AV123/SVS/Outlaw - What Gives?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by dpippel, Apr 9, 2002.

  1. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I know that there are valid reasons for the delays, but I wanted to voice my frustration with some of the companies held dear by members of this forum (and others).
    Based solely on the opinions and reviews at HTF, AVSForum, etc., I've ended up ordering two HT products sight unseen and am seriously considering a third. However, I find it very interesting that all three of the firms mentioned in the title of this thread seem to be suffering from the same thing - too much success. My 25-31 PCi subwoofer order is on hold because SVS ran into a supply problem with their new amplifiers. The Outlaw 950 I'm in line for has been delayed for who knows HOW long due to audio glitches halting current production (I haven't even been given "permission" to order it yet!). The Swan Diva 6.1 and C3 speakers I'm almost ready to buy are completely out of stock and won't be available for shipment until the second week in *MAY*. That's a pretty bad track record for three companies who rely heavily on word of mouth to sell their stuff.
    Now, before you start jumping to their defense go back and reread my first paragraph. I'M AWARE OF THE ISSUES. The causes are what interest me here. Too much hype too soon? (Outlaw) Inaccurate demand forecasting? (Outlaw, AV123, SVS) Bad coordination with suppliers? (all three) Marketing focus sacrificing production efficiency? Any opinions? It's ironic that all of these high-buzz products are essentially unattainable at the present time. That's bad news for the "I want it now" buyer.
    My intent in starting this thread was to get some discussion going about what may have contributed to the current situation. Well yeah, and to vent a little frustration too. In a perfect world I'd be going home to enjoy some 2 channel music and a movie or two on my new setup, but not tonight. ARRGGHHHH!!!! [​IMG]
     
  2. Greg Br

    Greg Br Second Unit

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    One word for you

    Internet

    I think it is tough to forcast the word of mouth that can happen with these message boards. How many hits does this board have a day, 10k probably more.
     
  3. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Doug,

    Parts Express is having similar problems getting in a tweeter that's very popular with the DIY crowd. It's taking longer than expected because they are unwilling to sacrifice quality control to get them in sooner.

    Basically, without meaning to sound like a smartass, is:

    Shit happens. No matter how well you plan something always comes up to throw a wrench into things.

    BTW, you should feel lucky. Many of us ACI speaker owners have waited over 2 years since the time they announced they were working on a new dedicated center channel. You don't here us complaining about it. First impressions are very positive from those that have now received their new ACI Veritas center channel.

    Brian
     
  4. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Doug,

    Before anyone speculates on our behalf I can tell you straight (not sure if you asked via e-mail but it's the same story there if you did), "inaccurate forecast" is partially true, but I'm not sure there is much we can do to avoid it.

    We just spent the better part of a year developing a totally new amp with a company that doesn't typically deal in any quantiy with less than 4 or 5 zeros on it. Chasing a moving target on powered subwoofer demand, keeping an eye on our own cash reserves, and dealing with a rather large supplier you roll the dice and create a build/ship schedule that keeps "just in time" supply, just in time.

    It's not a perfect world, we dont' work with perfect suppliers, and God know's we're not perfect. Demand has skyrocketed, the supplier runs out of a small component that SHOULD have been in house weeks ago, and well, shit happens. One thing is about as perfect as a product at this price point gets and that's the PCi line itself. You'll be glad you waited (if you do), and you can rest assured that the only ones probably MORE frustrated that SVS sometimes (sometimes) has trouble keeping up with demand is... SVS.

    Can't speak for the other companies but if you ever tried to manage a manufacturing company you would know that flexibility (and understanding customers) with a product this hot is the key to success.

    Having just got off the phone with our new amp supplier (two different offices, two calls and LOTS of frank talk) I promise you that we're doing all we can to keep about 150 different parts fully stocked.

    Nearly every one of those parts has its own challenges. A long answer to a simple question, but one we don't take lightly. We KNOW how good the PCi subs are and simply want to get them out to folks as quick as our production capacity allows. Right now supply is a much larger issue than production capacity for what that's worth.

    Ron
     
  5. Greg Br

    Greg Br Second Unit

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    Ron,

    It sounds like a price increase may be needed, not a popular statement but that is the simple fact of supply and demand. Then there is always expansion!
     
  6. Steve Zimmerman

    Steve Zimmerman Second Unit

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    Doug, by your reasoning, well-established non-Internet Manufacturers like Ford, Chevy, Honda and Toyota would never have backorders of new products. Presumably those companies have spent decades forecasting, marketing, and selling and would never have a shortage.

    Well guess what... The "big boys" temporarily run out of stock ALL THE TIME. Therefore, you can hardly expect a small, self-funded company to be able to do so especially since they are all dependant on other companies to provide parts. Even if SVS *could* have accurately forecasted the demand for their latest subwoofers, I find it hard to believe that they would have the cash overhead to simply buy all the necessary parts to say nothing of performing all of the necessary assembly two months before the launch.

    --Steve
     
  7. Dave Schofield

    Dave Schofield Second Unit

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    Let me guess, Greg you already have your SVS [​IMG]
    Truth be told, SVS subs probably have a very inelastic demand curve (changes in price wouldn't affect the demand to a great extent, like gasoline). This means, among other things, that raising prices won't decrease the demand which, obviously, won't change a thing as far as raw part demand/supply problems.
    I think Doug was also saying, in effect "why am I so damn unlucky this week" [​IMG], not knocking the supply/demand balancing act.
     
  8. Greg Br

    Greg Br Second Unit

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    I have mine, but realisticaly if prices whent up I would understand, my comment was half sarcastic in the fact you are seeing a few of these what the heck is going on posts, I am sure it is more frustrating for SVS than anyone here, I know how I feel when I am turning away quality work cause I just do not have enough man power or everyone starts a project at one time, its not fun.
     
  9. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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  10. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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  11. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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  12. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Doug,

    It's typically taken between one and six months for audio/HT products I've order to arrive (granted, they aren't Sony/Denon/Yamaha type things).

    I hate the wait, but in my experience it's pretty common for these smaller (and typically quality-oriented) manufacturers. In fact, the SVS waits I've observed (and I do have SVS subs myself) are in fact shorter than most others I've had to deal with and SVS themselves were much more communicative about the reasons and expected length of the delay.

    On the other hand. . . Cinepro, Magnepan, Theta Digital. . . yikes. LONG delays with no info.

    My $.02
     
  13. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Doug,

    What it really boils down to is that you made the mistake of wanting 3 of the most popular internet direct products out there! At least from all the positive posts I'd imagine you'd be happy with them all if/when you get them. Just hang in there.

    Brian
     
  14. Matt Meyer

    Matt Meyer Stunt Coordinator

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    Well VW the 4th largest auto maker in the world failed to predict the success of the new beetle in 98 and was way behind in production and pissed some people off, so it happens to everyone at least once.[​IMG]
    Matt
     
  15. James Slade

    James Slade Second Unit

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    Forecasting is no easy task, let's get that clear. Second most people really have no idea how to do it accurately. I spent many long nights studying forecasting methods in school and it is super hard stuff. I think most people who start small companies to make a product that they love, know a lot about the product they love, and they learn how to wear the rest of the hats as they go.

    One thing that has been mentioned in this thread is having enough cash to buy a crap load of parts to meet demand, this is exactly the wrong way to think. Ron was much closer when he talked about just in time supply, so I confident eventually they will get things together.

    The bottom line is it is tough, but I also feel these companies could be doing a better job of managing inventory.

    Tom and Ron are known for their great customer service, to me delivery time is part of good service. I think they will come around. I waited about a month and a half for a driver from Adire and it was supposed to be in stock. I guess you just live with it, but I sure as hell don't like it.
     
  16. joekilty

    joekilty Auditioning

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    Many years ago a manufacture received favorable ink in TAS on one of their preamps. That preamp was the hot ticket for the audiophile in the mid/fi genre. The demand went through the roof. Their strategy was to raise the price on all of their products. Whether this was to slow demand or to make a substantial profit is not really important. Other products on the market at that time would have easily filled that niche at roughly the same price. That company lost my business and the prices never did come down.

    I guess what I am trying to say here is; I think that SVS AV123 and other Internet distributors and direct sales have taken the right approach, selling a very good product at a fair price. For these companies to raise prices to slow down demand would get the quick fix in the short term, but would loose a great deal of Good Will that may never be recovered.

    Joe Schmidt
     
  17. DaveW

    DaveW Auditioning

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    And let's not forget, raising prices may very well encourage new competitors to enter your market.
     
  18. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Doug:

    I feel for you dude. In our hobby one of the games we all have to play is the wait and wait. As already stated you just happen to want 3 of the most popular pieces of HT gear at the same time.

    The one thing that I know is that all three of these companies are busting their asses to get their product to you.

    Parker
     
  19. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Parker, I know all that, but the 5 year old in me DOESN'T. [​IMG]
    Thanks for all of the replies people!
     
  20. SanfordL

    SanfordL Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey, like all of us, I have grumbled about waiting for my sub, but I think everyone needs to keep one thing very clear - parts are coming from other countries with regards to both the SVS and the Diva's. The way that security is right now, a truck load of amps from Canada, or a 45' Container of speakers from China are both equally likely to get stopped and searched by either US Customs or the Office of Homeland Security. In addition, the transportation industry is contracting radically as capacity has over shot demand for the last 5 years. These airlines, truckers, and ocean carriers can not operate at a loss for year after year without affecting performance and contracting capacity. PERIOD. In addition, regarding speakers from China, currently, carriers out of most all of the far east are requiring shippers to load containers at the piers in China and other origins to avoid having containers out from the pier. In the case of China, there is more traffic moving out than their are containers to carry the cargo. Hmm, could this be why there will not be any Diva's on the shores until Mid May? I don't imagine Diva's issue has as much to do with forecasting as it does with a shipping bottle neck. Unless you are willing to pay more for them to develop tremendous inventories....

    I am going to assume that some of you may not read the Journal Of Commerce, and haven't for the last year, so forgive me if I'm wrong. First, cash is tight these days for small entrepreneurs, particularly internet based ones. Banks laugh at you unless you have 10,000 orders pending and more in the pipeline and the money in the bank if you want a loan. The way that SVS handles things, i.e. not charging your credit card until your sub ships, do not lend themselves to SVS being able to shop suppliers unless another supplier is willing to give them good credit terms and the same quality product. In addition, forecasting is based on a fixed price, order number, build time, shipping schedule, so unless you are willing to see the quality of the product you are purchasing compromised, don't complain about waiting. I'm not trying to bust balls, but just giving you my extrapolations as to why things are moving slowly. SVS, Diva, and Outlaws are, I expect, all like a fine wine, worth the wait.
     

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