22 April 2019
I have recently been doing some cleaning up — going through piles of old papers and information that have received over the years. I came across a couple of letters from Allen Organs which were a classic reminder about longevity and serviceability in this throwaway society.
Back in 2001, the President of Allen Organ Company wrote about a machine which they had purchased ten years prior — an automatic insertion machine for printed circuit boards costing in excess of $100,000 back then. This machine included electro-mechanical parts and digital control circuitry. Incredibly, after seven years, the manufacturer stopped supplying parts and the machine became unserviceable. Its controller, a computer, was also not serviceable because of a lack of spare parts. The following photograph shows this machine as it was being prepared to be scrapped. This forced Allen Organs to have to prematurely order a replacement piece of equipment.
Unfortunately, the above is not unique. Another example is a 'pick and place' machine used for surface mount circuit board assembly. This machine cost over $150,000 and was purchased four years prior from an American company. The American company originally imported the machine from Japan, and then placed their name on it. They recently notified us that they will no longer represent the product, nor would they be able to supply repair parts in the future. When Allen wrote to an executive of the "new" company in Japan about their concerns for future parts availability, the response was that "maybe parts availability is expected to continue about seven years more". Not a promising or satisfactory response.
There is a disturbing lack of support that many manufacturers offer today, especially since Allen Organ Company have proven that long term product support is possible. We have received reports from customers that they have replaced organs of about ten year's of age because of difficulty in obtaining parts and service. While I will not speak for other companies, the following is Allen's history for product support:
• Allen Organ Company maintains a parts inventory worth millions of dollars for organs in field. This even includes parts for Allen Organs with vacuum tube technology manufactured in the 1940's and 50's.
• Allen Organ Company continues to support digital organs that have now been in service for over thirty years. I do not know of another company in any field that can make this claim.
• There have been times when manufacturers of integrated circuits would no longer supply parts required to service circuit boards for older organs. If these boards could not be repaired, the entire organ in which they reside would become unserviceable, just like the machines listed above. Allen go the extra mile for our customers, even going to the expense of re-engineering new circuit boards with available parts. Oh, that all manufacturers of expensive equipment would use a similar philosophy.
While Allen Organ Company's mission statement is to build the finest sounding organs in the world, we also give our customers a level of product support that is second to none. We view the sale of an organ as just the starting point in our relationship with customers. Allen Organ customers benefit from the unparalleled support generated by this long-term philosophy.