MSM Visit To Garmin Taiwan Report

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adilothman
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MSM Visit To Garmin Taiwan Report

#1 Post by adilothman » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:32 am

This was MSM's first visit to Taiwan to what is affectionately known at "Factory 1". Factory 1 houses the corporate office of Garmin as well as the manufacturing plant for some of the handhelds like Oregon, Etrex and the marine units.

We spent 2 whole days meeting all the heads of divisions as well as department heads as we ploughed through a number of agenda items. We started on Thursday morning and ended on Friday evening. We covered plenty of items and I do not know where to start!

The meetings can be broken-up into a few broad areas :

Firstly, since Garmin's alliance with MSM since 2009, the sales of their units have increased tremendously for MY and SG (vs 2008). Apart from their sales and models strategy, they acknowledged that MSM played a key role in their strategy for 2009. So Garmin decided to host us in the first week of March 2010 to discuss, amongst other things, to strengthen their relationship with MSM going forward into the future as they want to plough more resources to support MSM and the community.

Secondly, was the feedback session. All that was collated and learnt from the first year of collaboration was shared in great detail. We went into the partnership in 2009 knowing fully well that 2009 was going to be a learning year and it pretty much played out that way. One of the side questions the engineers asked was how was it that we can compile twice daily! To them it was mind boggling. We presented what we had on our side and really .. 2010 looks set to be a year where we can grow after the initial tuition lessons of 2009. A new contract will be sealed that will facilitate more sharing of know-how.

We also shared common grouses by users : why routing is different between units (I will share this answer separately on another day!), why there is diffrenet poi icons display behaviour (A: filter issue. We will test a new setting for 2010.20), why DC cable is plugged to the unit and not the cradle (A: cost issue), why is the voice prompt wrong sometimes (will share detailed answers with the mappers), issues regarding u-turns, buggy community unlock code page, sorting Favourites by alphabetical order (A: noted and will be in next change firmware - maybe! Garmin engineers will do some testing on this), thin polylines, small arrows (basically all display related issues), request for Mapsource support (A: you guys will laugh when u find out the REAL reason why there is NO MS support ..tee hee )

Then there was the technical discussions. This was to cover new features that are coming in the near future. They shared the know-how on how X, Y and Z features should be coded. They also advised on how to improve our existing data structure and codes. Between now and 2010.20, we will be working on these new features. Essentially, the local MYSG SKU's will be more and more feature rich as time goes by. No you do not need to buy the latest MYSG units to take advantage of these features (@ least not for the feature that we will be doing for 2010.20!).

Then there are the tangible benefits to be given to the community. One of which is a huge new feature which will be announced in April 2010 . Right now it is under wraps as they are doing the testing with our assistance. Personally, me and Wsian are very very excited with this "new baby" and it will give the MSM community a new dimension in 2010. "Excited" maybe is not the word. "Cannot wait" is more like! :thumbsup:

For every quarter that Garmin releases a new unit, members will have a chance to grab the latest and greatest units FREE! Also, they will start sending us engineering units (prototypes of new models) for testing before it is released into the market. Moderators or valued members who think they have a flair for writing concise and informative reviews can apply to review these units. And they get to keep it after that! :wink:

We talked abt the new 1250 which is being sold at such an attractive price and comes complete with JCV. We made a special request for at least this unit to have a special MYSG only feature. MYSG users will love this feature. So far the Garmin directors seem acceptable to the idea and the technical side is looking into it. We really hope it happens - but until it does, we are keeping our lips sealed. If tak jadi kene cannon buta-buta!

One interesting point was : why are GPS units cheaper on ebay / internet? The answer was simple : mostly are being sold at a loss. One reason was to attract web-traffic and the other is for loss-leader purposes. Mr Min of Garmin US knows of this problem and there is no way Garmin can resolve this problem. There is no way they can enforce minimum pricing mechanism here or anywhere else in the world. So the net is a source for cheaper than market price GPS units. That is why u will see rock bottom gps prices which are grabbed by buyers who then resell on ebay. So it is not 100% true that gps are cheaper overseas by design - it us up to the stores on how they sell the units as part of their marketing campaign.

We also go to listen how Garmin has equalised the pricing structure between MY and SG where they are now almost identical (if not cheaper in MY). Where there mas a big price gap in the past - there is none now.

And then there was the factory visit. Unfortunately no cameras are allowed. We saw the construction and assembly of the Etrex, marine units etc from the initial circuit board to all the way to full assembly : with all the high tech wave soldering machines and cold & hot testing, QA QC processes .. pretty amazing stuffs.

We also got to see the protoype Nuvi in action whilst we were shuttling between locations - coming soon to a shop near you. No this is not the Nuvi with DVB-T but with another feature - which again - we are asked at gunpoint to not say what it does! Damn! But certainly, Garmin is keeping to their word by coming up with more and more novel and rich features for new models and we at MY and SG are poised to enjoy.

I will share more later. But suffice to say, MSM is in it for the long haul and we are very excited! Of course we'd like to say thanks to members and users who helped make this all happen in one way or the other. There is always room for others to be actively involved on some aspects of MSM. So don't be shy and come forward!

And also a big thanks to Garmin Taiwan for hosting MSM! We look forward to the increased support, increased collaboration and a brand new revised contract!
Malsingmaps is now an official partner of Garmin to produce maps for MY, SG & Brunei.

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Re: MSM Visit To Garmin Taiwan Report

#2 Post by adilothman » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:42 am

Some pics!
Attachments
086.jpg
Welcome lobby
077.jpg
Garmin Tech Centre
080.jpg
Visitor pass
136.jpg
One of the technical sessions on new features
146.jpg
Saying our goodbyes
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adilothman
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Re: MSM Visit To Garmin Taiwan Report

#3 Post by adilothman » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:48 am

More
Attachments
079.jpg
082.jpg
Factory 1 in Shinjr (Sihsih)
154.jpg
I want that carbon fibre bike!
155.jpg
Service centre
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Re: MSM Visit To Garmin Taiwan Report

#4 Post by bartmp8 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:56 am

:thumbsup: (I'm so used to FB, I was actually looking for the "like" button :oops: )

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Zeus73
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Re: MSM Visit To Garmin Taiwan Report

#5 Post by Zeus73 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:59 pm

adilothman wrote:There is always room for others to be actively involved on some aspects of MSM. So don't be shy and come forward!
I'm here... :mrgreen:

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Re: MSM Visit To Garmin Taiwan Report

#6 Post by tlchuan » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:52 pm

Ah yah forget to ask Adil to ask garmin why they did't have service center in My OR Sg...... :-k
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Re: MSM Visit To Garmin Taiwan Report

#7 Post by Noah » Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:15 pm

For aspiring prototype reviewers, may I suggest you review a couple of ready available units so we can gauge your writing prowess?

Adil, I would like to propose a group review if Garmin can send more than one prototype for review. That should normalize the article.
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Re: MSM Visit To Garmin Taiwan Report

#8 Post by moeyHC » Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:34 pm

I don't know if it is good idea to allow reviewers to keep the unit they review.... MACC or Garmin's competitors may be watching for unfair practice.... :-#

Interesting to note the reason behind the low Internet price for Garmin's GPS... what a way to do business... I'm amazed!... :o
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adilothman
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Re: MSM Visit To Garmin Taiwan Report

#9 Post by adilothman » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:18 pm

moeyHC wrote:
Interesting to note the reason behind the low Internet price for Garmin's GPS... what a way to do business... I'm amazed!... :o
What was more revealing was that the loss they make on these sales are actually their budgeted "promotion costs". Just that they don't spend on traditional advertising. Talk about a novel way of thinking out of the box when doing website and shop promotion.
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Re: MSM Visit To Garmin Taiwan Report

#10 Post by bab1e » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:34 pm

adilothman wrote:What was more revealing was that the loss they make on these sales are actually their budgeted "promotion costs". Just that they don't spend on traditional advertising. Talk about a novel way of thinking out of the box when doing website and shop promotion.
what a lame clarification. they got to do better than that.
open source rocks!!!

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