Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More info on Tern via an interview

This was three months ago. Biologic booth.

Some quotes from Josh Hon, the new head honcho of Tern, from an interview done by 16incheswestofpeoria that will help elucidate more on the Tern of events a few weeks ago.

Who is Dahon?
There are three Dahon entities: Dahon Global, Dahon China, and Dahon North America. These three companies have always worked together on the Dahon brand. Dahon Global has always handled all sales, marketing, product development and a majority of manufacturing. Dahon China has manufactured a majority of Dahon frames and a minority of complete bikes. In the early days—more than five years ago—it did a lot of the engineering for Dahon bikes. Dahon North America handles distribution for the North American market...

My mother and I together own 100 percent of Dahon Global, a Taiwan-based company. So the press release from Dahon China reporting that I have “left” Dahon is not accurate since I continue to work at Dahon Global, and this company will continue to operate. My father manages Dahon China and Dahon North America. For the global market, we’ve always had five factories assembling Dahon bicycles: one in China (Dahon China), one in the Czech Republic, two in Taiwan, and one in Macau. Going forward, all of these factories, with the exception of Dahon China, will build Tern bicycles. None of the assembly factories will continue working with Dahon China next year. In short, our supply chain is set up and already running.

What's has Tern taken from Dahon?
Tern will have rights to use all the intellectual property owned by Dahon Global. And that includes most of the technology coming out of Dahon within the last five years. That includes a lot of stuff that is either patented, trademarked, or copyrighted. Dahon China will not have rights to use this intellectual property. Tern will not use any intellectual property owned by Dahon China. And Tern has some good new technology to show off. We’ve already filed for eight new technology patents this year.

Family politics?
It’s a very unfortunate situation to be sure. But I think that working in different companies will actually allow us to work things out for the better. I received a very good education because my parents both worked and sacrificed a lot. They don’t drive nice cars, have very few nice things, and don’t even go on vacations unless my wife and I invite them. That’s why I left a good job in Silicon Valley 19 years ago to move to Asia and help out my parents when things were tough.

Will Tern differentiate itself?
We did quite a lot of things well at Dahon. But there were also some things that we didn’t do well enough, and in fact, some things that we did poorly. At Tern, we want to improve on the things we did well. But we’re going to really focus hard on the things that we didn’t do well. The single area that needs the most focus is service.

I think many Dahon dealers would tell you that getting parts for service was pretty difficult and/or slow. We agree wholeheartedly. And that’s why we’re setting up service centers in Europe (Germany), Taiwan and the U.S. These service centers will stock all of the key custom components that are found on our bikes. Dealers who need to service a bike should order parts from the local distributor, but if the distributor doesn’t have the part available for whatever reason, we’ll be able to airfreight parts out within two days from any of the service centers. Service will also be a lot easier because of the streamlined product range. We have a lot fewer SKUs and custom parts. If there is a custom part, it’ll be used across the range. So, for instance, we’ve only got two types of frame joints and handleposts across the entire range, so stocking these parts will be much easier.

It’s the In-N-Out Burger analogy: if you only offer hamburgers and cheeseburgers on your menu, it’s much less likely that you are going to run out of ingredients. As for differentiation, we’re not too concerned with that at this point. Anybody who rides one of the new Tern bikes will know how we are differentiated. We are that confident.
Read the whole interview here!

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