why the slow trickle of lenses?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by roger_michel, May 22, 2007.

  1. just when people want to buy leica lenses (or, perhaps, because some few people
    are buying leica lenses) they are suddenly in incredibly short supply. the tri-
    elmar wides are unobtainable. none of the dealers in my area have seen new
    28/2.8s since before xmas, and rich pinto told me it is a multi-month wait for
    nocts. i tried hald a dozen ADs before giving up on finding a new 21 asph,
    finally settling on a mint used example (leica won't see any of those $$$).
    this seems like realy poor planning. couldn't someone in solms have predicted
    a rush on lenses, especially wides, once the M8 came out? by the time leica
    gets lenses in the pipeline, everyone will have invested in ZM and voigt
    lenses -- and have realized they are mighty fine even if not built to leica
    specs. what gives leica??
     
  2. I recently received by 28/2.8 ASPH from Leica's 30%-off program. I ordered it in late January or early February. They had a shipment (including mine) come in around Friday, 5/11, but I haven't noticed any go up for sale on dealers' websites. Maybe they have waiting lists siphoning them all off.

    Leica USA lost my 50/1.4 ASPH BP, and now I am on a waiting list for any version that becomes available. It took four months for the refund from Leica, and since then I have seen all versions for sale and have missed out on getting one in the foreseeable future.
     
  3. This is humourous. By co-incidence I had our local Leica rep in my office not more than 20 minutes ago and this very issue came up. Leica has been building, of late, just as many lenses as they always have. Even though you read throughout this site how bad the M8 is, it has sold very well, and many of these cameras have sold to new Leica users...users that don't have lenses. Leica doesn't have lenses at the moment because they have sold them all. The humourous part (IMO) is that when there is lots of Leica stock around people complain that the company is in trouble because they aren't selling product...now they are and people are complaining that they can't supply demand.
     
  4. Leica has had a self-destruct button for years. Ironically, when they push it (and they push it often), they manage to survive. I wonder though, how much longer their luck will hold out.

    If there is a master plan at Leica I can't figure it out.
     
  5. Bill, your post would have been more appropriate before Bob's post, rather than after.
     
  6. Which is another way of saying that finally they've managed to stimulate demand beyond their (perhaps modest) supply capacity. As long as customers stay on board, there is hope then.
     
  7. Andre: Yes, perhaps. But I was typing my message at the same time Bob posted his rather enlightening remarks. In any case IMHO, the M8 alone couldn't possibly have accounted for all of Leica's current backlog.
     
  8. If there is a master plan at Leica I can't figure it out
    I think it's something like: invest in the development of new products; invigorate their stagnant market by winning new customers; explore new market segments; and sell as much product as the manufacturing process and retail channels can cope with. They'll know the master plan is working when demand far outstrips supply, and there are long waiting lists for product lines that a few years ago were stockpiled and unsold. :)
     
  9. Leica makes lenses in batches as needed, usually once a year. If they sell out early they will make a bigger batch next time so they don`t run out.

    Ideally they should sell the last of last years batch run as soon as the lasest ones arrive. It is called inventory management and optimising lot size.

    Now if demand is higher than forecast, there will be shortages. Now the problem is the production CAPACITY to increase lot sizing. If they buy more machines and hire more people and demand falls off, that is also a problem. You won`t see it, but the balance sheet will show it.
     
  10. This is the best news I've heard about Leica in a long, long time. In fact, almost the ONLY good news.<P>Now, when are they going to rip that damn silly filter out, and make a B&W only M8(B)?
     
  11. Then, there is the steady decline in the value of the US$. (Or, foreign precision products as a hedge against a declining dollar.)
     
  12. I spoke with Tony Rose (popflash.photo) this afternoon and he seems to agree with the idea that the current lens backlog at Leica was created due to higher than anticipated M8 sales.

    Apparently there are enough M8 buyers (either new or returning to Leica) to cause the backlog.
     
  13. Let's hope this doesn't give Leica's directors the idea to bump the prices up even higher.

    Leica make very fine cameras and lenses, but management issues like this crop up all the
    time.
     
  14. It is amazing that so many of the denizens of this forum seem to know more about the management of Leica than do the managers themselves, notwithstanding that Leitz/Leica have managed to dominate the 35mm niche market for well over three-quarters of a century in spite of at least three changes in corporate structure and moving of their production facilities! Of course the world has never been totally bereft of 'Monday morning quarterbacks', but this particular enterprise seems to have attracted more than their usual share! Last year they were all cursing Hermes, then the lateness of the M8, next its operation, and now its shortage. Some self-appointed critics are hard to please!
     
  15. Faulty production forecasting and failure to plan for stepped up customer demand is not necessarily limited to the manufacture of premium cameras.

    In my business, the heavy duty truck industry, four or five years ago several major truck makers had factory lots full of incomplete trucks, some pushed out doors to wait for a full complement of tires or other major components to make them ready to ship to the dealers. Some trucks sat for a month or longer waiting so they could be completed and shipped. Industry wide, there just wasn't enough assembly components available to build all the trucks they had orders for.

    You would think that with just-in-time component deliveries from the major suppliers they would have everything on hand to build a truck when scheduled...not so. Industry shortages of bearings, wheels, tires you name it causes the same questions to arise - why a major truck manufacturer can't gauge demand over a longer period of time and plan their assembly needs and output accordingly.

    I guess the world is not perfect, in spite of all the experts.
     
  16. ex perts are drips under pressure
     
  17. you just don't understand how big this gaffe is. leica could have gauged the demand for
    the M8 very easily just by looking at the paid preorders. and they had this info almost a
    year in advance. they should have anticipated high demand for wide lenses, including the
    wide tri-elmar THEY MADE FOR THE M8, and built up stocks to meet the demand. they are
    now losing a lot of sales -- forever. people's desire for the gear is at its greatest when
    they are in the store, buying the camera. six months later, there will be lots of
    distractions. they likely also (like me) will have bought used or bought a zeiss or
    voigtlander lens that they will be too lazy to replace. when you factor in the fact that
    lenses have almost TWICE the profit margin of the bodies, you realize what a serious blow
    this is for leica. i can't tell you how the reps and dealers are screaming about this.
    meanwhile, zeiss keeps cranking out the 21s. and they just got into the RF business
    yesterday!!

    sure you can say that this is good news for leica, but we'll see. lots of restaurants seem
    busy but don't make any money. in any event, even if leica shows a little profit, they could
    have showed a LOT more profit by planning ahead a little. this M8 moment could have
    been huge for them. one local dealer told me has 20 people on a list for tri-elmar wides
    and half a dozen people on a list for nocts. that's $150K right there, two lenses and one
    dealer. and that's just the tip of the iceberg. i really want to see leica succeed, but they
    can't keep shooting themselves in the foot.

    end of rant.
     
  18. They're betting that they have a captive market, low switching risk, and a relatively long product cycle for a digital camera. They might be right given the high level of total investment required for the M8 camera system. Brian.
     
  19. See? I told you so!
     
  20. but i think there is a high switching risk. there are more alternatives to leica glass than ever!
    and the product cycle won't be long relative to Ms of the past. my god, the typical product
    cycle of a digital platform is 6 mos. even if leica does 5 times better, they still will have lost a
    ton of money. and then there is the fact that their short term performance is crucial. if they
    don't show a profit soon, they'll be making nothing but binoculars -- at least if you believe
    the reports thatcome out of the board meetings.
     
  21. It is better to have high demand and be out of product than to have low demand as has been the case before the M8.

    "It may be "new" customers creating demand?" Without statistical data I'd rather doubt this notion. I don't see anyone going into an unproven M8 as a first buy. More likely, the over-whelming majority of M8 buyers are the guys that sold off their M6s. As you know, the M8 requires a new lens strategy because of the sensor gizmo and that is why you're seeing increased lens sales.
     
  22. Roger hit many good points but part of the issue is the M8 sold more than there pre-
    orders and it really comes down to supply and demand and at the moment there is a huge
    demand and not enough supply. But not knowing exactly how well the M8 would do i
    would bet Leica just stayed there normal course on lens building. If they built too much
    than they would be sitting on it. Any modern manufacturing plant works much differntly
    than in the past and do not stock pile anymore and inventory control is very tight. Of
    course this good and bad for leica but from a revenue standpoint and cash flow they
    rather have it this way than sitting on all there inventory. For that you can't blame them
    but it . Also points of new owners that never had leica m systems it is also very true many
    are new to the M system and that actually includes myself which came from canon , Nikon
    and leica R DMR setups and i have 10 Leica lenses and yes i am a pig on that but most new
    users if you average it all out most likely bought at least 2 new leica lenses. That is a
    pretty big number. And if you look at e-bay nd used stores today there are very few
    modern lenses out there in bulk. So new is the only way to go and even CV lenses are
    becoming very hard to get new or used like the CV 15mm you just can't find one new or
    used. Overall it is great for leica but hard on the consumer looking to make a purchase.
    Hell it could be worse i guess
     
  23. The Leica rep was in a store a couple of weeks ago and had to show the cameras with Zeiss lenses. Leica did not have any lenses to give the rep, with everything on backorder.....
     
  24. they cannot afford to be conservative and miss out on opportunities like this. the M8 was a make or break camera for leica. if it failed/fails, the company would/will not be around in a few years. they should have counted on success. there was no upside to hedging their bets.

    if they turn this situation around in six months, OK. however, if people still can't get lenses a year from now, it will spell disaster IMO.

    the fact that even the reps don't have display lenses and have to show people their cameras with aftermarket lenses -- when lenses are where leica makes the real money -- shows just how bad this situation is for leica.
     
  25. I have no patience with Leica's troubles or anyone else's.

    I want my Noctilux, my Tri-Elmers, and my 28mm ASPH and I want them all right now please.

    My only complaint about immediate gratification is that it tends to take so long.

    I registered for my IR filters two weeks ago. Like they have to make the glass? Hello?

    Don't get me going about how long C1 makes me wait to convert DNG's...
     
  26. Leica made the mistake of reading the caustic criticism from this forum and thinking few M8s would would be sold,so why should they make extra lenses. So this proves they take us seriously? What does the panel think?
     
  27. I have some incredible news. Leica reps work for Leica not for dealers. They get the spiel
    from Leica and deliver it to dealers. They are paid salesmen with the gift of delivering
    information in such a way that it convinces others. Maybe their story is true...and maybe it
    isn't. I suspect it is true, but then it becomes a matter of poor management if there is a
    shortage. Can't have it both ways.
     
  28. Just out of curiousity, can someone point to a company that gets it right every time in terms
    of supply meeting demand? Never has a shortage? Never has an oversupply?

    Sony is a mess. Canon can't deliver IdIII's, and is way behind on the IDsIII (at least according
    to the schedule of the internet 'experts' who were sure 22Mpixels would be the 'standard' by
    PMA 2006 - now I hear "August 2007"). Apple has been all over the map over the years.

    Not to dump on or defend any of those companies - or Leica. But if it's really so easy to hit
    the mark all the time - where's the beef?
     
  29. Maybe Leica is developing a new line of fast 1.33 crop dx prime lenses. (kidding)

    Hey, wait a minute, that might be a great thing. At least I wish Nikon would do it.
     
  30. Bob - that is exactly what my information is. Leitz are working flat out in all areas. Very good news unless you are waiting for a lens.
     
  31. If you buy a new Ferrari on spec it may take up to one year for delivery. There seems to be no shortage of buyers.
     
  32. Of course this never happens with the big guys.

    Take Nikon, for instance. The 18 - 200mm VR Nikkor zoom lens was introduced in 2005. Motor on over to your local camera store and find one -- not packaged as a kit with a camera you don't want (or already own), just the lens.

    Go on. I dare ya. :)

    At a recent 'demo day' at a large and reputable dealer in my area, I asked the Nikon rep about that. He shook his head and laughed.
     

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