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IMPORTANT INDUSTRY INFORMATION

PARTS DISTRIBUTION – COSTS - AND "POLITICS"

A note to our customers about distribution: This section will explain the industry politics affecting your business and why it’s important to set up your account with us as soon as possible.

 

A BRIEF INDUSTRY HISTORY:

  • Years ago there was only AMF and Brunswick.

  • They ruled the bowling industry and held patents on many machine parts.

  • Machine parts, like everything else made in this country at the time, were built to last and provide many years of reliable service.

  • Good employees – mechanics and other staff were not hard to find. Work ethic was high.

  • Patents ran out and aftermarket companies came into play.  To compete and break into the market, they lowered prices but quality was often sacrificed.

  • Price wars ensued and although proprietors were initially happy, they soon found that they were replacing parts much more frequently.

  • Parts and labor increased as did insurance, utilities, and other fixed overhead.

  • Employees became a business owner’s biggest nightmare. Good mechanics and other staff members became hard to find and even harder to keep.  Everyone wanted a good paycheck for just showing up.

  • Equipment became more expensive to purchase, install, and maintain.

  • Centers began to rely on local distributors for supplies, information, and capital equipment

 

HOW WE ARE CHANGING THINGS

 

CUSTOMER SERVICE (REF. EXAMPLE)

When Lifelong began 10 years ago our company strictly sold directly to centers. Each and every time we sold a Humpback (one example) to a new customer we would make sure the center mechanic or owner knew to let us know when they would be installing the first one so we could walk them through the installation to be sure everything was installed properly and working at 100%.  

The installation of our Humpback Ball Return is simple but there are so many variables in machines from center to center and sometimes even from machine to machine in the same center that there are times when field adjustments are needed for optimum performance. Unlike kickers and PBL’s, our unit is designed to accommodate these variables.

  We did so well and had so many satisfied customers that distributors began calling us wanting to carry our line. We eventually began to sell them our products that started going to centers we weren’t aware of. As a result, the follow-ups we once did came to a stop – we no longer knew who we needed help. Consequently installations, even by good mechanics, were sometimes not to specs because machine variables were not taken into consideration and they were installed in a PBL manner.  Yes, they still picked up balls, but there were long term consequences such as belt damage. When installed correctly the belts will last for many years of trouble free operation – that’s why we can put a ten-year warranty on them unlike other units that are sold with no warranty.

   

WE’VE GONE BACK TO WHAT WORKS BEST

AND IMPROVED UPON IT  

To supply the very best service to our customers we are now selling direct again. Even better, we now have our own Factory Liaisons nationwide. They are mechanics and service reps that work between you and us in ways that we find distributors are unable to.  In addition to being able to provide local tech support on our products, our Liaisons are also able to provide tech assistance on any equipment in your center by drawing on the accumulated knowledge of our extensive Liaison Network. 

As a result we have heard sales reps from former distributors are saying we are closing down in order to retain business. We want to assure you we are NOT closing, in fact, we have expanded  our product line, and have added other high quality replacement products supplied by a variety of top-notch manufacturers. We now have worldwide distribution. Our available services far exceed what you would expect from an ordinary distributor!

We also sell high quality traditional parts at wholesale prices directly to you – these are not the imported parts from China that have been increasingly flooding the market and suppliers inventories – we sell the best for less, so check out the rest of our website and check out our V.I.C. prices and services.

BE AWARE: There are currently and have been for some time, individuals on forums and chat sites that represent themselves as mechanics. Some of these people are really mechanics but are slyly representing other manufactures to run the bus over their competitors. And, there are some mechanics that voice opinions on things that they have never used or tried – as a result, accurate, reliable information is hard to come by, making it more difficult to make informed decisions when making purchases for your center.  When we see this happening to our own line, a call to the center owner usually puts a stop to the “misinformation”.  Sometimes though, manufacturers, (including us), have been forced to turn things over to attorneys to put a stop to the nonsense. 

If you have questions we have answers and can refer you to owners and mechanics who are using the item in question so you can get real and true feedback on all products.  We have often recommended other manufactures products when we get genuine positive feed back. For example, even though our light ball clutch is usually the ultimate answer many of you know first hand that we’ve recommended you use an AMF or Stalls super rudder drive link instead of our light ball clutch depending on the specifics of your machine measurements, conditions and situations.  We could not in good conscience sell an item knowing in advance that it wouldn’t perform to our standards due to conditions at your center.  It wouldn’t be good for you, your customers or us. If it works we let you know – even if someone else makes it and we don’t currently carry it. 

Think about your current main parts supplier could they, or would they, do all this for you?   That’s the beauty of the Liaison Program, they are trained not to sell you items you don’t need.  We carry the items that you will or do need and our goal is to help keep your costs down and your business profitable.  By consistently doing this, we are expanding an even broader and more loyal customer base than what we already have!

   

SUPPLIERS

Some suppliers will try to sell you something simply because their profit margin is greater on it. Many don’t recommend our door weldment rings because they know it’s the last time they will ever sell you a door ring for that machine! They would rather have you purchase an item with a limited lifespan to ensure future replacement sales. Our door rings have a ten-year warranty but are designed to last the lifetime of the machine – a supplier’s nightmare.  We say wake up folks and understand the politics of the industry you are in!  

We are currently setting up our own web forum that all V.I.C. customers can write in to with specific issues, questions, and comments pertaining to any and all bowling related products. Only our Lifelong Certified Professionals, will provide real and viable feedback, will furnish you with answers and/or advice. Before answering, they will most likely ask you more detailed questions to provide the correct answer to your specific issue – again, taking all possible variables into consideration. (We know you’re too busy to weed through a dozen or more nonsense responses, trying to figure out what to really do.)

 

What Amazes Us

What amazes us is that on other forums, people with little or no real experience, are answering questions they know little, or nothing about.   In our opinion, they ought to spend less time on the computer and more time working on the machines.    Questions being asked by “young or new” upcoming mechanics (tomorrow’s stars) often don’t realize the questions they ask have been answered and resolved 30 years ago.  All the years of knowledge has been LOST and the new mechanics are now confronted as if the problem is something new and if answered by some, who don’t know the true, answers themselves will steer the mechanic into a horrible situation.

Our Liaisons were once those young up and coming professionals years ago and can share a lifetime of reliable information with you. Some of our Liaisons are young and up and coming stars that have been taken under the wing of our more seasoned Liaisons. It is not possible for you, me, or any other mechanic to know it all, so our network of professionals is your most convenient way of getting the most reliable and unbiased information.  What many don’t realize is, that due to the variables of the machines within each facility, the best solution to a problem may vary from one center to another. Our professional Liaisons realize this and will share their knowledge with you – personalized feedback is much better than general bull.    The choice is simple, spend your time weeding through the bologna or go to the professionals of the entire industry  - at “LIFELONG”.

 

Another thing to realize about Lifelong is we won’t sell just anything. We have carefully selected the best items on the market – items that will work for you and that come from manufactures that stand behind their products. That’s why we only sell the products that meet our standards so we only deal with the best manufacturers – Their participation tells a lot about them, their service and quality of their items. If a manufacturer won’t deal with us you should question why and what’s the problem. Not all manufacturers stand behind their products as Lifelong and our associates.

 

Check out our V.I.C. section We’re certain that after reviewing the products, services, and pricing, you’ll agree that our approach “direct to you” will save you time, energy, labor, and most importantly, your money. We offer a host of valuable technical services not available anywhere else, even from the original manufacturer of your equipment. Our company was formed by mechanics and professionals who’ve been “in the pits” and truly care about the bowling industry (unlike those business suits you may be dealing with now.)  

Call us toll free at 877-235-8300 to set up your account.

 

It’s simple, quick, and cost effective!