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Question - How can a set being retired be kept secret?

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There are well over 10,000 LEGO employees, many of which work directly with the production of the sets.

 

How can a set that is retiring possibly be kept secret???

 

It isn't like they come in to work one day, and are told to melt down the sets, and burn all the boxes.

 

Are the workers kept in isolation, cut off from all communications? Does LEGO use Oompa Loompas?

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Doesn't work that way, how are staff to know they are going to stop making them, other than noticing that haven't been made in a while.

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The once that decide about the fate of a set are not involved with the low-level works and have no interest in charing their knowledge.

(I guess we're talking about a rather small group of upper class employees here)

 

The majority of employees has nothing to do with set retirement etc. They controll the production and boxing, the selling and PR etc. When LEGO decided to retire a set they will just no longer list them in the production. The ones responsible for the production might notice but seriously why should they care?

Also I don't think that LEGO produces each and every set simultaneously, so there will be a production run for certain sets this week and one for others the next week (that's my guess). Also they have different fabriques for the production.

 

To give an answer: By just not telling when it will be retired they can keep it secret. Also I don't think that they have a definitive date for a set from the beginning. There will be sets that have a longer run. My guess would be that it is somewhat flexible. (Though they have a guide line)

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At the least, most anyone associated with the Inventory Control department should know, as well as many with systems access.

 

Obviously, they somehow keep it quiet - but it seems like it would be somewhat impossible to do.

Edited by KShine

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Questions to think about:

Are the factories where the bricks are molded the same as where the pieces are bagged and the boxes are packed?

Is there only one factory where boxes are packed?

Are the warehouses in the same location as the factories?

 

Depending on how these things are distributed, very few people may have a complete picture of the state of a given set.

 

Town Hall contains some unique (or semi-unique) parts. Say you are the mold-worker who made a batch of  61287pb001/61287pb002 four years ago. Do you have any idea how many of those went into copies of 4191, how many have gone into copies of 10224, and how many are projected to be needed for 70810? Do you know how many are still sitting in warehouse shelves? Do you know if another worker in another factory made a batch?

 

Say you are the worker who packed a shipment of 10224 a year ago. Do you have any idea what the current inventory situation is world wide? Would you know if another shift (or another factory) produced a shipment in the past few months?

 

Just because any individual worker can think "Hmmm, I haven't seen X in awhile" doesn't mean conclusively that X is going away immediately. Not unless that worker also knows the worldwide inventory situation. Maybe X hasn't been produced because it is a dog of a seller that is setting on warehouses gathering dust?

 

Another factor (not saying it applies here, but just think about it) is that molds wear out or break.  Part 61287 is used in only 3 current productions sets: 10235, 10224, and 70810.  If the mold for that part was out of commission, but a finite supply of parts that was estimated to cover lifetime demand for 70810 was available, it would be a rational business decision to analyze the cost of a new mold, expected profit for continuing 10235 and 10224, and decide to discontinue those two sets and hold all remaining parts for 70810.

 

Just saying that very few people in the company probably have a world-view of the factors involved before a product is stopped.

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Maybe now that Lego is the #1 toy company in the world corporate espionage may kick up a notch. But I think the competition would be more concerned with what new products are coming out. Currently we see leaked photos of upcoming sets watermarked "confidential". I agree with Spanky's post so since only higher ups would know what sets are being retired it would be harder to lure them with cash because they have it already and the risk of them being caught would be greater too.

Now if this was Apple I am sure we could find a copy of a document left at a bar with a list of all sets that are planned to be retired in 2015.

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Guest TabbyBoy

It seems like Lego have something far more sinister to sign than the Official Secrets Act which I had to sign for my last job that I can't say any more about so don't ask.

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I have access to which sets are procurable or unprocurable to vendors and retailers which correlates to them being retired. Unfortunately some sets change status after they're already sold out everywhere and everyone here knows they're most likely gone. But sometimes it is a nice heads up to a set that is still available everywhere...

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I have access to which sets are procurable or unprocurable to vendors and retailers which correlates to them being retired. Unfortunately some sets change status after they're already sold out everywhere and everyone here knows they're most likely gone. But sometimes it is a nice heads up to a set that is still available everywhere...

That is the problem with information that floats around from LEGO, none of it is set in stone and production runs can be modified.  A set can be listed as available for 2015 and disappear is the first few months of the new year.  

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That is the problem with information that floats around from LEGO, none of it is set in stone and production runs can be modified.  A set can be listed as available for 2015 and disappear is the first few months of the new year.  

 

Agreed. It is a good resource but by no means is perfectly accurate.

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Just like the magazine this summer having the SSD in it and the SSD promptly proceeded to retire.

 

Manfuacturing, Sales, Marketing and Production are not always linked in tandem at Fortune 500 companies.

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There are well over 10,000 LEGO employees, many of which work directly with the production of the sets.

 

How can a set that is retiring possibly be kept secret???

 

It isn't like they come in to work one day, and are told to melt down the sets, and burn all the boxes.

 

Are the workers kept in isolation, cut off from all communications? Does LEGO use Oompa Loompas?

 

I am sure that if you know the right people, it's not a secret.  However, I'm also sure that Lego protects that information in the same way that any other corporation protects its internal information...through non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, and the threat of terminating any employees who break those agreements.

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I am sure that if you know the right people, it's not a secret.  However, I'm also sure that Lego protects that information in the same way that any other corporation protects its internal information...through non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, and the threat of terminating any employees who break those agreements.

Doesn't seem to deter those who post all the leaked pics we get every year. Maverick's on a mission?  :buba: 

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As a 20 year manufacturing veteran, I'm certain retirement dates are flexible to say the least. It makes no sense to retire a set that is flying off the shelves, but makes perfect sense to stop production of a set that needs a 25-50% discount before anyone buys it. That's no good for Lego or it's retailers. Take the Death Star 10188. It is going into it's 7th year of production. They are still selling it because people are still buying it. Brickvestors aside, the general population still finds the set appealing, so they continue to produce it. Set sales figures, particularly recent sale trends, are probably the single best indicator of when a set is going to retire. The guys with that information are in planning, not on the production floor. The higher ups typically have non disclosure agreements and a lot to lose if they break them. In my experience, the best way to tell if a set is retiring soon is they go on sale in most of the retail outlets and lego LEGO Shop at Home. Sometimes this is a long window, sometimes it is hours.

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That is the problem with information that floats around from LEGO, none of it is set in stone and production runs can be modified.  A set can be listed as available for 2015 and disappear is the first few months of the new year.  

Make an example :-) 

I'm not serious 

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I have access to which sets are procurable or unprocurable to vendors and retailers which correlates to them being retired. Unfortunately some sets change status after they're already sold out everywhere and everyone here knows they're most likely gone. But sometimes it is a nice heads up to a set that is still available everywhere...

That great. The community could benefit from that list. Where is it and can we secure a permanent location for it to be updated on brickpicker? Can you post a copy of the most recent please.

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7 hours ago, redcell said:

Over the years, TLG has been known to take many actions that don't fit neatly within the "logic" and "common sense" that has often prevailed on this board.  For example, there was absolutely no way that TLG would retire the Haunted House before Halloween, but it did exactly that.  Similarly, there was no possible way that TLG would retire R2-D2 before EPVII came out, but it did exactly that.

 

6 hours ago, LahH001 said:

But to your point, actions don't always conform to logic, hence, EV will now probably outlast AOH, so to catch everyone unaware.

And lets not forget having the At-At mentioned in the AoH booklet only for it to be retired 5 months prior.  Heck it even surprises me that they got Ecto-1 and the firehouse to overlap.  I think these countless questionable decisions lead me to think that production runs are planned months in advance.  And this is probably also why the build-able Vader will retire in November; just in time for Rogue 1 where he's a pivotal part of the film (complete speculation btw based on absolutely nothing).

I'm not saying that a sudden increase in sales volume will change that but sometimes I think its hard to believe TLG make these decisions on EOL on the fly.  But that does lead back to this topic.  There are probably only a few people who actually know about the life cycle of a set and i have to believe that sales data will filter back up the chain too slowly for them to really be active enough to change plans.

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One thing is for sure. EVERY set eventually retires. So that's something to go on at least. The length of time it was in production usually just determines how long it takes for it to appreciate. 

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On 10/4/2014 at 7:35 AM, KShine said:

There are well over 10,000 LEGO employees, many of which work directly with the production of the sets.

How can a set that is retiring possibly be kept secret???

It isn't like they come in to work one day, and are told to melt down the sets, and burn all the boxes.

Are the workers kept in isolation, cut off from all communications? Does LEGO use Oompa Loompas?

Oompa Loompas - It's nice when you can laugh at your own long forgotten posts.

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