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Cerberus Capital Management buys companies it feels are undervalued and tries to turn them around. It is their goal to increase the value of their investment. Cerberus is not the least bit happy that the value of their investment is being lowered by these on-going quality issues.

Initially, I wrote letters to Marlin and the Freedom Group which included all the details of what was wrong with my 1895. I included pictures, serial number, model number, and all my contact information. I didn’t get so much as an email form letter in response.

I called Marlin Customer Service. One rep told me it took 4 days to log the guns into the system after they arrived. A second rep told me it took 4-7 days. They both agreed it took an average of 2.5 weeks to repair and ship the guns back out once they were logged into the tracking system.

When I wrote to the CEO of Cerberus, I could not believe the response I got! My letter was respectful and listed all the defects. I included links to MO to illustrate my quality issues were not unique in the least and the problems had been going on for two years. Within a few days of mailing my letter, I got a call from Remington's Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Hill. My gun was turned around in 5 days from its arrival and it was Fedex'd overnight to my dealer. I also got follow up calls from Marlin making sure the gun was working and I was satisfied.

I also got a call from the General Council of the Freedom Group. We had a nice chat and he did not sound the least bit happy about what he discovered. Sounded to me like someone was going to get a talking to…
Frankly, if the big kahuna’s don’t know what is going on, they really cannot fix it. I humbly suggest you write Mr. Feinberg. If they get enough evidence that this is a big problem, maybe some heads will roll.

Mr. Stephen Feinberg, CEO
Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.
299 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10171

I put a copy of this in the rant forum, but I thought this would really help some folks here.
 

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Frankly, if the big kahuna’s don’t know what is going on, they really cannot fix it.
That's true of course but I have a very hard time believing they "didn't know" about the problems. These people are not totally stupid. They didn't work their way up to CEO by being naive either. I've worked in manufacturing for quite a few years now and everywhere I've been, the big dogs are very alert to public opinion of their products. They might not know about what the lowly workers think but they darned sure know what the customers think.

Hopefully I've got it all wrong and they will try sincerely to turn things around. I can't help thinking this is simply "damage control". You know, get a couple good stories out there with great service to hopefully overshadow the hundreds of instances of poor quality and customer service. Frankly, even if it IS damage control I don't care. If they really mean it and keep it up long enough, it will become "policy" and then we can all get back on the happy camper wagon with confidence.
 

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kneezer5555, thank you for taking the time to addressing the QC issues all the way to the top. They are now without excuse for turning Marlin around.
 

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Dave, you evidently don't know how big business works. The folks at the top are kept pretty insulated from the day to day happenings, some of this is kept from them on purpose. But if you want to get their attention, start sending customer complaints their way. Most of these folks realize that good quality and good customer service are paramount in keeping them in yachts and luxury automobiles. It may seem trite, but these guys want things running well because that's what gives them their golden parachutes.

So yes, I firmly believe they did not know this, it's the out of sight, out of mind syndrome. But once they find out, they are going to make it right, otherwise they may have to trade in their 225' yacht for a 150' one. Heaven forbid! ;D
 

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Halwg said:
Dave, you evidently don't know how big business works. The folks at the top are kept pretty insulated from the day to day happenings, some of this is kept from them on purpose. But if you want to get their attention, start sending customer complaints their way. Most of these folks realize that good quality and good customer service are paramount in keeping them in yachts and luxury automobiles. It may seem trite, but these guys want things running well because that's what gives them their golden parachutes.

So yes, I firmly believe they did not know this, it's the out of sight, out of mind syndrome. But once they find out, they are going to make it right, otherwise they may have to trade in their 225' yacht for a 150' one. Heaven forbid! ;D
Amen brother +1.
 

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Glad to hear that you got any response at all. Hopefully that will get things on track to quality.
 

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Halwg said:
Dave, you evidently don't know how big business works. The folks at the top are kept pretty insulated from the day to day happenings, some of this is kept from them on purpose. But if you want to get their attention, start sending customer complaints their way. Most of these folks realize that good quality and good customer service are paramount in keeping them in yachts and luxury automobiles. It may seem trite, but these guys want things running well because that's what gives them their golden parachutes.

So yes, I firmly believe they did not know this, it's the out of sight, out of mind syndrome. But once they find out, they are going to make it right, otherwise they may have to trade in their 225' yacht for a 150' one. Heaven forbid! ;D
I believe you are correct. The people at the top probably had no idea it had gotten this bad and I bet when they find out what kind of crap has been coming out there will be some heads to roll.
 

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kneezer5555 said:
maybe some heads will roll.
Unfortunately far too many heads have already rolled, the wrong ones, the ones that had a clue from CT...
I hope your letter does some good. I think what they need to do immediately is freeze production until they can sort out their problems and can reliably send out good guns. Every piece of junk they send out now is another reminder to the gun buying public that people should steer clear of new Marlins. Freezing production would be the serious damage control that they need right now..
 

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Hopefully , Marlin will get their collective act together and we the buyers can change our expectation of what constitutes Marlin quality . Many years ago when I wrote a letter explaining the problems I had with a new rifle they made , their response was basically suck an egg , we ain't fixin' it . That attitude they expressed has governed any idea I've had in buying Marlin products for the last twenty years or so . I do hope that it doesn't take that long to regain confidence in them .

Jack
 

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eaglesnest said:
Unfortunately far too many heads have already rolled, the wrong ones, the ones that had a clue from CT...
I hope your letter does some good. I think what they need to do immediately is freeze production until they can sort out their problems and can reliably send out good guns. Every piece of junk they send out now is another reminder to the gun buying public that people should steer clear of new Marlins. Freezing production would be the serious damage control that they need right now..
Eaglesnest, I see you also have a yacht! ;D
 

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Hey! Great job.
My wife's plan for service problems - If you are not happy keep going up the ladder till you get answer/ satisfaction thats acceptable .
I have seen her stay on the phone 3 hours . But she got results. LOL
 

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Yes, great job Kneezer.

Finnfur, you're exactly correct, keep working your way up the ladder until someone addresses the problem. I bought a new pickup truck a few years ago. It had excessive rust on the frame which I did not think was appropriate for a new truck so I brought it to the dealer's attention. The dealer downplayed the issue and wouldn't do anything. While thinking about how I was going to complete the customer satisfaction survey I found the manufacturer's telephone number in case you weren't completely satisfied. I called the manufacturer. In short order the dealership called asking how they could make it right. The squeeky wheel gets the grease.

As marlin owner's we don't agree with what Cerberus has done to our beloved Marlin. However, Cerberus doesn't want to see the company they purchased decrease in value. Consequently, they are interested in the public's perception of Marlin. We just have to let 'em know when their products aren't up to snuff.
 

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Halwg said:
Eaglesnest, I see you also have a yacht! ;D
Ha! My boat wouldn't even make a decent sized hot tub on one of them Cerberus exec's yachts! ::)
 

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The CEO's always want top performance. They may treat employees like slaves, ruin morale, cut wages and jobs but they don't get their perks with lowered sales and profits.

Nice job exposing the issues.
 

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Dave, you evidently don't know how big business works. The folks at the top are kept pretty insulated from the day to day happenings, some of this is kept from them on purpose. But if you want to get their attention, start sending customer complaints their way. Most of these folks realize that good quality and good customer service are paramount in keeping them in yachts and luxury automobiles. It may seem trite, but these guys want things running well because that's what gives them their golden parachutes.
Well, I stand by my opinion.

Like I said, the CEO's JOB is to know what is going on at the corporate level. Sure, he doesn't have to know if Sally Jones on assembly line 3 called in sick four times last month, or Tom Johnson from Dothan, Alabama sent his rifle back to have the barrel replaced but I guarantee you at each tier of management there are daily and weekly meetings talking about productivity levels, production goals, amount of scrap produced, complaint numbers from customers, items returned for service etc etc. These things are recorded, documented and put into power point displays or pamphlets, memos, news letters and all manner of formats designed to work up the chain as needed. Customer surveys are recorded, independent and in house testers are used to evaluate product lines. Just like finnfur's wife working up the line to get satisfaction, in production any issues on the floor or in customer service and repair centers work their way up the chain until they are solved to the satisfaction of some bean counter. They certainly don't all end up on the CEO's desk but the quarterly reports will reflect ongoing issues and anything that hurts the bottom line will have somebody doing their best to correct the issue and improve profitability even if for no other reason than personal promotion. From what I've seen in my personal jobs, most executives put in huge hours each week. If they own a boat or yacht, they probably don't get to use it but a couple times a year. Maybe at monster size global corporations more work gets delegated to lower management but I still say the big dogs keep close tabs on the numbers.

I've only been coming to this site for about a half a year but from the very beginning I've seen post after post of PO'd people talking about calling Marlin and griping about poor quality or service. Nearly every single one mentioned telling someone at Marlington about this site, their thread about their problems with service in hopes that it would put the "fear of bad PR" into them and they would expedite fixing the problem. They darned sure knew about the quality issues for a while now. The real problem arises when a huge company like Cerberus with vast capital wants to get their cut and is willing to drop quality in exchange for profit. Maybe their profits have slipped and this is their idea of a fix. Might be too little to late but I hope they mean it and stick to the plan to provide a good product at a fair price and good service after the sale. If they do that, all should be well with both the customers and the stockholders. I'll keep my fingers crossed...
 

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Dave,

IMHO you and Halwg are both correct.

Be advised that it was edicted not so long ago that at least 3 Remington/Marlin employees were to register and join Marlin Owners. They have done exactly that! You will not know who they are unless they decide to tell you but I doubt that will happen and for obvious reasons. Now, don't expect them to do more than read and compile what they read and push the information up the chain. Another thing for folks to remember is this. You can rest assured that there is a group of employees in management who are avid hunters, shooters, and outdoorsman that truly care about the brands, their history, and what they mean to shooters.

In the mean time we all know the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Honest complaints will be valued I am sure and bitter rants will just be dismissed for what they are.

My hope is that the management folks I referred to above will realize just how easy it could be to begin to repair the Marlin brand name. They might be committed and think they are attempting to push a string uphill. But after all there are some 20,000 members here who could be the impetus for a turn-a-round, but the 20,000 must be considered to have value.

I won't weigh in on these threads often but when I do ya'll need to really read what I am saying.

I am done so carry on,

Dave 8)
 

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Dave Bulla said:
Well, I stand by my opinion.

Like I said, the CEO's JOB is to know what is going on at the corporate level. Sure, he doesn't have to know if Sally Jones on assembly line 3 called in sick four times last month, or Tom Johnson from Dothan, Alabama sent his rifle back to have the barrel replaced but I guarantee you at each tier of management there are daily and weekly meetings talking about productivity levels, production goals, amount of scrap produced, complaint numbers from customers, items returned for service etc etc. These things are recorded, documented and put into power point displays or pamphlets, memos, news letters and all manner of formats designed to work up the chain as needed. Customer surveys are recorded, independent and in house testers are used to evaluate product lines. Just like finnfur's wife working up the line to get satisfaction, in production any issues on the floor or in customer service and repair centers work their way up the chain until they are solved to the satisfaction of some bean counter. They certainly don't all end up on the CEO's desk but the quarterly reports will reflect ongoing issues and anything that hurts the bottom line will have somebody doing their best to correct the issue and improve profitability even if for no other reason than personal promotion. From what I've seen in my personal jobs, most executives put in huge hours each week. If they own a boat or yacht, they probably don't get to use it but a couple times a year. Maybe at monster size global corporations more work gets delegated to lower management but I still say the big dogs keep close tabs on the numbers.

I've only been coming to this site for about a half a year but from the very beginning I've seen post after post of PO'd people talking about calling Marlin and griping about poor quality or service. Nearly every single one mentioned telling someone at Marlington about this site, their thread about their problems with service in hopes that it would put the "fear of bad PR" into them and they would expedite fixing the problem. They darned sure knew about the quality issues for a while now. The real problem arises when a huge company like Cerberus with vast capital wants to get their cut and is willing to drop quality in exchange for profit. Maybe their profits have slipped and this is their idea of a fix. Might be too little to late but I hope they mean it and stick to the plan to provide a good product at a fair price and good service after the sale. If they do that, all should be well with both the customers and the stockholders. I'll keep my fingers crossed...
Well said and I agree.

I work for a major corporation and I guarantee you our CEO is well aware of the bottom lines and predominant issues of each and every one of our business segments. They don't get to hang around long making a several mil a year if they are not involved.

I also guarantee you that the CEO directs the overall policies and sets the goals for each and everyone of their business units and Cerberus would be no different. I'm quite certain Mr. Feinberg is pushing Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, faster turnaround times, increased per unit margins, etc.

You cannot dramatically decrease unit production times when you don't even really understand the unit to begin with. Well, you can, but something will have to suffer, and in this case that something is quality. Even if (and hopefully) they get the big issues sorted out, so long as Marlin remains tucked up under the FGI/Cerberus umbrella they will never again exhibit the same level of detail quality they did before. You just can't achieve that and maintain a high volume, low time, mass produced product with decent profit margins.

Be it guns, boats, cars, or hell Special Operations Forces, quality takes time and commitment and there will be rejects along the way. What made Marlin so popular and profitable was the fact that they could consistently deliver a quality product at a working man's price. Of course they were concerned with profits, but they also understood the path to those profits were in that philosophy and I also suspect they were content with certain levels of profits. Cerberus themselves states their mission is to buy "under valued" companies. Don't mistake "under valued" for non-profitable. It simply means companies they believe they can get increased profits from. I believe Marlin fits nicely into that philosophy. They saw a solid company with steady sales and a more or less low-end commodity that on the surface appeared to dovetail wonderfully into the streamlined, shared parts, Lean manufacturing concept. They likely also saw a company that was satisfied to stay in the black without pushing too hard to pad the bank accounts. In short, they saw opportunity.

Cerberus is an investment corporation, they are concerned with ever increasing profits, not stagnant ones. More than likely they subscribe to the Jack Welsh idea of wringing out every penny possible from a variety of companies and every year dropping the bottom 20% of them, profitable or not.

Quality issues are only a problem when they impact the bottom line. And if you're cranking mass quantities of rifles and your sales volume far exceeds your return volume, then it takes a long time before QC starts to have any significant affect on profits. In this case though, the QC issues may be severe enough and sufficiently wide-spread to have that very affect. We shall see.

I think going to the top is great, and if those on-high start seeing enough complaints surely they will start raising an eyebrow, but you can bet their other eye will be on that power point slide that shows the profits. So long as that line isn't going southward, I doubt you'll see any head's roll. But Cerberus isn't going to spend a lot of time, effort, and certainly not money trying to get Remington sorted out. If they don't get their act together and profits decline, they will have only so much time before Cerberus will cut them loose. There are problems across FGI's product lines, this is not unique to Marlin. We are in a "dangerous" time I'm afraid. It is quite possible that Cerberus could sell off Remington at some point and that may well mean foreign investors. And it's possible that Remington could eventually stumble and fall completely. It can and may happen. I for one, surely hope neither of those come to fruition and genuinely hope they right the ship.

It's the way of the world these days boys. You just aren't going to get the same level of quality for $350 that you used to, especially once investment companies get involved and surely not if you want it made in America.
 

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I'm quite certain Mr. Feinberg is pushing Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, faster turnaround times, increased per unit margins, etc.
I HATE the Lean Manufacturing program....

I've worked at two different places that implemented it in years past and it seemed that the goal was to push the employees to the point that they "pushed back". Then the company would let up just a tad until everyone got comfortable, wait a while then push again even farther. Over and over. Sort of like oil companies raising prices eh? I overheard one supervisor telling another about the European theory that "an agitated employee is a productive employee." I couldn't believe it. In another instance, the company went to an outside "streamlining firm" to sign up for their program to help cut the fat and improve efficiency. After the outside 'review' was done our company was told that X number of millions could be saved. Quite a lot really. The company asked how long it would take to implement this wonderful plan and how it would be done. The first answer was that the best way to do it was to fire everyone, close the doors for 6 months and start over. No foolin. When told that was not an option, the alternative answer was that it would take about 15 years. I've heard of similar instances from people at other companies. Getting rid of all the Marlin people starts to make sense when you understand that there is a proven tactic involved. A hard, cruel tactic, but proven none the less.

Anyway, this whole subject is depressing. All I can say is used Marlins look a lot more attractive to me than new ones....
 
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You have to realize that producing a great rifle is not important to an investment company like Cerberus except to the point of how much profits can be realized. There is a point to them that a little cut in quality can equal a little more profit and that is what they shoot for for as long as they can get it and when it becomes no longer profitable to them, they will either sell the company, break it up, or just simply shut it down with thought of or regard of the tradition of a great hunting gun. When Marlin started, of course they wanted to make money but, they wanted to produce a great gun that the average man could afford and be proud to own. These are not things that are important to an investment company. As long as they can turn maximum profits, they don't care if they are making fine guns or candy bars. Their pride lies in the money they can make and not in maintaining a great tradition of producing a fine piece of equipment. This is just the way it is now. There are still some very fine small operations out there who are producing fine quality firearms but none of them are producing the lever guns. They have gone the way of the ARs and right now that is the hot item in the shooting world. If you really love lever guns then you probably need to start buying good used ones when you find them and forget about any great product that we grew accustomed to ever coming from an investment company.
 

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That was well written and thought out Erik.. I suspect there is a lot of truth to what you said

In this new 21 century business climate a typical business might be going for a few years before being either merged, bought and sold a few times, taken offshore, or go out of business all together. Gun businesses such as Marlin that have been in business for more than a century simply don't fit well to this new business model. I don't think the investors at Cerberus really get it that it takes decades of consistently making quality guns to build the brand loyalty that Marlin had. There is no quick profits to be had without running the company into the ground! All it takes is a few years of them trying to squeeze maximum profit, squeezing quality, employees, loyal customers, until they get a reputation for being not what they used to be. Once that happens, and profits plummet, they will unload the company name, maybe to be picked up by foreigners, or simply go out of business all together.
 
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