Originally Posted by jc-ski
I'm curious to what (if any) degree manufacturers have the ability to do "just in time" ski production. Do the big ones typically guestimate market needs and produce all their skis ahead of a season, or do a healthy run up front and then produce more as the season goes on, or???
On the just in time thing.....almost not at all. Forecasting production is like throwing darts in a dark room with a blindfold on. In other words, sometimes you hit, usually you miss. How badly you miss determines the amount of carryover hence > closeouts hence > consumer/web deals.
It goes like this......................
- Product line is finalized in say September-October(ish) of 2010 for the 2011-12 lineups
- Factories start sample production late October-November
- Samples shipped early December
- Trade shows/on snow intros start late December into January.
- Distributor places RGP #1 (first order) with Factory late January this is assumed to be 30% of the total. Factory starts production
- Distributor places RGP #2 (2nd order) with factory after trade intros. Usually by late Feb-early March (another 40-50%)
- Distributor places RGP #3 (3rd order) Usually by April 1-15th depending on the factory. This is the final order for production.
- Factory will start to ship to Distributors as early as May 1 as dealer shipments may start as soon as July 1.
- Factory will complete RGP #3 around mid-late July
- Europe takes August off..................................................
- Factories come back to work in Sept just in time to start the cycle again.
There is little time within this cycle to go back and produce skis from the previous cycle as the factories must continually move on. In years past, the Distributors have been either overly optimistic or they have made conscious decisions to overproduce in order to sell more off price goods. These forecasting errors or strategies (depending on how you look at it) have caused oversupply for some years now and that is what the industry is dabbling with changing.