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02-20-2008, 07:09 AM   #1
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Pentax baffles me

I'm baffled by Pentax's manufacturing. I have a question for any of you that have worked in or been connected with any type of manufacturing. What would you think if a manufacturer decided not to ship their major product for 90 days? That's 25% of your yearly production. I've always found it a little hard to sell out of an empty wagon. The only logic I can come up with is they expect to sell so many of the new bodies in the next 9 months they need the 3 months of extra production to meet the demand because of lack of production facilities. That is a very risky proposition if that is what they are doing.

I've been around a lot of manufacturers in the past and have never seen anybody take this approach before. I'd love to know what the truth is behind their reasoning.

Regards,

Ken

02-20-2008, 07:16 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
I'm baffled by Pentax's manufacturing. I have a question for any of you that have worked in or been connected with any type of manufacturing. What would you think if a manufacturer decided not to ship their major product for 90 days? That's 25% of your yearly production. I've always found it a little hard to sell out of an empty wagon. The only logic I can come up with is they expect to sell so many of the new bodies in the next 9 months they need the 3 months of extra production to meet the demand because of lack of production facilities. That is a very risky proposition if that is what they are doing.

I've been around a lot of manufacturers in the past and have never seen anybody take this approach before. I'd love to know what the truth is behind their reasoning.

Regards,

Ken
What are you talking about?

K20? DA* lense? ...?
02-20-2008, 07:58 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by lol101 Quote
What are you talking about?

K20? DA* lense? ...?
K20D and K200D bodies. They stopped manufacturing the k10D and k10D back in early December.
02-20-2008, 08:03 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
K20D and K200D bodies. They stopped manufacturing the k10D and k10D back in early December.
It is strange -- the K20D and K200D aren't so hugely different that I'd think it'd take so long to gear up for the new model. But like you, I don't actually know anything about the process.

02-20-2008, 08:06 AM   #5
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if its the same factory I assume some changes need to be made. furthermore I assume they will make a decent number of units before they send them out, so there is plenty of available bodies when they launch, there are a lot of stores that need units.
02-20-2008, 08:32 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
It is strange -- the K20D and K200D aren't so hugely different that I'd think it'd take so long to gear up for the new model. But like you, I don't actually know anything about the process.
Except that the imaging electronics are entirely different K10==>K20 and K100==>K200.

They also might want to optimize a few thing regarding their process (eg "inclined VF", "FF/BF check" or even overall quality check): not a bad idea if you ask me.
02-20-2008, 08:45 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
It is strange -- the K20D and K200D aren't so hugely different that I'd think it'd take so long to gear up for the new model. But like you, I don't actually know anything about the process.
The K200d is weather sealed, so it's really new, from a manufacturing point of view.

Btw, even Nikon have several months of delay between announcment and effective spreading...must be something with this particular industry...
02-20-2008, 09:16 AM   #8
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When Auto mfg's bring out a new model there can be a 12-18 month shutdown at the particular assembly plant where the new model is to be built. this is to re-tool and arange everything in a very large building. of course they have the advantage of producing many different models in many different assembly plants.
I would be nice if Pentax had mulitple assembly locations for the production of their DSLR's , but I'm guessing they don't.
They have to estimate sales of existing cameras (K100D, K10D) and build an inventory that will just slightly exceed demand between the time they end manufacturing on the old model, and the time when the new model is ready to ship.
So you see the Wagon should never be "Empty".
I work for An electric motor manufacturer "Baldor-Reliance-Dodge" and since our products are not nearly as complex as cameras or autos we, work to deliver any one of over 5,000 motors with just a 2 week lead time. They call it "flex flow" Manufacturing. As an employee I can tell you it can be a real Pain in the neck working in this kind of an environment, but Having a short lead time on specialty product is what helps set us apart from the competition.

02-20-2008, 10:16 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Levi Quote
When Auto mfg's bring out a new model there can be a 12-18 month shutdown at the particular assembly plant where the new model is to be built. this is to re-tool and arange everything in a very large building. of course they have the advantage of producing many different models in many different assembly plants.
I would be nice if Pentax had mulitple assembly locations for the production of their DSLR's , but I'm guessing they don't.
They have to estimate sales of existing cameras (K100D, K10D) and build an inventory that will just slightly exceed demand between the time they end manufacturing on the old model, and the time when the new model is ready to ship.
So you see the Wagon should never be "Empty".
I work for An electric motor manufacturer "Baldor-Reliance-Dodge" and since our products are not nearly as complex as cameras or autos we, work to deliver any one of over 5,000 motors with just a 2 week lead time. They call it "flex flow" Manufacturing. As an employee I can tell you it can be a real Pain in the neck working in this kind of an environment, but Having a short lead time on specialty product is what helps set us apart from the competition.
Levi,

Most Auto plants make the turn around from one model to the next in 2 weeks, or at least that is what they did back in Detroit when I was calling on them. With new processes like "Just in time" and "Flex flow" that time should be even faster. The K20D isn't that much different than the K10D so setting up a new line can't be the reason.

How would your management react if they didn't have any motors to ship for 90 days?
02-20-2008, 11:05 AM   #10
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Pentax sucks at marketing and manufacturing, and quality control (with DA* 16-50, apparently), but they're good at... the other things...?
02-20-2008, 11:19 AM   #11
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Apparently they had their latest bodies painted in China. They had to reject the last lot because the cameras weighed in at 8lbs! Something to do with lead I guess.



J/K


I know...go away.
02-20-2008, 12:27 PM   #12
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It's obvious they couldn't ship before teh date they do because if they could, they would have.

They're not delaying the shipping by 90 days, they're announcing it 90 days early.
02-20-2008, 01:07 PM   #13
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This is the same as the other manufacturers, although they experience this problem with other products than the camera bodies themselves.

When Cannon released their new extention cord (oc-e3) to accomodate the new water-proofed flash, the old extention cord was not available for 2 months because they ran out of stock before the new one was ready for shipping.

This will (most likely) never happen to their bodies, because they produce them in such numbers that they would have the old model in stock for half a year after a new model is released.

They can do this because they produce such large amounts. Production costs are so low that a couple of months worth of cameras produced is nothing to keep in stock while the new model is in production. They also price their new models so high that continuing to sell the old model with some rebates is no big deal to them. If they lose money now, they will probably get them back on lens and accessories sales.

So... Pentax is not huge like Cannon, what else is new?
02-20-2008, 01:08 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom M Quote
It's obvious they couldn't ship before teh date they do because if they could, they would have.

They're not delaying the shipping by 90 days, they're announcing it 90 days early.
The point is they stopped making the K10D and K100D in December. What have they been doing since?
02-20-2008, 01:23 PM   #15
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What have they been doing?

QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
The point is they stopped making the K10D and K100D in December. What have they been doing since?
Probably re-training the assembly workers to build the new cameras. Then, they probably make a few runs, just for practice, that may never be sold. In any event, the first week or so of production is most likely very slow, with frequent quality control checks.

Once things are going smoothly, they can begin production in earnest. They've probably been going full blast since early January, in order to build up enough stock that they can get reasonable initial supplies to all their major markets. The dealers in Germany would be very upset if the dealers in France got shipments of K20D's, while the Germans got nothing or very little. Multiply this by all the markets they sell in, and they need to have quite a few cameras when they begin shipping.

Also, the cameras are probably shipped in containers that travel by sea. It can take a week or two for a freighter to get from Japan (or the Phillipines) to Europe and/or North America. So, I would guess that the first batch of cameras is already enroute to the various markets.
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