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Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:21 pm
by coxsox
Hi

Fairly new to framing and currently use Arcadia for all my picture frame mouldings.

After placing quite a few orders, I've come to realise the process is not as straightforward as anyone with common sense would think.
So the order system states each length is 3 metres for the moulding I use, so you order 1 length based on a requirement of 3 metres. Now what is actually delivered turns out to be a random lottery I discovered and it could be any length, in this case 2.4m. So I call the Arcadia office and speak to one of the girls there and she explains that this is all down to whatever the warehouse chooses. I get the impression I should have known this from her tone, and why would this be a problem for me ? Ah, anyway so now I know I need to order 3 metres, not 1 length.

So I place another order, this time I know what I'm doing, so go ahead and order 3 metres. This time I get 1 length at 2.4m and another at 1.8m, so now I've got 4.6m. Again a call is made to Mrs Helpful at the suppliers office. She goes on to explain that I wanted 3m, but they didn't have (or choose to pick) 3m as that takes some looking about, and I got more than I needed. They say they're being really helpful so i can complete the job, and as a side note, they've charged me for it. I'm informed that if I needed a 3m length, then I should have put that in the notes as part of the order. Of course I knew that ! which is why I didn't put it.....

Onto the next order them, there's no way they are gonna catch me out this time. So I've specified I need 1 length, but this time I'm clever, so I've added a specific note to say this length needs to be 3 metres. There's no way they can get this wrong. The delivery finally arrives, and what have they sent, not 1, but 2 * 3 metre lengths. I can't wait until tomorrow to find out how Miss Einstein is gonna explain this too stupid old me......

Do all suppliers operate in dark ages, or are they any good ones out there ?

thanks, rant over, for 5 mins..... :head:

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:04 pm
by pramsay13
I think you'll find all suppliers are similar and that you're being a bit harsh in terms of the practice.
If you think the customer service follow up hasn't been great that's up to you to decide.
Although lengths are normally 3m there are times when they will be 2.7m or even 2.4m as you've discovered or even a random length.
The first time you asked for a length and you got one.
Second time, you specified you really needed a full 3m length it sounds like it wasn't available so rather than send you a 2.4m length they've sent you 2 smaller lengths.
Not sure why you've been given 2 lengths this time. Some only come in packs of 2, or it might just be a simple mistake.

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:41 pm
by coxsox
I can only really go by my own standards to be honest, where I would expect a reasonable level of customer service and also good communication, however seems like a lot of businesses or people don't seem bothered by that these days, real shame.

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:27 pm
by GeoSpectrum
Try another supplie or use the chop service.

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:41 am
by prospero
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Framing. :D

There are certain 'understandings' when buying 'trade'. You have to adopt a different mindset.

If you order 100ft you might get 106. This is normal practice. Trees don't come in standard sizes.
A trade supplier will generally do their best to give you what you need.

It's the same with flawed/damaged mouldings. A certain amount of 'bad bits' is expected. Only when you get
a lot should you complain and in these cases the supplier will generally replace/credit without a quibble.
Remember you are buying at trade prices. The convention is that the stuff will be sent and any issues sorted later
if necessary. If they had to scrutinise every bit to make sure it was perfect or break packs and cut it so you got
exactly 100ft then they would have to charge a lot more. :wink:

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:15 am
by Steve N
I think you are lucky, when I first started framing, you could only order by the pack, which be anything from 4 lengths up to 8 lenghts
Arqadia never used to supply lengths, only packs, it's only been a recent thing doing lengths,

"So I place another order, this time I know what I'm doing, so go ahead and order 3 metres. This time I get 1 length at 2.4m and another at 1.8m, so now I've got 4.6m."

They sent you more, because they don't know the size of the frame you are making, so the .6m may have been too short

Plus they are not going to keep opening packs of 4 3meter lengths, they open one pack that might be 4x 2.4m so they would have 3 lengths of 2.4m in the bay, that's the lengths they are going to send out next, you're lucky they could have sent you 2 x 2.4m lengths instead

Sometimes it's good to get more than you need, only the other day I cut a frame the wrong size :Slap: :head: but I had enough to sort it out luckily

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:09 am
by fusionframer
It is the same buying any type of timber from trade suppliers. I needed douglas fir for some Windows and asked for 2inch thick by 8 inch wide boards. The only think I did specify with length was the length needed to be divisible by 1.8m or close to avoid wastage. 3m was going to create more wastage, but 4m will only give 40cm (ok). Some of the offcuts will be used, but specifying this is the easiest way I have found.

So I ended up with 9 boards, the longest just under 6m, the shortest 3.8m. Also 7 boards were 2 inches thick, 2 were 3 inches thick and some were 8 inches wide, but the widest was 14 inches. I am sure they could have got closer, but it would have been a hassle.

For this extra timber, I paid an extra £27 to the quote I got. And from it, I made 2 of these.

20170509_150139.jpg
20170509_150139.jpg (3 MiB) Viewed 2943 times


So frame suppliers get a fair bit closer.

It is worth checking and noting which mouldings come in shorter lengths. I find, for example, with wessex, some obeche mouldings tend to generally be 2.4m lengths and some 3m. This means that with 1 I use a lot of, I always assume 2.4 and then order by length over the phone rather than metres.

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:24 am
by prospero
Steve N wrote:I think you are lucky, when I first started framing, you could only order by the pack, which be anything from 4 lengths up to 8 lenghts
Arqadia never used to supply lengths, only packs, it's only been a recent thing doing lengths,



Same with mountboards. When I started it was 10 to a pack. 12 for Arqadia. 5 packs and single sheets are a relatively new thing.

And £100 minimum order. :?

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:54 am
by GeoSpectrum
Rose and Hollis will pick long or short lengths for you if you ask. Plain wood only though.

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:07 pm
by prospero
I've always found Rose&Hollis exceptional when it comes to customer service. They once taxied in some aluminium
moulding that I needed urgently for a customer with a ferry to catch. :clap:

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:32 pm
by JFeig
And then there are "Hard woods" oak, maple, cherry........
These come in variable length depending on what part of the tree(s) they were cut from. When I ordered by the box a single stick might be 5' or 11' in the same box.

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:40 pm
by poliopete
The question asked in the OP has been posed on this FF in the past always by peeps "fairly new to framing". In my view, completely understandably. The first reply from pramsay13 was IMHO an excellent explanation as to why :clap:

If my location was Beds. I too would use Arqadia for moulding (and many other items) :)

A few days ago I found myself up to date with my work and with no appointments and it being a nice day :D I decided to visit Arqadia' s showroom. Theirs is 4th showroom visited lately, Mainline, A&T and Wessex in Dereham being my local branch. I occasionally collect bits an pieces from the Dereham branch and have got to know the manager and his colleagues who deliver/work behind the scenes. They always appear pleased to see me and I am certain it's not because of the bag of doughnuts I take :? (I hope the refer to me as the doughnut man and not the man who is a doughnut) :(

Anyway, back to Arqadia's showroom. It's well worth a visit to see their excellent range for real as it were. At the end of the showroom (by the two arm chairs) there is a selection of mouldings on offer. You may not be aware of these normally. Although, most of my frames are HF I do buy FF mouldings and would certainly be keeping an eye on those. :wink:

I suppose my point is to try and build a good working relationship with your supplier/s if you do then normally less hassle and mistakes that happen are easier to rectify. As my wife says "no one is inflammable" :giggle:

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:37 pm
by Rainbow
I'm still fairly new to framing and it was a bit of a culture shock to discover that you don't always get what you order. I've spent nearly all my working life in business-to-business and dealing with trade supplies, albeit in a different industry, but I'd never encountered the notion that you don't always get what you order until I started framing pictures. One of the distributors I sometimes buy from was particularly bad at sending more than I needed, which can significantly eat into the profit on a small job, but I now put a min/max number of metres on the order, which has mostly overcome the problem. I recommend you do the same if the distributor will agree. Other distributors that I deal with are much more reliable about sending the quantity ordered, so if some can do it, I don't understand why they all can't, but hey ho. I try to deal with the reliable ones as much as possible. I have to say that I've found the staff at all the distributors I deal with pleasant to do business with and very helpful at sorting out problems, and if you start putting a min/max quantity on your orders, hopefully you will have a better relationship with them.

PS. I agree with prospero - a different mindset is needed where mouldings are concerned (but don't get me started on manufacturers' quality control...)

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:34 am
by Jamesnkr
Or... consider joining the dark side. Forget FF mouldings and go HF. You only need stock fifteen mouldings, so they are always in stock, no carriage charges, no waiting. And no more worrying about dings in the moulding. It has actually to be falling to pieces before I :twisted:

Spend the ten minutes you would have spent ordering the moulding on doing the finish. Pocket the postage charges and the difference between the FF and barewood moulding. And you're in profit and the customer has a premium product.

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:34 pm
by Glimpse
What grinds my gears most is when you order 3 metres and they send 2 x 2.9m lengths and charge for all of it! Often wipes the profit out of a job.

I tend to specify "2.8m" or "5m" if I need 6m etc.

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:10 pm
by Not your average framer
You are highlighting some of the reasons why they invented Emafil and Polcore. With a synthetic product you get total conformity, but for those who prefer wood, total conformity becomes a problem. Some mouldings always come in standard lengths, but to get standard lengths it comes down to ways and means, Unfortunately, one of these ways and means quite often turns out to be finger jointed mouldings.

Sorry, but life rarely is that easy.

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:09 pm
by aceframer
I found this when I started to , but soon learnt that most lengths are 2.4m min, so I worked on that as the standard and if something needed 3m I would order 2 lengths just to be safe

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:43 pm
by Not your average framer
Experience has taught me to over order to allow for defects and wastage. I allow for this in my mark up, so it's not really much of a problem. I think that wastage is the lesser of two evils, the other one is have to order another length and wondering why you did not do this to start with.

If you need to order another length after the first length and find that the second length does not match, bceause it's from a different batch it's even worse. Unfortunately, I ended up learning a lot of this the hard way. There's quite a learning curve when you first start framing.

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:56 pm
by GeoSpectrum
I'm surprised that more people don't use chop if worrying about order for a single job.

Re: Supplier practices, do they all do it ?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:32 am
by prospero
You need 7ft you order 1 length and get a 10-footer. OK, you make the frame and end up left with 3ft(ish)
3ft is mostly neither use nor ornament. If you keep it for 10 years and then get another frame to make from the same
moulding. This frame also needs 7ft. But you can get one side out of the bit you already have. But since you have to order
another length you may as well make the entire frame from the new bit. The old bit is unlikely to match the new length.
Now you have 2 short bits which may or may not match, which you can look after for another ten years. :P

Cost a job for what you consume, not what ends up in the frame.

Generally the more you buy of one moulding the less useless bits you are going to get.

*** You will always have more small bits than small jobs. :lol: