WE DON’T COMPROMISE! Well actually, you do

There’s a truck advertisement out there with the tag line of “WE DON’T COMPROMISE!” That sounds good, but actually they do. Are there other vehicles that have a better ride or a lower cost or better fuel economy or the option of putting the top down? Of course there are; they’re generally called cars. That truck manufacturer has compromised those other benefits for the major benefit of hauling stuff.

All products are compromises, and with any product, the trick is finding the perfect balance between matching the need with everything else, including the ability to actually manufacture the product at a competitive cost.

Which brings us to a commonly asked question about Franklin Electric’s variable-speed, constant pressure SubDrive product, “Can I repair the components inside?”

The answer is “no” and the reason has everything to do with balancing size, manufacturability, cost, features, and reliability. As with any electronic-based product today, to get there requires state-of-the-art manufacturing technology. This is exactly what we have at Franklin Electric’s facility in Grant County, Indiana where SubDrive is manufactured. This manufacturing technology is same or very similar as to what is used in your cell phone or computer and it results in a small, very reliable package at a competitive cost. But much like your cell phone, the end product, as good as it is, is not repairable.

Could SubDrive (or your cellphone) be made totally repairable, right down to the component level? It could, but your customers wouldn’t be able to afford it, it would be terribly unreliable because of all the connections, and it would physically be so big as to take up the entire bed of your truck. That truck of yours may be a compromise, but perfect for the job.

5 thoughts on “WE DON’T COMPROMISE! Well actually, you do

  1. That’s understandable for individual component repairs, but for plug-in circuit boards and major components, that explanation doesn’t hold water. No pun intended. A lose wire can easily be repaired. Your solution would be to have me buy a $2800+ control box because of an easily repairable fault. I can easily replace the electrolytic capacitors should they fail. You can, too. It just seems you don’t want to. You’d rather I spend the aforementioned $2800+ for a new unit. Everything isn’t necessarily disposable. Many failures probably aren’t reasonably repairable. Many are, though, and as a manufacturer that should be concerned about customer satisfaction, you need to realize that we don’t all have that $2800+ to shell out every couple of years when your product fails. Needless to say, I am the not-to-proud owner of a 2-year-old Subdrive 300 that just failed.

    • You’re right on the money on your analysis of Franklin’s strategy. All I can say is that Franklin is giving their competition a great weakness to exploit. Someone will rise to the occasion and then they will get my business. Franklin, then, will have to change their policy,but for me, it will be too late.

  2. I’ve abandoned Franklin’s products because they refused to replace a subdrive 300 that failed UNDER WARRANTY. Then, they would not send the controller back to me! Yes, they can be repaired. After the first NON-HONORED WARRANTY failure, I found a used box for $1500, which has failed 3 times now in the 6+ years I’ve owned it. I’ve repaired it myself twice, and now it’s failed a 3rd time. I’ve not yet torn into it this time, opting to run on the backup well until I have time to research other brands of controllers. But, I can guarantee you I will NEVER own another Franklin Electric product, EVER. You have a Franklin subdrive? You ARE going to pay big bucks soon, or you can have your local TV repairman look at it, and quite possibly, as in my case, find the defect and repair it for a few bucks. I’m lucky in that I have worked as an electronics tech for 48 years and understand that “No user serviceable parts inside” means, we don’t want you messing in there and cutting us out of our high-profit replacement unit business. It appears that the mean-time-between-failure of the subdrive units is about 2 years, if you are lucky enough to get that much.

    • My Subdrive 150 just failed for no apparent reason. I’m super upset to know that the only option is to purchase another unit for close to $2,500. Ours lasted 4 years, which some might think is worthwhile, however, I simply do not. That is $750 a year, which is too much to have to account for on an annual basis. Why won’t you offer some sort of repair or replacement service where it can be sent in for a fee?
      I am even more surprised that with as many that seem to be failing, Franklin hasn’t resolved the issues that are causing the failure, such as a circuit interrupter or temperature fail-safe? I have no idea what the issue was, but even my cell phone has these fail-safes in place!

      • Many of the failures is simply bad solder joints, usually around the heavy gauge wire on the torroid filter coils. These can usually be fixed with proper soldering. The flow solder technique used in manufacturing of Franklin’s boards is faulty and results in many “cold” solder joints. I finally just re-soldered all the joints in mine and that fixed it. Until one I missed failed and ended up burning the circuit board to the point I could not repair it. I’m using another brand of controller now, with zero failures so far.

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