02 July 2013

Filofax Ring Mechanisms

As you know, at our meeting at the end of last year, we raised the issue of ring mechanism quality with senior representatives of Filofax.   Since then, a petition has been submitted and Filofax responded assuring that they were working with their supplier to mitigate these issues.   Filofax has recently commented further on this, as below.

We would like to reassure that we have taken action in response to concerns brought to our attention about the quality of ring mechanisms – a fundamental component in our organiser products.  In response to the petition organised by Kate Bernasconi earlier in the year, we responded that we were working closely with our ring mechanism supplier to mitigate issues.  Since then we have reinforced this commitment by spending a great deal of time re-educating all suppliers involved in the chain on our quality expectations –  not only the manufacturer of the ring mechanism component, but handling points, assembly (which is done by hand) and final inspection at our warehouse and distribution centre. 

To explain further, our ring mechanism supplier is the largest in the world its field and they have excellent, world class production facilities.  The ring mechanisms we buy are not their standard product and we have our own enhanced Filofax specification and quality criteria.  This includes, amongst other things, their operatives regularly checking the product for consistency of ring dimensions, alignment, straightness, trigger tension, marks, dents or scratches during production.  Filofax ring mechanisms are stored according to strict guidelines to ensure they maintain their structure.

When  the ring mechanisms arrive at the organiser assembly point, another set of inspections are put in process during the hand assembly of our personal organisers.  All fitters wear gloves when handling the products and supervisors are constantly carrying out random checks throughout assembly and the finished, assembled products are checked again at the packing stage.  The organisers then undergo further, final QA checks when they arrive at our distribution centre.   Unfortunately it is not practical to do a 100% check on all products received at our distributor centre although we have increased the rate of final inspection.  Hopefully we are demonstrating that there are several points during manufacture, packing, shipping and warehousing process where someone is physically handling and checking the mechanism against numerous criteria.

Whilst we would obviously have expected this detailed checking process to happen as a matter of course, sometimes in any manufacturing process, it is necessary to re-educate all parties involved.  We hope this will result in far fewer unsatisfactory products getting into the hands of consumers.  The re-education and heightened measures have been introduced recently and products that have gone through this process are in the system.    

Whilst there has been lots of comments about ring mechanism quality in the social community in recent months, we do believe that as a percentage of our total worldwide production, these issues amount to less than 1%.  Of course we hope that the actions outlined above ultimately reduce this and we will continue to address any individual consumer concerns quickly and appropriately through our customer services team.

Thank you to Filofax for taking our concerns seriously

31 comments:

  1. It's great to see that Filofax is taking it serious :-) And thank you Steve for letting us know about it!

    Thomas

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  2. I'm an avid Filofax fan. However, I have to disagree with the 1% estimate of faulty rings. I have received 3, yes THREE, Purple Saffiano Filofaxes......all with ring issues. And I don't mean small issues either. It's seriously, ridiculous. I ordered them all from Filofax USA and I'm not sure what the problem is. But I am very disappointed.

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  3. Thanks Steve. I had to send a Filofax back to Filofax Sweden because of dodgy rings. They denied that it was a common problem, so I got them to do a Google search for Filofax ring problems and there were so many hits for it they could't believe their eyes.

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  4. Let me review in my mind...Personal almond Amazona,raspberry Chameleons 3x (!!),a5 ochre Malden,a5 purple Malden,Personal Osterley orange,Personal Osterley plum (2 times) = Faulty rings in the last year!

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  5. That 1% comment rubbed me the wrong way. As little as 1% may be I still hope Filofax will try to fix the ring issues as best and promptly as they can.

    Not sure why they are singling us out (the social media people). I doubt we are the only ones with ring issues...a lot of people are just not reporting or just returning the items for refunds. *shrugz*

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  6. How many times have I refused the "gift" of a vintage binders from friends or relatives because the rings were bad? Ok, just twice, but still... (not just gaps but criss crossed from sitting under heavy boxes in storage, *sigh*)--Thanks, Grandma, but I'm good with the Windsor Zip.

    If I wouldn't take it for free, why would I pay a premium for even the most beautiful binders with wonky rings?

    I paid $180 US for a superior backpack for my son. I inspected every zipper, every seam...not a stitch out of place. I've got maybe $1600 worth of goods from this company (not going to use the name, but it rhymes with Bomb Tin) now, and everything is perfectly made as to specs and quality.

    If Filofax really wants me to spend that kind of money with them, I want perfection...consistently.

    (And truly red leather A5 binders with 30mm rings.)

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  7. Oh big flippety boo- hoo!
    I´ve also been on sales and this is very well done sales- speech to explain faulty products. This same technique is also often used in politics.
    Now, to use ANY percentage, there should be a study done by unbiased party.
    I bought me first Filo over two decades ago- rings were beyond perfect and after OVER two decades of avid using and travelling and movings and chances of countries the rings still are perfect. This is quality. This is craftsmanship I respect and am willing to pay for. Anything done with integrity and quality and talent gives you the emotion that your purchase is valid and righteous. Any sales- study shows that sales- decisions are dominated by emotions- through emotions you rationalize the purchase.
    Before buying the first Filofax I did woman- handle the other items on sale just as well. Perfect ring system, perfect alignments. Soft mechanism to both open and close. Everything oozed said "high- quality."
    Two decades passed and I faultily expected to receive the same high- end products. Not so much, even after returning the originals and receiving new pair (I bought two A5 Maldens) of binders they are still filled with faults. Rings still are completely misaligned, snap loudly open and close after wrestling because the "openers" at the end of ring systems are loose. The metal is weak and seems to misalign more and more over time and it needs to be manipulated back to order. This after less than 6 months. To me, this is 100% fail. I have learned my lesson of never again buying another Filofax. The arrogance to exploit customers on the shade of a brand and to expect customers to just eat it, because of perhaps nostalgic preference is inexcusable. It is my understanding that this was not just a week- or month of whoopsie that the manufacturer then noticed and made immediate corrections to rectify the situation to both their reputation and their customers who suffered of their slip.
    Now, to then justify this with assurance to customers how they not only are working with the Largest Manufacturer of the Entire Wooooorld and not only do their rings are done with their usually used standards but even with Higher Standards kinda sorta excused with royal BS. Really! Do they really think customers are that naive, gullible and simply idiots to be stringed along. If the Filofax standards really are produced with Higher Standards and go through several tests, just how crappy must the rest of the rings be. To be noted is also the fact that Filofax would have been entirely happy with crappy rings and only chose to release lukewarm explanations of their very high standards ONLY when the outcry grew loud enough- it takes no genius this reflected in their sales as well- not because there would be any concrete thrive for excellence. So many traits speak louder than words, cutting down costs was of higher vantage than quality and integrity of their products.
    All of things mentioned above is my opinion, and my opinions are based on what I have seen and experienced myself.

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  8. * continuance to post above*

    BTW, my son bought a binder to me from the thrift store. It cost him 1 Euro, in the shops it costs less than 20 euros. Rings were and still are perfect. This was an inexpensive brand available in almost any grocery store.
    I also bought few binders from grocery store (for filing and archive purposes)- each cost just a few euros. Perfect rings then, perfect rings still.
    My Malden cost 170 Euros. I bought two.
    The People rest their case, not entertained.
    The bottom line is, there are other manufacturers, there are other systems. Any company should be wise enough to respect that notion.
    This should be imperial to Filofax, especially now that there is a door open to new coming. Because the peak and need is now, appropriate measures should have been taken several years ago. This was predictable, this was easily predictable. It peeves me no end that there seemed to be zero intent on Filofax to grasp that moment and fly. If anybody ???´s, just lemme ask you instead- how many smiles do you think The High- Priestess of the Death- Eaters (Missus Wintour) has reserved for this life? Every breath the woman takes is a calculated strategy to clear the Universe from Serious Ugly.

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  9. They still don't name their supplier but it's World Wide Stationery. See http://www.wwstationery.com/en/index.php if you want to find out more about them. They are a truly massive corporation, which (to me) doesn't ring true with an upmarket niche product like Filofax. Even the "Made in Britain" Filofaxes ("The Original") have their ring mechanisms Made in China by World Wide!

    Filofax could solve their problem very easily. All modern Filofaxes have the same cheap rivet fixing. You'll see that even World Wide produces a slightly more expensive system where the ring mechanism slides onto a back plate rather than fixed by permanent rivets. Any faulty mechanism could then be replaced in seconds with a new one, rather than having to bin the entire Filofax. That's how it used to be done. Why not reintroduce it now - at least on the more expensive products?

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    1. Sounds like a great solution and I think that's how the Gillio ring mechanisms work.

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    2. Hi Tim, thanks for the great post. I couldn't agree more with your observation and despite having at least 30 filofaxes (5 with slight ring issues - one or two don't close properly or are misaligned)- while I had sent back at least 2 Filos with too much ring trouble to accept) - I too would like the return of better quality rings to the Filofax brand. If that's not the case - my better choice binder will be a Gillio one while Filofax is going to downgrade as an economy model only.

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    3. There are some models of Filofax that do use that type of ring mechanism that slots on rather than is riveted on. The Osterley is one model if my memory isn't correct

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    4. I'll take your word for that Steve, but the photo of the A5 on the UK site suggests even for £175, you still get the same cheap riveted mechanism.

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    5. my personal Kendal has the non-riveted rings, but I see that the A5 is riveted.

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  10. I must be blessed with excellent luck, as I've never had a problem with rings! I only have 3 binders, all of them newer (a Finsbury, an Adelphi, and a Cuban) and they've all come to me in perfect condition! However, I was also skeptical of the 1% statistic. I know that people are more likely to complain if something is wrong than to compliment things being right, but even so, I doubt that accounts for the numerous, numerous posts about faulty rings.

    I hope the resurgence of Filofax enthusiasm will raise profits enough that the company can afford to stop cutting corners in production, as seems to have been the case. I also hope that my future purchases are equally lucky and I never get dodgy rings! (knock on wood!)

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  11. Something that rarely gets mentioned, but is just as important as ring allignment, is the "shape" of the ends of the rings. Take a vintage Filofax (ie one made in England before 1991) and look at the rings with a magnifying glass. The interlocking "teeth" are deeper, forming a better connection the modern versions. Also, the edges appear to be chamferred, reducing the possiblity of snagging as pages are turned.

    Current versions simply aren't as well engineered as they used to be many years ago, and no amount of "checking the mechanism against numerous criteria" will alter that fact. Somewhere along the line, someone decided to specify a lower quality ring mechanism, and it's very noticeable when you have new and vintage binders side by side in front of you.

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    1. It´s true! In my Balmoral they seem to interlock entirely! I´ve never seen this with any other ring mechanism. Now when I compare this to these other two made in China, I just melt into homicidal mess. No comparing pearls and pigs.

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  12. I want to thank everyone's input on the ring situation. Y'all have saved me heaps of money!

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  13. I want to thank everyone's input on the ring situation. Y'all have saved me heaps of money!

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  14. Something else I want to point out is that I see a lot of comments and posts online where the rings went gappy or or of of alignment after 2-3 months of use. So no matter how vigilant Filofax's quality control may be before shipping, they still won't prevent weak ring mechanisms going bad soon after purchase. So again I encourage anyone who has rings problems to contact Filofax directly to report it and don't just let it slide.

    Another thing I wonder is if all the rings reports go to one person or department within Filofax's company, or if the reports are not compiled and therefore not all the numbers of faulty rings are seen together.

    Steve do you know, or if not could you please find out via your contacts if there is one email address to whom everyone should address their rings issues, to make sure they are counted by customer service and/ or quality control?

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    1. I will certainly ask Laurie.

      It's also worth reminding folks about opening and closing rings. Take a look at our FAQ page:
      http://philofaxy.blogspot.com/p/faq.html and scroll down to 'Opening and closing rings'

      Steve

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  15. I must say I cannot agree to the 1% . In the last three years I have ordered and received 6 organisers of which one - a Kendall arrived with the ring mechanism totally detatched. And a purple Finsbury did that a week after use. the Kendal got replaced and the Finsbury didn't as they couldn't trace the parcel. I call that a pretty high percentage.

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  16. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one rubbed the wrong way by the 1% comment. I find it hard to believe that half the organizers I've received have fallen into that 1%. I find it even harder to believe that all the damaged binders you see and hear about in the Philofaxy community alone only amounts to 1%. No offense to Filofax, but I really don't think their market share is that large (at least large enough that the Philofaxy community amounts to less than 1% assuming not all binders we've gotten have been faulty). Something's not adding up. Either their definition of faulty rings is severely different than the customers', or their numbers are just really off.

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  17. Thank you to Filofax for their further feedback on this issue.
    Sadly I've also had more than my fair share of binders with ring issues, which have included ones with issues straightaway & also gaps/misalignment after a couple of month's use. And like Kate, it has put me off buying new a bit. However, I've always found City Organiser & FF UK fantastic at sorting out returns or replacements.

    A friend of mine has a filo with gappy rings & when I mentioned it to her, her response was, "Oh, it's always been like that & I just figured that was normal". I doubt that she's done anything as it doesn't bother her, so maybe there are more customers out there like her.

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  18. I'm also one of the 1% (yeah, right!) who have encountered wonky rings on several binders. Only my fourth Personal purple Malden had perfect rings! Kudoz to the (in this case German) Filofax customer service, who remained helpful and patient until the end.

    Anita, I find it matters where the gap occurs. As long as the paper doesn't get caught in the rings (usually the case in the top and bottom ring), I won't cry over a small gap.

    That said: my Franklin Covey binder, and my Portland Grand have absolutely perfect rings. The ring mechanism on both is so strong and sturdy that it could no doubt break a finger, if it got inbetween.
    Don't see that happening with my more recent Filofax-models. So perhaps we should applaude Filofax for caring about our security ...


    Mhuauahahaa

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  19. I own 4 filofaxes - Personal Baroque, Pocket Malden, an A5 Sketch - to test the size before investing in my A5 Holborn Zip. The Holborn arrived with a significant gap between the rings - 3-4 mm gap between all of the rings. The other three were perfect. Unfortunately I'm so in love with the Holborn Zip that I can't bring myself to leave Filofax despite the ring issues. I'm trying to get a replacement now but the company is being a jerk about it - even though I emailed them with detailed pictures of the fault within an hour of it arriving at my house - so I'm going to try and go direct through Filofax now and see where I end up. So, anyway for me the fail rate is currently at 25%.

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  20. I decided to search the web to see if there ere still ring issues. I ordered a personal size original in green from Filofax Germany yesterday. The delivery was less than 24 hours. I was so excited to open it and set it up. Unfortunately two rings had significant gaps that I had to return it today. So very disappointed. I thought Filofax would have fixed the issue by now with the rings. I am undecided if I should try to order the same one again when the refund is processed.

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  21. I have recieved 3 out of 13 Filofaxes with ring issues. Nothing major, but still annoying. I even emailed FF UK and asked/suggested they took their inserts out of the binder and sent them alongside to avoid ring damage and was told something along the lines of "We thank you for your suggestion. This is a good idea and we'll look into it. I'm sending this email to our warehouse staff......" Then when I ordered from them a few days later and asked to have my binder shipped without anything on the rings I was told this was not possible as they are shipped from another location (and the people working there are apparently unable to remove the inserts and pack them up outside the rings). I have ordered from FF UK, FF France, FF Italy and FF Norway, and they always ship with inserts in the rings. I'd honestly rather buy my inserts seperately and not recieve anyone with the binder if they can't make sure to ship them safely.

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  22. OMG, I just recieved my first Filofax Nude Original Personal size, And I am SO DISAPPOINTED with Iit because of the ring issue!! EVERYTIME I flip the pages, they STUCKED a little because of the gaps. This is just annoying. And I also notice there is a minor dent on the cover leather under the light. OMG seriously Filofax?? Is this a $100 planner you guys are selling??

    I can't believe I am the lucky 1%, there must be more victims like me.
    Oh Please do check your products before you send them out. The ring gaps are so noticeable and they even don't line up very well.

    JUST DISAPPOINTED, btw, This purchase was made on Filofaxusa.com

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    Replies
    1. You need to contact Filofax USA about the issue with your planner. We are not Filofax

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  23. Ok, for people who are reading this comment. I just received my Malden in personal size today and it has ring gaps again. Two times in a roll. Both the original personal and Malden per are from Filofaxusa and they are NEW. I contacted their customer service, they told me the refund takes up to 30 days and the shipping cost falls on me. So whoever considering buying a Filofax, be cautious of the ring gaps. Imagine the paper stocks every time you flip a page. If you are willing to pay $100 for a planner, why not level up a little and get something nicer than Filofax. There are so many decent brands out there. I am definitely not going to put one dime into this company.

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