Is Harman Giving People the Shaft?

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Titus
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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 10:41 am

Read this article:

http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/news/local/ ... 40413.html

Wow. Leaves me with many questions:

Overblown media hype or is Harman really in this deep?
And, if anyone knows the outfit, does this mean the coal line is messed up too or are these separate divisions, i.e. pellet side may be worse off?
Can Harman really be the only company that will leave people holding the bag?


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coalmeister
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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 11:07 am

I know where you can supposedly get a Harman VF 3000 boiler for Sept delivery..

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stoker-man
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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 11:13 am

I don't think it's media hype, but to deliver only a fraction of what was promised is certainly a black mark. At efm, we are sold out through November, so a boiler ordered today would not be seen until November. Fortunately, we have the capacity to build units, but not as fast as demand.

Titus
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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 3:32 pm

Stoker-man:

I think everyone understands that manufacturers are getting overwhelmed with orders and that ramping up production isn't easy. (Trained men, materials, and outside parts don't come cheap and getting them takes time.)

I assume, though, that your company has had better communication with your dealers. It is one thing to be told that ordering a stove today will get you one for next season. It is quite another to be told that one you ordered months ago and put a deposit on isn't coming at all.

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stoker-man
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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 4:07 pm

We don't give false hope where there is none. It's not the way we operate. Rumor Mill says Harman has limited 30 stoves to each dealer.

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Freddy
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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 4:12 pm

Stoker man.... You don't need experienced help to ramp up production. Hire some just out of high school kids. Use 2 by 4's and duct tape to connect their arms and legs to the experienced people so that when the knowledgeable person moves, the high schooler is moved the same way. Put a welder in his hand, and voila! Two stoves each time the old-timer makes one. Sheesh! The simple ideas are so often missed. ;)

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stoker-man
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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 4:37 pm

That's the way it used to be done. Back in the 40s, Mr. Kalambach, efm's owner, used to ask during the interview if a man could use a hammer. If "Yes", he was hired.

Nowadays, we don't use wooden 2x4s. A tree is hurt when it's cut down and it affects global warming. Tape could cause stress injuries and comp cases, unless the tape is used to hold up the pants. Use of a welder can lead to burns and shocks. I guess the old timers win out on this one :)

Titus
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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 4:37 pm

Freddy's new crew reporting for duty.

Image


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coaledsweat
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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 4:38 pm

Does this sound familiar?

"A phone message left for a spokesman at Harman's parent company, Hearth & Home Technologies, was not returned."

dandy
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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 6:02 pm

As a new member of this forum , looking to go to coal heat and interested in the Harman vf3000 boiler or the keystoker ka-6 for heating and hot water. this article in the paper makes Harman look like they do not care about their dealers or customers who have bought the product in good faith. I have talked to my local dealer and he is disenhearted about this too. went to my keystoker dealer and said a ka-6 would probably be available in march or april 2009, so no matter what it looks like most boiler makers are overwhelmed with orders.

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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 6:21 pm

I can't really say they don't care about their dealers. They just can't meet demand with the existing supply chain of parts or labor.

35 years ago, efm scrapped all their coal foundry molds. Why keep them when oil was king and coal was finished? Coal would never come back. Well, in the late '70s the US had its second oil "crisis" and coal started coming back. Imagine having all new molds made and the cost and the gearing up to make stokers again. We have a similar situation now with the sudden rise in oil prices. In effect, the coal industry has to make all new "molds" again.

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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 7:04 pm

And the danger for manufacturers is, they spend a lot of money to gear up for higher production, then the formal and informal oil cartels cut the price in half and bankrupt the manufacturers. They only have to cut the price for a year or two, to wreak havoc with manufacturers, alternate-energy developers, oil-shale developers, efficient car developers, and so on; then the price goes back up. I am not one for elaborate conspiracy theories, but the really-big players in oil are few enough and powerful enough that I fear only international cooperation at the United Nations level can combat them. And how likely is that?

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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 8:53 pm

Harmon was in bankruptcy not too long ago. I guess they will be going back. It is unfortunate for the people who were banking on a lower cost of heating. The upside is that there is still time to come up with a plan "B".

Mike

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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 9:09 pm

This whole story doesn't sound good for Harman. Too bad Dane isn't as good of a businessman as he is a stove designer. With the new plant one would think they could meet the demand or at least provide more product then the article indicates.

It's not just the fact that they are not providing stoves to a lot of people that want to buy their products--they are losing a lot of money. Their potential customers are looking elsewhere, spending their money elsewhere.
Last edited by CoalHeat on Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Freddy
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Post Thu. Jul. 17, 2008 9:09 pm

I wouldn't say Harman doesn't care. I'd sooner think they are simply over whelmed. What do you do for a living? What would you do if suddenly you had 20 times the work to do, but the sameamount of space & same number of tools? Any company that supplies any product, what do they do when in a nine month period the orders increase by a few thousand percent? Paddle like heck and try to keep up, it's all you can do. If I owned a boiler manufacturing company I'd have a hard time justifying the expence to tool up to meet the demand until I knew that demand would last....and in this industry, well, it's quirky. You aren't building coffee makers that will die in a few years. These boilers last a long, long time. So, it would be very easy to tool up, sell like heck for 1 1/2 to 2 yrs, then, the market is saturated and what? Back to normal? What about all the tooling, the larger building I just bought? The workers that took a year to train? Nope... Let the late comers wait a few months for the product, stay calm, & you'll still have a business in 5 yrs instead of debt up to your ears and a saturated market.


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