Just In Time

J.I.T--Just In Time inventory management is both sinking and saving the golf industry--kind of like a staying afloat on a hollow log. It seems like every year there are major shortages of hot products and the explanation is \"We didn\'t anticipate demand.\"

About the only golf products made in the USA are the balls and Ping\'s iron heads. True Temper makes its high end shafts here and there are probably other items but it\'s limited. This means that everything being made in Asia (mostly China) is timed to ship, assemble and distribute to coincide with some algorithm forecasting demand.

Maybe this system works for OEM fasteners but it sure flunks out for FT-3 drivers. Callaway has had the worst delivery schedule of this product since it introduced the Big Bertha driver back in the early \'80\'s. The Big Bertha was worse--six to eight months back ordered, but it was a breakthru product--like the Ping eye2 irons, which were also very hard to get in any quantity.

Unlike the original Big Bertha driver, the FT-3 is merely hard to get and this is NOT a demand issue. We haven\'t gotten ten of them all season and completely missed out the first tiny wave of them in mid-July. (Charlie was so angry with the Callaway rep about this that he wouldn\'t order another stock item until a new rep came on board).

A customer came by the other day looking at Callaway clubs. He hasn\'t bought anything new in eight years, yet he\'d heard that you can\'t get Callaway product. (He ended up buying a used set of Fusion irons that he liked as is).

Do other retailers have this problem? Do other industries mismanage product delivery like this? Should we just expect delays, backorders, production snafus? Our customers have been pretty great about it all but who knows what they\'ll do. Probably get their FT-3 on eBay.

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