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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been thinking recently about the varying qualities of cars out the box and despite disagreeing with Mope about whether cars straight out of the box are suitable for racing I do have a certain sympathy with what I assume to be his view that cars should be closer out of the box. I believe Mope thinks they are already are close out of the box, I don't and wish they were. That doesn't actually affect this train of thought though.

Something we always say when this comes up is that the cars are toys and built to a budget prices of around £28-30 quid which is very little in real terms (for example - a tank of petrol at extortionate "cripple the transport industry and bugger the consequences" UK prices, a not-quite-brand new console game, cheap pair of jeans, an evening out with taxi home etc.). It's therefore asking too much that they should be manufactured to the tolerance of an expensive watch or a CD player.

Now all the manufacturers have QA processes and presumably products are checked to see that they work and scrapped or sent back to the shop floor for rework if they don't meet the required standards.

So what are these standards and what or who decides them. Has there been a meeting in the boardrooms of Hornby, Fly, TechniToys etc. where some big wig has pointed to a graph and said "We can QA to this level of tolerance, any less will damage our reputation in the market, any more and it will cut into the profit margin and prices will have to go up." I wonder if there has been a conscious decision as to where on a graph of cost against benefit the level of QAing has been sited.

(Slighty off topic example that illustrates this - my father was run into in his C-class but Mercedes UK wouldn't approve the release of the repaired car from a local Merc dealership until a roving engineer had visited the car and approved the work. This clearly costs a lot of money to do but I guess they feel the benefits are worthwhile. Compare to a friend whose repaired Clio 16v came back from a Renault dealership with a boot that opened, but then wouldn't shut...)

What I am asking is that if cars cost, for arguments sake, twice as much, would the quality of them and their closeness in performance to each other (for supposedly identical cars) be closer? Could our hypothetical point of 'optimum QA' be shifted further along the graph and we have better, more expensive cars into the bargain?

How much would it cost for a car if they were manufactured to a level where they all behaved well on wood, or without the magnet and the motors were identical and they need no tyre truing at the moment? I do have some cars that do this (a £15 Dallara for example) but we all know that to get a really good car you generally have to buy two or three of them.

I suspect I may be asking something unanswerable but I'd be interested to know if anyone (perhaps someone with a manfacturing background) could provide a quick stab at the figures. I see RC cars in the local model shop that cost from £200 - £400 and I wonder if the, for want of a better word, tolerance is much tighter than on a £30 slotcar.

Coop
 

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Coop, this is an EXCELLENT subject!

QUOTE Now all the manufacturers have QA processes and presumably products are checked to see that they work and scrapped or sent back to the shop floor for rework if they don't meet the required standards. .

That's a really BIG presumption. It just might not be so.

One other small but important clarification -
QC = Quality Control
QA = Quality Assurance

Quality Control generally applies only to the product.
Quality Assurance applies to the entire management system of the whole company and this incorporates Quality Control as a part of the whole system.
 

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Coop, this is indeed an excellent train of thought, and well worth taking further - for instance, at what point of tolerence is a reputation tarnished? And will it make any difference in the great scheme of things? Is is something that is news one day and firelighting paper the next day?

With the size of the major manufacturers today, a bad rep only lasts until their next success, and vice versa. To this end, I wonder what sort of disaster it would take to do serious damage to a major company?

Dandy
 

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Reputations are effected by communication,I believe. I honestly have come across very few QC/QA problems but note the posts of others here. How problems are then dealt with seems to be the next major factor and of course any reputation that takes years to build can be lost in minutes.

This has never changed through history,examples are the French Maison du Roi Household cavalry in the war of the Spanish Succession or Napoleons Old Guard at Waterloo,all of the French Marshals who fought Wellington in the Peninsular and a small amount of rear echelon U.S. `Numpties` in Iraq.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
QUOTE (Tropi @ 11 May 2004, 20:00)One other small but important clarification -
QC = Quality Control
QA = Quality Assurance
Working in the software industry we (at least in our company) refer to the quality testing of what we produce as QA. If our QA boys had to comment on the competence of management and workflow procedures.... well they might be even less popular than they are now.


Are you suggesting that it might be the case that workers work might not be checked? If so what's the cost of property like in Barcelona? I feel like a chance of scenery


Coop
 

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Scott Brownlee
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You make a good point - the cost of a slot car is very small relative to many other things we give no thought to. The build quality, if you will, can also said to be very high. I have limited experience of R/C cars, but even the Tamiyas I have seem no more robust in use than a slot car, less in fact when you consider the need to buy bearings, replace resistor with electronic speed controller, etc)

The problem arises when you make comparison within the slot car world. For example, the cheap IRL cars you mention work very well, so why can't a car twice that price be just as good? It can of course, just see Slot.It.

Consequently, we are forced to conclude the makers just do not care enough. Can round tyres and straight axles really be that hard or costly to make.

Scott
 

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Rereading my post I seem to have leaned on the QA angle more than I intended so this is perhaps an addendum.

With this 'tolerance' idea, here's a point I didn't make well above. You are a major slot-car manufacturer, you buy in thousands of your motors from China or where-ever at tuppence-ha'penny each (1) because you are only paying tuppence-ha-penny you know that the output of them is variable because you get what you pay for (2).

So I guess this is accepted as a consequence of the unit cost.

But I sort of wonder if the mannufacturers have spoken to their motor suppliers and agreed a certain quality or grade of motor to fit the expected RRP. In other words we could have motors that were closer in power because they were better built or tested or what-have-you but we would be paying more for the car.

So I suspect there might be a point where these motors are all equal but the unit cost is such that we would be paying £XX.XX for each rather than a little under 30 quid. Wondering about this is an interesting if perhaps ultimately fruitless exercise but you never know someone might be able to make an educated guess!

Coop

(1) An old English monetary unit!
(2) Something of an over-generalisation but you get the point
 

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Taking Scalex as an example.

Dad goes and buys Little Paul a set for his birthday or christmas. The cars in the set are X and Y both scalextric, having the **ck off magnets Dad thinks, great he wont come off as much with these, I think I will go back and get more scalextric and wont buy other brands until he has feedback on them, like wether they will race on their track etc. So for racing at home they are equal and the tuning side is not thought of.

When you are club racing, you are usually racing for something as opposed to "beating Dad" you want to go as fast as possible so all the stops are pulled and everything has to be perfect to get the most.

So with this, Scalextric are aimed at children and are probably right with their quality.

Ninco are aimed at racers with slot it and produce cars that go better without magnets which is where the top level is recognised at (no mag racing)

Fly aim towards the collector or someone who likes to drive but not race at club level and have recently seen that there is a racing scene where no magnet is de-reguire so they have filled that niche for themselves giving those racers more options whilst doing this they have also been able to maintain the collector market.

To me each manufacturer has their QC/QA in the right place for what I think they intend the car to be. I hope thats understandable

These are MY opinions so if you want to disagree fine, these arent facts. (Just so we get this clear)

Inte
 

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I understand what you are saying and whilst you don`t know that the manufacturers outlined have set those parameters, the main point is that in Quality as an issue it can be based simply on this "Say what you do and do what you say" That is what my Lecturer Les Walklin taught me , QC summed up in a phrase. (He didn`t tell me until I had read all of his book though!)
 

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Not sure if this is relevant, but at GM we have always said that Scalextric and others like them make cars to race that can be collected. Fly make cars to collect that can be raced. (with the exception these days of the Fly racing series)

Aaron
 

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coop.

If your suggested logic was followed by computer manufacturers and screen manufacturers I believe that we would not have LCD screens with todays quality to current price... We would also not have DVD-players available to the current price. Both require high precision on a physical manufacturing scale that was unheard of just a few years ago. These technologies - as opposed to micro-chips - are really good examples of forcing production techniques of physically relatively large scale products to the challenge. And this as something pushed by contractors beyond what producers could cope with in the initiation stages - and at the same time significantly below previous prices...


//peter
 

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"Quality" is a complex subject.

But I can confirm that PRODUCT testing alone is Quality Control (QC) and that
QC is just a single (vitally important) segment of checking the whole business PROCESS,
which is Quality Assurance (QA).
Many people confuse the two and it's hardly surprising, given the complex and highly burocratic requirements of formal Quality Assurance.
A high quality PRODUCT alone, can be (and often is) produced without the added burocracy of Quality Assurance, but a high quality product alone does not qualify its manufacturer as "Quality Assured".

ISO is the International Standards Organization and the world standard for quality is the ISO 9000 series, which is also available in virtually identical form as ENs (European Norms) and BSs (British Standards)

ISO Website

ISO 9000 in Plain English (or so they SAY!)

Any company certificated to ISO 9000 will proudly display the ISO logo on their product. I must confess I have never checked to see if ANY slot car manufacturer is ISO 9000 compliant and I would seriously doubt it, but would welcome correction.
 

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QUOTE an evening out with taxi home

Wow, I want go to the pub where I can spend £30 in a night out...

My main problem is that you can buy a Slot.It car for around £30, maybe a little less. You could also buy a Hornby car for around £27 or there abouts. But the difference in quality is outrageous!

How come Slot.It (a relitivly small company) can produce cars 4 times better than Hornby (huge multinational corporation) ones?

Doesn't seem fair...


Lotus
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
QUOTE (lotus03 @ 12 May 2004, 13:41)QUOTE an evening out with taxi home

Wow, I want go to the pub where I can spend £30 in a night out...

How come Slot.It (a relitivly small company) can produce cars 4 times better than Hornby (huge multinational corporation) ones?

Doesn't seem fair...


Lotus
£30? - easy, you're clearly not as much as a reprobate as me!

As for Hornby quality in my experience these have been consistently the most reliable cars I've bought.

Coop
 

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I think (please correct me if I'm wrong) Lotus statement is from a clubracer point of view (mine is for sure).
When I buy a car from any manufacturer, then I have to spend more for new axels, wheels, gear, bearing, sometimes the motor, too. Regardless quality control.
With a slot.it car you really get a ready to race car for the same price, (sometimes lower).
Maybe I could say the same for Fly Racing cars, but I change everything on Fly racing cars, too
I hate 2.5 mm. axels and bearings used in Fly models...

Ciao
Otello
 

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lol...

Jonny, I'll deal with you later.

Really what I'm saying is that from a modifiers point of view SLot.It cars are idea. You can race them out of the box, or you can simple bolt stuff on, or take it off. Whereas, not only are Hornby cars not so easily cutomisable, they run that rubbish without the magnets in. Wheels out of true, rattley bodies and the like.

You must also admit that Hornby, whilst good at it, are not up to the Slot.It standard of detailing cars. Everything in a Slot.It car just seems so well finished also, from the fact that everything is installed properly to the wires being tucked down at the sides (a nice touch I think).

Tropi: Laptimes are twice as fast, and quality is twice as good. Therefore, Slot.It is 4 times better. Please don't ask me to explain further, you know I can't
.

Lotus

DISCLAIMER: Everything written above in this topic is IMHO. Do not take as fact.
 

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QUOTE Really what I'm saying is that from a modifiers point of view SLot.It cars are idea. You can race them out of the box, or you can simple bolt stuff on, or take it off. Whereas, not only are Hornby cars not so easily cutomisable, they run that rubbish without the magnets in. Wheels out of true, rattley bodies and the like.
Clearly the Slot It cars are easily costumisable. I don't expect anything less since most of my modding is done by adding their parts!
Still the cars are excellent value for money, and prove that great quality cars don't have to cost a fortune.

QUOTE Laptimes are twice as fast
When racing with magnets at our club a stock Scaley Mustang will beat a stock Slot It Porsche hands down...

I don't consider club racing to be all no-mag, and in the magnet classes at the local club the Hornby cars are very competitive.
Also I appreciate that they have 3/32 axles, so I don't need to replace axels, bushings and gears just because I want to fit Slot It wheels. This isn't the case on my Ninco and SCX cars...

For me quality with a slot car is more than just the parts used in it. I also want the car to look good, with a good paintjob and nice decals.
If the appearance is good I might enjoy the car even if it runs poorly.

Just my opinion, feel free to disagree.
 
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