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Author Topic: Is the Photo Equipment Supply Chain Totally Broken?  (Read 16079 times)
PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #60 on: June 28, 2011, 06:53:54 AM »
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Let me ask you what evidence you have that before the tsunami it was a problem of "allocating flow"?

Well, obviously, there are shortages in some places and not in others. It seems the city were I live has been totally ignorant about the merits of the GH2 or the Pentax K5 - I was able to see 3 GH2 (a body and two kits) and 2 K5s in a single afternoon stroll (the K5s were even "on sale"). IMHO, just an opinion, some areas are a bit better shielded from the "Internet review rushes" than others and are therefore more immune to the acute shortage phenomenon. I talked with one of the store owners, telling him those cameras were in high demand and he looked at me as if I was crazy. Small local photography stores, with no Internet presence, non english speaking owners, maybe that explains it.
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #61 on: June 28, 2011, 03:57:35 PM »
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Just another data point ... so far as Lumix and other m43 stuff is concerned, seems readily available both on shop shelves and mail order here in Switzerland. I haven't really been looking, but I've seen Leica S2s and Pentax 645Ds in windows in recent weeks...

Maybe margins are healthier here, so finally we're getting a bit of payback :-)
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #62 on: June 28, 2011, 04:46:01 PM »
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And maybe the prices are higher?

Reminds me a of a little story - worked weekends in a camera shop in downtown Montreal in my youth to help pay for my "extras". There was a major department store just up the street always undercutting us with specials on film (remember that stuff?). So this snarky customer comes in asking for a roll of Kodachrome, I put it on the counter and tell him the price - they guy retorts that the other place sells it for less. So the shop owner, who was standing beside me, tells the fellow if that's the case he should buy it there. Customer responds "they're out of stock". Shop-owner responds with a big smile on his face: "When we're out of stock we give it away". :-) One of those good ones that comes back to mind on appropriate occasions.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #63 on: June 28, 2011, 05:08:41 PM »
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Good one, Mark!

Eric
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Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #64 on: July 03, 2011, 04:47:15 AM »
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Beautiful, expressive images by Mark Dubovoy.
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #65 on: July 03, 2011, 10:17:14 AM »
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My husband easily found GH2's in stock on the web with google search and his (with the 14-40) will be delivered here on Colorado next Thursday . Eleanor


Just another data point ... so far as Lumix and other m43 stuff is concerned, seems readily available both on shop shelves and mail order here in Switzerland. I haven't really been looking, but I've seen Leica S2s and Pentax 645Ds in windows in recent weeks...

Maybe margins are healthier here, so finally we're getting a bit of payback :-)
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #66 on: July 11, 2011, 04:58:29 PM »
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I'm in Shanghai right now and there seems to be more Canon and Nikon gear actually on the shelves in the various camera departments stores than in the whole of Australia! I also came across a Leica shop with almost everything in stock including a Noctilux and the Limited Edition M9. Full S2 outfits too, inc the 120 Macro which is almost impossible to get in Australia right now.
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Nick Rains
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #67 on: July 12, 2011, 01:42:40 PM »
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If something's broken, maybe it is not the photo equipment supply chain but the old west (including NZ and AU) market dominance. Small signs of our decadence here and there...
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Rob C
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« Reply #68 on: July 12, 2011, 03:49:56 PM »
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Spanish press today lamenting the imminent collapse of the Spanish and Italian economies... I wonder where it will end; cameras seem relatively unimportant in the face of all that.

So yep, maybe the old markets are fading fast. They did for me, so why not the rest - who's immune?

Rob C
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #69 on: July 12, 2011, 11:24:36 PM »
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Spanish press today lamenting the imminent collapse of the Spanish and Italian economies... I wonder where it will end;

Rob C

I think it will end badly, as people realize that the charades are drawing to a close and realities need to be faced. Much debt simply will not be repaid, banks, insurance companies and other investment institutions will take hair-cuts to be negotiated, the only real question for people like us being what will be the depth and character of the collateral damage. So yes, the camera business is a very small item in the context of the global situation.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
schrodingerscat
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« Reply #70 on: July 14, 2011, 11:42:37 PM »
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I thought that Mark made it quite clear that he didn't want to buy "grey market", which is what it would be if he'd purchased outside of the US.

There are even some product brands which are stopped on private import by US customs because a US entity owns the trademark.

Michael

Technically, 'grey market' are products brought into the US via a route other than the distributor. Purchasing equipment outside the distributor's territory is OK, but each company has a different policy. Some have an international warranty, which covers the items anywhere, and some will only cover warranty repairs within the territory of the distributor where the product was purchased. Many of these policies are set up by the distributors themselves.

Insofar as the impact from the quake in Japan is concerned, the main problem has been the shutting down of all nuke plants, which provide about half of the electricity for Honshu(the main island). This has necessitated rolling brown/black outs effecting the whole island. Most manufacturing facilites have recovered, they just can't operate full time.

As far as the supply chain, it seems the driving force behind just-in-time was the necessity of the lowest possible cost. This was driven by a consumer mindset of mainly making a purchasing decision based on absolute lowest price, which has also been the primary cause of the extinction of service based specialty stores. The current situation in Japan has caused many manufacturers to rethink their business model. And there seems to be many in the photo community who now wonder why there's no place to actually see a product before purchase, and no knowledgable sales people to get advice from. Stocking and running a full service photo store is very expensive, and if there's no customer base to cover operating expenses, RIP. And if there's no customer base, they will not be able to stock a complete line. So actual supply may not be the only reason for empty shelves.

And thus begins the spiral.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #71 on: July 15, 2011, 12:05:57 AM »
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Stocking and running a full service photo store is very expensive, and if there's no customer base to cover operating expenses, RIP. And if there's no customer base, they will not be able to stock a complete line. So actual supply may not be the only reason for empty shelves.


This doesn't explain why the full service retail outlets - important ones - which still operate in North America have been experiencing procurement issues.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Joe Behar
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« Reply #72 on: July 15, 2011, 03:04:54 PM »
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This doesn't explain why the full service retail outlets - important ones - which still operate in North America have been experiencing procurement issues.

Mark,

You're working on the assumption that the dealers WANT stock and they can't get it....there is another explanation.

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #73 on: July 15, 2011, 08:02:59 PM »
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Mark,

You're working on the assumption that the dealers WANT stock and they can't get it....there is another explanation.



Hi Joe,

REALLY great to hear from you! Yes, you're right - I think that's been the underlying working hypothesis throughout the thread - and indeed in the original contribution that triggered all this discussion. And what you are saying is a serious consideration. I'd like to hear more from you along those lines, but may assume you're getting at the reality that in a relatively dismal economic environment retailers are prone to minimize their risks and carrying costs by running perhaps excessively lean operations? I think we see much of that in a lot of other retailing too.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #74 on: July 16, 2011, 06:53:34 AM »
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Hi Joe,

REALLY great to hear from you! Yes, you're right - I think that's been the underlying working hypothesis throughout the thread - and indeed in the original contribution that triggered all this discussion. And what you are saying is a serious consideration. I'd like to hear more from you along those lines, but may assume you're getting at the reality that in a relatively dismal economic environment retailers are prone to minimize their risks and carrying costs by running perhaps excessively lean operations? I think we see much of that in a lot of other retailing too.
I think all retailers (perhaps with the exception of the really big ones such as B&H) are moving to just in time inventory to keep a lid on carrying costs.  This is not an issue at the consumer end where products move quite quickly but more at the high end.  In our area down here we have seen numerous upper scale audio/video retailers close up over the past three years as the market shifted quickly to the bigger retailers.  I suspect the same thing is happening in the camera area.  The metro Washington DC area is maybe close to 4 million people these days and we have one good camera retailer who have 8 retail locations.  Prices are competitive with the big Internet retailers (they do carry the Leica M9 but not the S2) and I haven't encountered any supply issues (but then I really only buy something big maybe once a year).  They do not offer much in the way of printers or paper.  This being said, the stores seem to always be busy when I stop by.
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schrodingerscat
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« Reply #75 on: July 16, 2011, 11:57:32 AM »
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This doesn't explain why the full service retail outlets - important ones - which still operate in North America have been experiencing procurement issues.

Never claimed it was the only reason, just one. The situation in Japan will have an effect on supply for some time. (As most Nikon stuff is out of Thailand, not sure why they are impacted to any great degree)

I spend two days a week at my account, one of the last remaining full service shops in Northern California. It's 'hanging on by a thread' and has a doubtful future, partly because of management problems. However...the main impediment to it's continued existence is the notion that any B&M retailer who dares try to operate at a profit is a "ripoff". The businesses who do run a successful physical presence are the ones who have learned to adapt quickly enough in the etail realm.

Every day, the scenario is much like this - Customer comes in, spends an hour or so fondling expensive gear, when given the price become indignent and proclaims at top of voice that they can get it for so-in-so online, and walks out in a huff(And of course they wanted a discount for the display product) Now spends hours online asking what lens, bag, tripod, etc. they should get 'cause there's nowhere to go and actually handle one. Often they find out too late that their "deal" is grey market and then grouse that it's unfair that there's no warranty, or can't get it fixed if a Nikon.

Bear in mind that the margins on cameras and lenses is about 10%, so the store is making about $150 on that $1500 lens...if you buy it. Gotta sell a lot of expensive stuff to keep the doors open. The margins are better on accessories and such, but not so much as the old days. The main profit in the pre digital era was film and processing(usually what made the operation worthwhile). That's gone now, so now the equipment and accessory sales are vital to survival.

So far, the working professional(or wannabe) has been a saving grace at the store. Being one of the last places with a selection of studio lighting, backdrops, and high end gear, when something breaks, or they need a mission critical piece, there's a good chance we have it. We also do inhouse repairs, and can often get their stuff back to them in a couple of days or so. And I often figure out it's pilot error, and send them off happy at no charge. Most manufacturers charge a full repair price even if no problem is found. Have seen many $100+ clean-and-checks.

When the place shutters, wonder where they plan on going.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #76 on: July 16, 2011, 07:56:37 PM »
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I think what you are saying here is all too true - especially for mid-size retailers.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
schrodingerscat
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« Reply #77 on: July 16, 2011, 11:10:16 PM »
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I think what you are saying here is all too true - especially for mid-size retailers.

Hi Mark-

Yes, really sad. I've been involved in the industry for close to 30 years, 7 of which were in a variety of retail sales situations. Watching the downward spiral over the last 10 or so years has been pretty depressing. Kinda like watching an animal chew it's own foot off to escape a trap. And it's not just the photo biz, seems to be just about everything.

There are generations growing up now who will never know what it was like to have a place where you could go and get expert advice, and walk out with a purchase that will have been made based on something other than price alone and marketing hype.

The intertoobs will never replace that, but they won't care because it's all they've known. They are the natural prey for the unscrupulous.
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