Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

At what point in the future do you expect rides from emerging manufacturers in the East to be sold in the West?

Rich Allen, S&S Worldwide (pictured): Although the Far East has already developed significant manufacturing capability for the mass production of goods, S&S has been fortunate to have maintained strong sales of our products in that region. We believe that this success has relied and will continue to depend on the creativity and originality of our design and engineering team. Even as equalisation of production costs leads to the eventual globalisation of manufacturing, imaginative products and designs will always be in demand.

Jim Seay, Premier Rides, USA: Emerging ride manufacturers in the East face the same daunting challenges that the emerging car manufacturers from countries like China and India face in exporting their vehicles to the West. First, there is already an inherent expectation of high quality in the product to be delivered due to the present quality of the existing supplier base. Second, there are detailed regulatory requirements such as the CEN/ASTM standards which impose detailed design and manufacturing criteria. Third, the majority of customers incorporate third party certification/approval parties such as TÜV that not only verify conformance to specifications but also impose additional criteria based on their experience and perform detailed manufacturing inspections. Fourth, customers require a locally based support operation for both round the clock after market service and for the provision of insurance requirements. Finally, the customers themselves have significant internal design and manufacturing standards that contractually have to be followed to the letter. All of the above are elements that result in dramatically different equipment from the off the shelf offerings of emerging manufacturers and thus are a barrier to entry. More than one major theme park organisation has explored the option of working with emerging manufacturers from the East and found that the final costs end up being significantly higher than established resources. The elements noted above protect companies like Premier Rides that already meet or exceed existing industry and regulatory requirements.

Vladimir Gnezdilov, Pax Design, Russia: We have been producing and selling our amusement rides in the West for a long time. Only when other Russian companies comply with local standards in the West will they be able to successfully sell their amusement rides in these markets. Many of our rides are TÜV-certified.

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