........In the quest for greater profitability, many companies are dropping
customers, as the cost of paperwork, stocking and customer service cost
greater than the money they make from the smaller customer. Many companies
either charge additional fees or charge extremely high rates for small
quantities....Often the only alternative is to find other suppliers or go
out of business....this is true of ham-related equipment, or industrial
........ they were forced to drop the antenna line as their suppliers
had been purchased by larger companies that refused to do business with
companies that buy only small quantities.
LB is gone, and Cubex, another "American" quad manufacturer, is up for sale
right now. Owner just doesn't want to keep it going.
I have been following the thread regarding Lightning Bolt, Cubex, Quads and
the antenna business with some interest. I have copied a few excerpts from
those emails above and thought I might give my view looking from the "inside".
Small businesses and suppliers -
I am sure there may be acceptions, but my experience is that there is no
shortage of businesses that are very willing to work with you and deliver
components at reasonable prices. Some components are "imports", but many are
delivered by LOCAL "small" businesses. As I gained experience in operating
Cubex I found that I could get better prices, faster delivery, and because they
were often literally in the neigborhood, I did not even have to stock some
parts, but could do JIT (just in time)material management.
There are many processes in the manufacture of antennas that it would be nice
to do using the latest machine technology, CNC, robotics, etc. But these are
expensive tools, and it takes a lot of capital that cannot be justified
giving the size of the business. But there are many simple tools and fixtures
can be fabricated to improve repeatability and quality that are efficient and
cost effective. They are part of the job when running a small business.
Interfacing with customers was probably to most rewarding experience in
operating Cubex, but a close second was enjoying the relationships cultivated
our suppliers. They are American entrepreneurs, working hard to deliver
quality goods at fair prices and a pleasure to deal with. I must also say as
Engineer, designing new products, processes and solving problems was also a
great part of the enjoyment.
The antenna business is challenging, and it is necessary to bring new and
innovative products at the right price in order to just stand still in some
cases. The market problems as we saw them were fewer and fewer new entries
the hobby. An aging active user group, often "downsizing" and moving into
accommodations that did not allow antennas. In general restrictive covenants
regarding antennas seem to be one of the more difficult obstacles to overcome.
Invisible paint would have been a great product innovation.
It is true that Cubex is for sale, and if successful in finding a new owner I
think that Cubex Quads will continue to deliver high quality and superb
performing antennas. I acquired Cubex in 1997 after finding that retirement
large Corporation in 1996 wasn't much fun. I have had an enjoyable eight
plus years operating Cubex, but now it is again time for me to retire and
some more personal and family oriented activities. I take issue with the
statement "Owner just doesn't want to keep it going".
On the contrary I am very dedicated to try and find someone to keep it going.
Cubex is been serving the amateur market going on 49 years. We are the only
North American quad company still operating, it is a great company, with
outstanding products and I would like to see it celebrate it's Golden
President Cubex Co., Inc.
"The Power of a Cubex Quad"
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