

So does this sound like a company that is going away?
Did the bean counters show a 2.8 mil loss on paper for a tax break or bail out money?

I don't see meade going away without a fight.
 

#34 Lane

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 09:23 PM

I certainly hope and believe they will make it and I think we all should be supporting them in the effort and not trying to bury them prematurely. If for no other reason, because without them around guess what will happen to the prices of Celestron equipment.
 

#35 Astronomics

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 09:33 PM

Meade's online store is supplied by dealers. Meade is not selling the product directly. A dealer fulfills the order from their inventory.
 

#36 Jerry3672

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 09:49 PM

Meade's online store is supplied by dealers. Meade is not selling the product directly. A dealer fulfills the order from their inventory.


I like that! I was disappointed for the dealers, but this makes it all better.

Thanks for the information. I assumed that Meade was looking for a little more profit. That is how bad information gets spread.

My apologies
 

#37 Paula E

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 10:20 PM

Meade has a plan for 2009. No more Wally, better quality, and new products. The new ETX-LS is a start. They also are working on a GEM mount that is between the LXD and the Max mount. Should hold a 65lbs scope.


I like the plan, particularly the GEM. All of that makes sense to me, for what it's worth.
 

#38 jgraham

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 10:38 PM

Cool. Direct sales can cause problem with distributors. I don't see Meade going away any time soon. I personally believe they'll weather the slump and I give them full marks for continuing to develop new and interesting products. I think the worst that will happen is they'll get bought out, but I'm not the most business savvy person in the world. I have quite a few Meade products from cameras to telescopes that have served me well for many years and I expect they will for many more.
 

#39 stars_in_my_eyes

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 10:42 PM

I certainly hope and believe they will make it and I think we all should be supporting them in the effort and not trying to bury them prematurely. If for no other reason, because without them around guess what will happen to the prices of Celestron equipment.


I agree...I wish Meade only the best.

Competition is good for the amateur community.

The fewer the vendors, the less the variety and higher the prices.

I am just facing the economic reality...we are in for a tough recession.
 

#40 Paul G

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 07:53 AM

I also talked to a Meade rep a couple of months ago at a star party.

Meade has a plan for 2009. No more Wally, better quality, and new products.


If that's their plan it sounds like a bad move. The last time I looked at their financial report their Wally type scopes accounted for 95% of the scopes they sold and 2/3 of their income. The introduction of the ETX pushed the serious scopes up to 5% of their sales, prior to that it was 3% and 97% Wally scopes.

The Wally scopes require little overhead, just import them and ship them. And since the expectations are very low when one buys a $100-200 scope/mount combo and the purchasers of Wally scopes typically have zero experience evaluating optics, I suspect the return rate and repair costs (probably cheaper to replace than repair) are quite low compared to their more serious scopes.

To give up 95% of the scope sales and the lion's share of their income in favor of the 5% that requires an expensive factory, materials, skilled labor, parts, and repair service in a bad economy when expensive products are taking it on the chin sounds like corporate suicide.
 

#41 rmollise

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 09:00 AM


Sure. Lousy economy.

Next question?


There's a _wee_ bit more to it than that. ;)

Though the economy doesn't help, Meade has been sinkin' for a couple of years.

Why?

Numerous stuff...

The decision to go public just as the tech bubble burst.

The departure of founder and guiding light, John Diebel.

The departure of other key players.

Increased competition over the last decade from Celestron, who is now owned by an offshore company and no longer flying by the seat of their pants.

The demise of the Discovery Channel stores, a major outlet for Meade's "ETX and up" scopes, which have always been the company's major source of _profit_.

Lingering troubles with QA/customer support (though much of the time they are no worse in customer support than their competitor). QA has been a major problem for them for some years.

The disastrous introduction of the RCX. This telescope could have been the company's savior. It included all those things SCT users had been asking for for years, but in a package much more reasonably priced than the feature laden SCTs Meade has been forced to fire-sale price over the years because of the presence of Celestron.

A similarly disastrous introduction of the MySky, which could have been a KILLER gadget, setting the pace for a real Meade revival. Unfortunately, not enough worked right, and those that did didn't keep doing that.

Finally, Big Blue may be down but they are not out...quite yet. If the new LS makes it to market, works as advertised, and is a big hit, it's a whole new ballgame.

:lol:
 

#42 rmollise

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 09:06 AM

I wish Meade would do back to the old days in the 70's when Meade was a great place to deal with.

Chas


Sorry to say, that is not going to happen. There is no way Meade can continue to produce scopes in California for the prices amateurs have demonstrated they'd pay for them. Things were a lot simpler in the 70s, with Meade selling a few Newtonians they made themselves, some refractors from Japan, and some (by today's standards) simple accessories and eyepieces.
 

#43 rmollise

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 09:09 AM

If that's their plan it sounds like a bad move. The last time I looked at their financial report their Wally type scopes accounted for 95% of the scopes they sold and 2/3 of their income.


But little of the profit. Their over-a-decade mania to sell in Wal-Mart and similar has done little to help them and at least something to bring them down.
 

#44 stars_in_my_eyes

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:17 PM


If that's their plan it sounds like a bad move. The last time I looked at their financial report their Wally type scopes accounted for 95% of the scopes they sold and 2/3 of their income.


But little of the profit. Their over-a-decade mania to sell in Wal-Mart and similar has done little to help them and at least something to bring them down.


Could you expand on that?

I know from the seven Walmart Superstore managers that I have spoken to, the return rate on Meade scopes is 0%

And Walmart is one of the few retailers who have been pushing to have a serious presence in both toys and electronics where the scopes would be seen by prospective buyers.
 

#45 Astronomics

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:21 PM

Well, I think the superstore managers are pulling your leg, or have zero clue as to what your talking about. Return rates on scopes are probably in line with return rates on normal goods.
 

#46 rmollise

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 03:15 PM


Could you expand on that?


IOW: "There's not much money to be had in selling little telescopes to mass merchanisers," who, without going off topic, I will just say REALLY KNOW THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR.

Be that as it may, no scopes (of any kind) were to be found at the Wal-Marts 'round here this Christmas...no Meade, Bushnell, or Tasco, which indicates it was a decision on Wal-Mart's part. To get out of the SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENT BIDNESS...

:lol:
 

#47 Paula E

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 03:24 PM

But little of the profit. Their over-a-decade mania to sell in Wal-Mart and similar has done little to help them and at least something to bring them down.


Amplifying on this a bit.

In a normal world, pricing is set by a combination of factors:
- what the market will bear
- what your competitor sets the bar at (this is one of the problems for Meade vs. Celestron.)
- what dealer's can sell them for and still make a profit Usually in Astronomy, the manufacturer has a lot of say in this because the dealer's are relatively small. Consequently, dealer margins are often surprisingly low.

When dealing with wal-mart, all of that is superceded by this:
- Wal-Mart tells you what the price will be for your goods. You either meet that price, or you don't sell to Wal-Mart.

That's it. That's the end of the story. They tell you what they will pay. And - they expect your prices to generally trend DOWNWARD over time. So if you aren't improving your productivity pretty steadily, or if their price doesn't actually include much in the way of profit for your company, that's just too dang bad.

In exchange for this, you get huge volume. If you are making money on the deal, potentially it's huge money. If you are not making money on the deal, you'll lose your backside.

This isn't a bash at Wal-Mart - it's just the way it is. They are extremely aggressive merchants, and they work to improve their productivity consistently. All of this is quite well documented in the business world, and I've even read articles that suggest that at least a portion of the relatively low inflation we've experienced over the last couple of decades has been because of Wal-Mart. (No joke.)

If you are having problems running an efficient business, or Wal-Mart's model for your product just doesn't make sense for your business, then as great of an opportunity as Wal-Mart represents, it can also be an absolute killer for your company. (There are numerous documented cases of this.)

My opinion is that to be really successful with Wal-Mart, you need to run a much tighter ship than Meade has ever been able to run, at least so far. (Not bashing Meade either - being a supplier to Wal-Mart is reputed to be hard.)
 

#48 Lane

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 04:04 PM

[quote name="Paul G"][quote]I suspect the return rate and repair costs (probably cheaper to replace than repair) are quite low compared to their more serious scopes. [/quote]

Not according to the Meade rep I spoke with, way over half of them get returned because of Wally's liberal return policies. He said the Wally relationship was their number one problem.
 

#49 Lane

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 04:09 PM

How did my own response get inside a quote box, that was strange.
 

#50 sang33ta

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 04:16 PM

"Not according to the Meade rep I spoke with, way over half of them get returned because of Wally's liberal return policies."

Yeah, sounds about right, the customer is always right. They will buy these small scopes and after using them for 5mins realise how bad they are (you never get to see the things they advertise on the box) and will return it.

If I was gona make a cheap store scope it would probably have to be a dob to have any chance of keeping the customer happy.
 


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