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From Harman - The Real Story

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Karen Harman-McSherry, Jul 24, 2008.

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  1. Karen Harman-McSherry

    Karen Harman-McSherry New Member

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    There is a multitude of information on this blog that is wildly untrue.

    We, the Harman family, are extremely happy for our relationship with HHT. They have given us the opportunity to grow Harman not just in sales, but with organizational structure and member empowerment. Our home-grown business could not be in better hands as we all continue to play integral rolls in its future. We have wanted to reorganize our facility for years, and HHT was the catalyst to make that happen. We can now produce more stoves, better, and faster than ever.

    We upgraded our business software the end of May. During this time period, as you know, oil prices skyrocketed and unexpected orders came in by the thousands. As orders were entered with this new software, acknowledgements were sent out with unattainable dates. This is our mistake, as we did not realize the acknowledgements were being sent. We take responsibility for this oversight and have communicated real dates to our dealers.

    To meet demand, we have hired 120 members, added production lines specifically for pellet and central heat units, purchased significant capital equipment, and met with our vendors to assure delivery of components......all in record time due to HHT’s support. Since July, the Harman factory has been operating at 3 times the originally planned run rates. Even at this level it will not be enough to meet all the demand, which is at 5 times the planned run rates.

    We are thankful many of our dealers attended our 2008 Annual 3 day Dealer Event this week. This event was planned in March, not as a result of any recent dealer requests. We are getting an overwhelming amount of messages from dealers saying they are eased by knowing and seeing what we are doing and how quickly we are responding to the unprecedented demand for stoves. (We will highlight some of the events on our dealer corner by 7/30/08.)

    For the past 29 years we have been making Harman Stoves. We have worked hard to earn our reputation for building stoves with maximum quality, innovation, and convenience. HHT will help us maintain our reputation and exceed our goals. Many people do not understand the magnitude of concern we had to assure that our dealers, vendors, and members were taken care of during the sale of our company. We are thrilled that HHT agreed to keep and support all of those people.

    Mr. Issod, if you are still unsure of Harman’s unfaltering commitment to producing the best brand in the hearth industry, you are invited to visit our facility. We will show you that Harman is here to stay. Our members are happier, our stoves are produced more efficiently, and our unity is stronger than ever.

    Sincerely,
    Dane, Gloria and Karen Harman
    (Founders and Brand Manager of Harman)

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    I was wondering when you people were going to get here.
    Good post, clears up some of the misinformation that has been posted.
  3. oc4man

    oc4man New Member

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    Thank You Karen !
  4. BadDad320

    BadDad320 Feeling the Heat

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    Good spin...........................
  5. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    This should be interesting. :)
  6. terryjd98

    terryjd98 Member

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    At least you can say they are honest about not going to be able to meet demand for the stoves. If they are having orders for 5 times the projected run and can only handle 3 times thats going to be a lot of customers not going to get a Harmon. When a company is honest enough to admit it that says a lot for their reputation and keeping it good. Has anybody ever heard Bill Gates ever say how bad Windows ME or Vista was, is?
  7. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    Still does not help the customers waiting for stoves only to be canceled or told 'June 2009'; or the dealers who are out money for piping they bought for stoves they thought they sold, etc.

    Seems that the most important information was NOT "wildly untrue".
  8. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    A nice move there from the Harman family.
    I was beginning to think I got stuck with my bargain $500 used P38 and it could end up as a boat anchor the first time it broke down unable to get parts for it.
    Yup , things are looking good. Harman`s good as gold, oil prices falling, pellet supplies increasing , the dollar ganing against the Euro.
    Now lets hear it from the usual couple of negative chicken lickens who always cry out the sky is falling.
  9. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    Good luck to you and I hope it will work out. I am waiting on my first shipment of Harman Stoves.

    Eric
  10. SNAPMAN61

    SNAPMAN61 Member

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    Karen,
    Hopefully you will have an adequate dealer network left after this mess is straightened out .Not only must your dealers have questions, but what about the general public?This thread would be appreciated in The Kennebec Journal newspaper .Your message sounds sincere ,but we here are a limited audience...........Get your message out there before the damage is irreversible
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    :zip:
  12. slls

    slls Minister of Fire

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    All I can say is in this age of instant communications, this story was slow to get out. People were upset with thousands of dollars in up front money.
  13. lecomte38

    lecomte38 Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the uplifting reply but it was little short on specifics. I ordered an Accentra insert June 6 from Heartline Stove in NH. Will I be seeing it before winter? I have 5 tons of pellets and a flue liner in the garage just waiting for a way to use them.
  14. newf lover

    newf lover Minister of Fire

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    Call your dealer; they should be able to give you a date. I called today and was told March for my P68. I'm sure it depends on dealer and location. My dealer said they have had about a 30% cancellation rate, so I'm hoping it will be sooner. If not, I will live. I'll just be colder and poorer.
  15. lessoil

    lessoil Minister of Fire

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    Dane, Gloria and Karen Harman

    Thanks for the update!!
    I was pleased to see that you took time from your busy schedule to post in this forum!!
    Not every company would do that.

    I will be calling Northern Lights in Farmington, Maine tomorrow for an update on our order.
    I want to get a plug in for them.
    They have been polite and courteous each and every time I have called!! Sometimes twice a week!! They have encouraged me to call every time.

    We are number 5 on the list for the P61A and they are doing their best to get us the stove we ordered. If we have to wait until November/December, that is fine. If it goes past that then we will have to decide what to do. I hate the thoughts of burning oil again this Winter.

    We want a Harmon in our house!!

    Thanks!
  16. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    its good to see that Harman is working hard on it. from my standpoint i have said that the hearth industry (especially pellet at this time) needs Harman in it. to Karen and Gloria, nice to make your aquaintence, (had a chance to meet Dane in atlanta last spring, was a real treat for me getting to shake that hand)
    anyway ,keep hammering away at it, im glad to see you guys are still banging em out. hopefully we can all come out of this season in a positive way.
  17. Madhouse27

    Madhouse27 Member

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    Dane, Gloria and Karen, I appreciate your taking time to update us on the situation at the factory. I read your post several times and couldn't seem to find the sentence I was looking for. It goes something like this: "To those consumers who ordered a Harmon Stove in the spring but won't be receiving one before winter we are deeply sorry." I think under these circumstances a little apology to the person actually buying your product might go a long way.
  18. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Folks,

    Heck, first of all - call me Craig......

    Secondly, if you actually go back and read the Forum for the last couple of weeks, you will see that I said that I thought Harman would be able to produce the stoves they promised - that was my guess based on the reputation of HHT and the capital and resources they brought to the table.

    BUT THEN WE HEARD DIFFERENTLY FROM MANY DEALERS, CUSTOMERS AND OTHERS WITHIN AND OUTSIDE OF THE INDUSTRY.

    That was all in the last three weeks.

    So please keep in mind that I neither start nor spread rumors.....just attempt to sort through and moderate the tons of information here on the board. The customer and dealer experiences given here - I assume - are real.

    Neither I nor the readers here are judge, jury or executioner - simply folks have been trying to piece together information in an environment where they are hearing all kinds of things.....mostly from YOUR dealers!

    So please....please don't shoot the messenger. Whether it was your software, planning, logistics or conservative sales goals.....those are all valid reasons for supply not meeting demand. It's your business and if you choose to make 10,000 stoves or 50,000 stoves is up to you...as is the risk/reward for doing so.

    Please understand that MY JOB is as an advocate for our industry - mostly from a consumer viewpoint. I didn't choose for VC to go bankrupt, Harman to be acquired nor for the current consumer problems (which, IMHO, are really only a lack of communication) ..... but at the same time when our forum members and other media news articles start talking about the recent "panic", we are going to talk about it here and advise each other on what things look like from our point of view(s).

    Once again, I don't fault Harman for not being able to meet demand. No one possibly could, based on the run-on-the-bank. You should feel proud that people treasure your product enough to spark such a demand.

    However, that does not help with the fact that Perception is Everything, and for whatever reason a number of customers and dealers have felt that they got the shaft.

    I'm certain that folks are happy that your company has committed to build a vast number of stoves. That was what I guessed would be done from the beginning...up until the letters and notices went out. No one is perfect, but when folks are told one or two months and then told 8 months......they begin to worry!

    We on the forum will continue to advocate for the consumer and industry.....at some times that may not align with the wishes of every corporate "team" in the business. However, in most cases all of our interests should be similar - to provide the end users with reliable and safe stoves and installations.

    Now get back to that assembly line - folks are waiting!
    :coolsmile:
  19. Bxpellet

    Bxpellet Feeling the Heat

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    Harman Family,
    if you want to impress me and other Harmans owners return a phone call or email when someone calls with a problem or question with their stove and stop referring them back to the dealers.
  20. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I will pull out the main points from Karens post.......what really matters:

    1. "We upgraded our business software the end of May. During this time period, as you know, oil prices skyrocketed and unexpected orders came in by the thousands. As orders were entered with this new software, acknowledgments were sent out with unattainable dates."

    Translation - we messed up (admittedly so), and told dealers (and therefore customers) that they would get stoves....and the reality is that they will not.

    2. "Since July, the Harman factory has been operating at 3 times the originally planned run rates."

    It is only 3 weeks into July now! This means that until very recently, they had not ramped up to that point.

    3. "Even at this level it will not be enough to meet all the demand"

    That speaks for itself....

    ---------------------------------------------
    Karen, please feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but they way I read your post - the lead times being given NOW (in the past few days) to the dealers are the ACCURATE ones, and those given before that should be disregarded?
  21. Bxpellet

    Bxpellet Feeling the Heat

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    Craig,

    I understood everything she said, and admitting that you are wrong, goes a long way in my book, But if by chance she does read the post it would be nice if they were a little more end user friendly, other then that I love my Harman, and so does the cat.
  22. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    i think (and granted i do not have a dog in this fight) the reassurance is a good thing. in their buisness model , the lines of communication work through the dealers, and im sure that they are burning up the phones/keyboards getting the word out on the scheduling updates. having come out and stated what was said leads me to believe that they are doing just that and that the affected dealers will be able to pass this information on to their customers. also , integrating new software is never as simple as "click here to install" now , the explanation , while it doesnt exactly give a "free pass" for the issues it created, is very plausible and it isnt like they are the first company that has had a glitch, unfortunately, it couldnt have come at a less opportune time but it happened. and with the run on pellet stoves this season , it happened in a big way. it is already being corrected according to the info posted , lets see how it shakes out. late is WAY better than not at all. and when its all said and done , i think Harman will emerge stronger than ever.

    just my 2 cents
  23. nhdblfan

    nhdblfan Member

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    read the letter twice,
    here is what I got out of it;

    Software was sending out confirmations of sales they did not realize where going so strong.

    They have ramped up production early this month.

    All orders can not be filled this season

    Three questions

    don't they have reps who where telling them orders where comming in much faster ?

    why wait till now to ramp up production?

    It understandable they can not keep up with demand but what can the "new" delivery schedules be counted on and can they produce as much as last year?
  24. gw2kpro

    gw2kpro New Member

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    Amazing that just about every corporation speaks in exactly the same vague terms.

    You will also note that, after months and months and months of vague / contradictory communication, flat out false communiction to the dealers, or complete stonewalling, a Harman rep couldn't be bothered to post any kind of info up here of any kind until they got absolutely taken to task by the Webmaster on this forum. Then we got a response.

    That, in itself, speaks volumes.

    I'm sorry, but the flimsy "our software screwed up" excuse doesn't fly with me.

    ANY business knows what they are capable of producing in the next week, next month, next 3 months. You don't need a computer for that, you can count it on your fingers and toes. Yet your dealer network was allowed to take orders for MANY TIMES what you were physically capable of producing, for months, and now -- come the last week of July, someone finally "comes clean" with what is going on and it was a computer's fault? Bull.

    Thousands of people burned and sold a product that was KNOWN would not be available to them when they needed it -- for this heating season.

    And, when you finally, finally, finally, find time in your schedule to provide (hopefully) truthful communication, it can't even be laced with a five second effort to offer an apology to those who you have burned? How much does your company actually value its customers? Re-read your own posting and tell me, exactly WHERE is your customer focus evident?

    Because of your lack of truthful communication over the last months, many people are stuck without a stove and are going to have to front the cash for oil, the exact thing they didn't want to do, because too much time has passed, waiting on Harman.

    If you want to impress me, quit making excuses about software and what not and either get those people the stoves they bought in good faith and were promised, and were counting on, or make it right with them in some other way; they showed good faith in YOUR company and YOUR products by fronting a deposit to get one of your stoves, and have been waiting in some cases MONTHS for you to deliver -- what are you specifically doing for those individuals? Can you name one single concrete thing?

    It's freaking the end of July, and your company has only ramped up production in the last 3 weeks? The average poster up here has known about this problem for months.
  25. stumper

    stumper New Member

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    Once again, I was one of those who put in a lot of time researching on this site and other sources to choose a good stove early last Spring. By choosing the Harman followed by placing the requested down payment to be part of the first shipment provided a sense of accomplishment and relief that Winter would be a bit less stressful financially. I appreciate Harman coming forward to try and calm the negative publicity they were facing but it is a lame excuse as far as I'm concerned. Being a teacher, this universal excuse of a "software glitch" so often used in the business world ranks right there with my students saying "the dog ate my homework" to "my computer locked up". Time to move on, there are many stoves out there as good or better and at a more reasonable price.

    Stumper......Maine
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