Plan to buy an iPhone June 29? "Undoubtedly there will be shortages"

Plan to buy an iPhone June 29? "Undoubtedly there will be shortages"

Summary: Are you planning to camp out at an Apple or AT&T Wireless store on June 29 for your iPhone? Or, are you warming up your thumb to hit "refresh" if you get timed out on the Apple Store site?

TOPICS: iPhone, Mobility

Are you planning to camp out at an Apple or AT&T Wireless store on June 29 for your iPhone? Or, are you warming up your thumb to hit "refresh" if you get timed out on the Apple Store site?

Well get ready for some painful moments on June 29 and up o eight weeks after.

It's not just me who is saying this.

I've just heard back from one of the world's top experts in the arcane but vital field of Supply Chain Management. That'd be Simon Croom, Ph.D., executive director of the Supply Chain Management Institute at the University of San Diego.

Not only does Croom teach and research this stuff. He even has a Supply Chain Blog here.

First of all, I should describe what supply chain management entails.

Supply chain management is one of the non-glamorous but necessary aspects of product marketing.  These processes entail everything from ensuring that there are enough supplies of a given product, and these products reach retail, wholesale and online distribution channels on time and in a manner consistent with customer demand.Given the almost universal assumption that the huge demand for the Apple iPhone will be pretty darn close to an ultimate test for the supply chain management skills of Apple and AT&T, Croom doesn't sound like he would be willing to bet on everything going smoothly.

Here's what Croom told me in an email earlier this morning:

My view about the fulfillment and supply chain challenges of the iPhone are as follows:

Launching any product, especially one so hyped, means that the main task is ensuring sufficient supplies are available across the US market on launch. Undoubtedly there will be shortages, service issues and challenges for call centers set upto support users. Depending on reliability of the product, there may also be a rapid ramp up in returns and warranty claims. Using a global supply chain will likely cause more of a problem 4 – 8 weeks into the ‘first season’ of the launch.

Pressure will also be felt for AT&T in terms of sales support – in particular trade ins, impact on the sales of other phones and customer’s expectations from a ‘revolutionary’ new product.

The bottom line is that the launch of the iPhone is a high risk supply chain challenge.

Prof. Croom makes several persuasive arguments. It is hard to find fault with any of them.

Topics: iPhone, Mobility

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  • Message has been deleted.

    • Oh look even the zealot wants an iPhone .

      After all the times you bash Apple's Safari, iTunes, iPhone, QuickTime, & Mac OS X , I have to wonder if you are serious . Well I'm done wondering , I know you aren't going to get an iPhone . You're just saying it so you won't seem like a MS ZEALOT . The same way Ye is always bashing Apple and Ye claims to own a MacBook Pro . There is something sad to be said about you MS Zealots, but I'm not even going to bother .
      • You are in trouble

        You just lost your sense of humor!
        • That is not quite true

          One must first have something in order to lose it.

          • Zing!!! <nt>

            Hallowed are the Ori
  • Credible sources

    Businessweek Magazine is reporting that there will be 3 million iPhones available at launch. Do you really think Apple will sell more than that in the first week?
    tic swayback
    • I'd take $10 action on that

      Honestly, I think that they will. I won't be one of them, but with the hype, I think they will sell like hot-dogs.

      • I thought that it was hot [b]cakes[/b]

        [i]...sell like hot-dogs.[/i]

        Spoon Jabber
        • LOL

          meant to add "at the ballpark", you are right. Now get that nose to the grindstone and get back to work. :D

  • Who would buy first version?

    Who, other than reviewers, gadget geeks, and fools, would buy the 1.0 version? I plan to wait until the "early adopters" have torn out their hair, and Apple has fixed all the bugs.
    • People who need phones

      My Nokia died 2 months ago. I'm limping along on a Sony Ericsson that's 6 years old. I need a new phone pronto. May not buy an iPhone, I'll wait for the reviews to come out, but I've been holding off until it was an option before buying. I'm sure there are many in my boat.
      tic swayback
      • and/or iPods

        If you are in the market for a new iPod, and like you, your phone is boring, old, limited, uncool, you might be waiting for an iPhone as a replacement.

  • Shortages or surplus

    Shortages? Apple is apparently banking on everyone dropping their existing cell phone provider and service plan to shell out big money for a phone and even more for the monthly service. As others have pointed out supporting this phone monthly is not going to be cheap. I for one would love to have the Iphone based on the stated capabilities. I won't be in that initial line though because I don't want to pay more for cell phone service than I do currently for the same capabilities. EDGE service is slower than the competitors broadband service and I for one don't want to step back in time to get a slower connection.

    I think if everyone seriously reviews the cell phone plans associated with this phone there will be no shortages and no supply chain problems.
  • I-Phone not all that cool

    Why would anyone buy a device that has a permanent battery built in? I guess all you iPod owners would disagree, but if I am ever going to pony up 500-600 buck for a phone, it darn well better have a user replaceable battery. I keep my devices for a long time (relatively speaking) 4+ years. My estimate is the i-phone's built in battery will likely fail after 2.5 years of regular charging and discharge. What a waste of money and a real insult to the environment.
    • iPod battery can be changed

      They even sell kits to do it yourself, it isn't difficult at all. Basically pry the cover off of the back, change battery, snap cover on, done.

      The newer battery types like lithium ion can last for many years and don't have the memory issues of the older nickel cadmium types.

      I have a creative music player going on 4 years and the L-ion battery is still like new with the same charge life. My iPod, maybe only a year with no battery trouble.

      I don't know about the iPhone, but surely someone will sell a kit for battery replacement as they have for other devices..........maybe? The only concern that I have with the L-ion battery is the potential for exploding, that isn't exactly a common thing, but does happen.
      Spoon Jabber