fischertechnik survey

17 January 2016 toys

Pneumatic Power excavator fischertechnik is a toy construction system invented in 1965, still popular in Germany and the Netherlands, and easily available online in the UK and other countries. It is used in schools to teach mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering, and by top teams in robotics competitions.

The company has been running a good survey, with relevant questions, on its homepage. Overall, I rated fischertechnik well: it's a good quality and flexible system with easy to follow instructions to build interesting models. However, several aspects could be improved.

The survey asks how innovative we rate the fischertechnik brand, and I rated it quite low, explaining that many (most?) of the current kits are simplifications or adaptations of kits introduced years ago, with very similar models.

Asked what new kits we'd like, I suggested trains, steam engines, 'crazy stuff' like the cheap Klutz Lego kits, and a kit with all the parts needed for the fabulous fischertechnik models that illustrate a recent book explaining (in German) 16 milestones of the history of technology, like the clock, calculating machines, the telegraph and the helicopter.

Asked what would increase our customer satisfaction, I suggested:

  • Better parts quality:faulty parts last September I acquired the Pneumatic Power kit and was disappointed so many parts had dents or visible welding lines (click on the photo to enlarge). Moreover, there were slight red colour variations. Lego Technic parts have uniform high shiny quality...
  • Better activity booklets: they accompany the Profi line of kits and, whilst good, are rather simple and short, whereas the Hobby books of the 1970s displayed a bewildering creativity of models, but were rather detailed and advanced. Something striking a middle ground would be ideal.
  • A more interesting fan club newsletter: a large part of the current content is advertising new products.
  • More materials in English: almost every blog, website, database, magazine or book about fishertechnik is in German or Dutch. The survey is in German only, and even assumes you know the German school grading system (1 is best, 6 is worst) to provide the correct rating. It seems fischertechnik is only thinking about its local market. Without properly addressing the English-speaking market, I don't see how fischertechnik can grow. Paying for a translator so that ft:pedia, the free specialised magazine made by fans, also appears in English, would be one step.

Let's see how fischertechnik will respond to the survey.

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