Misstep

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  • Updated 5 years ago
While I am a happy customer and have jumped on the 6300 bandwagon, I am puzzled by the recent product introduction. Kudos for having the 6300 immediately available upon product release, but the fact that they were basically out of stock before Dayton even began and had to do some last minute shuffling in order to make sure a few were available at the show is puzzling. Either they are under capitalized, did a poor job of forecasting demand, or are gun shy. Knowing of course that hind sight is 20/20, it really was not that difficult to speculate that demand would be high given the price point and market trends. I'm also sure that Flex is painfully aware that they could have done better. In any event, I am happy for them and wish them continued success. There are far worse problems that they could have endured, such as the 6700,6500 introduction.
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James Kirk

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Posted 5 years ago

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Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

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Official Response
We just missed the mark on demand.  While we believed that the FLEX-6300 would be well received, it's always a concern that we are "drinking the Kool-Aid" (believing that our product would be better received than reality).  We sold our first quarters' predicted volume in a week-and-a-half so we really missed the mark.  

We put a large number of radios on a truck headed to Dayton the week before Dayton and then with all of the orders realized that we were in the unenviable position of being able to offer radios over the counter at Dayton while we could not fulfill all the orders placed online earlier.  This didn't seem fair to those that ordered online even though it was a forecasting issue on our side and we didn't foresee what would happen.  To "right this wrong" we made a decision to ship a number of radios that we had sent to Dayton to customers that had ordered online.  It was quite the logistical challenge, but we managed to ship radios from Dayton direct to customers that had ordered online before Dayton.  If you received you radio this week and it was sent from Dayton, this is why.

We are now working to pull up the production schedule as much as we can including rushing component delivery at additional cost.  We'd love to be perfect at forecasting, but it's hard to know how well a brand-new product will be received.  We certainly didn't want to join the ranks of electronic companies with famous overestimations of demand although this didn't occur to us while we were forecasting ;-)  See Atari video game burial 
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Bill W2PKY

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After hanging around Tim for an hour at Dayton I could not resist taking delivery of a 6300 OTC. Glad FLEX  had some product there to sell. Saw others walking away with a box now and then while watching demos of the 6300. Seemed to be a lot of interest in the SDR format. Wonder if one of the big 3 will introduce a competing product. As for selling out, even Apple has run out of product on the first day of a launch. FLEX can only have smiles on their face over the success of this product.
Can't wait to makes some contacts.

73;

Bill W2PKY
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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We do need to remember that few things in economics fully scale upwards & downwards, and the economist always needs to have qualifiers, small print and exceptions to everything they say.

Product launches are a special case as well.

The limited dataset, lack of repeatability, and a hundred other factors come into play.  Expect someone could work it up into a PhD thesis, but doubt a useful predictive tool would be the result.

Again congratulations to FRS for blowing away their own forecast, to all the new 6300 owners (and order holders) and to this community for its participation.

I'll cover the first round if we ever get a chance to discuss the economic forecasting of ham radio sales in the most appropriate place - a watering hole.

73

Steve

K9ZW

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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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You can see the irony in someone  trying to call out the Flex crew for subversive business practices when they are hiding their own identity by not supplying their name and callsign.
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Mike K5UX

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Neal, well said.  I agree 100% with your comment.
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K5FM

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He was questioned why Flex did not have optimum 6300 stock levels for Dayton, and  provided three possible reasons, of which one was correct, and the others perfectly reasonable and common for businesses with new product offerings, what  I fail to see is  any accusation of subversive business practices. 
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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I enjoy watching college football on TV.  It sure is easy to quarterback the play after you see the instant replay.  I never played football but even I can see what the quarterback should have done after the play is over.

We made what we thought was an optimistic but sane forecast and we were wrong on the low side.  
In my career, I have been wrong on the high side and the low side of the forecast and rarely dead on.  I can tell you it is much more unpleasant to forecast too high. We are reasonably good at forecasting run rate business but it is almost impossible to predict early demand on a new product announcement.  

Historically, we pre-announced our products and took orders ahead of production.  This is what most ham radio manufacturers do when they announce new transceivers.  This is a great help to the manufacturer in planning the first production runs so that you can hit pretty much dead on.  However, all customers would have to wait usually three months or more to get their radio under the pre-announcement scenario. This is the first time we have announced and shipped at the same time in our 11 year history.  Also, it appears we hit a sweet spot in the market.  

We are making good progress in pulling in our foretasted production from June and July.  However, that will leave us a gap until we can pull in all the long lead materials for the next production run. We will be flying in the custom components to improved the schedule as best we can.  

Thanks to all for your orders and patience as we catch up.

73, Gerald

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