New rumor about Nikon annoucements!!

Started Aug 3, 2008 | Discussions thread
Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: New rumor about Nikon annoucements!!

hallam wrote:

Until a product is announced
and released it can be canceled.

Again, I'm not suggesting that there necessarily be a product-specific road map. I think I could do it in eight statements, none of which are product, time, or specification specific.

Its pretty easy to guess what the marketing director is asking for
from engineering/design,

Nikon is engineering driven, just like the last tech firm I worked for was engineering driven. This actually makes it MORE important to give hints and road maps, since what a customer thinks they want and is asking for may not be what you deliver.

Another major constraint is going to be inventory level.

Again, if I were suggesting that you pre-announce PRODUCTS, then inventory management would be a very big issue. But we're not talking about that. This is not about stating "In 2010 we'll announce a DX followup to the D300 called the D400." This is about saying "The D300 is not the end of the serious DX line."

If they are making 400mm f/2.8s they will make ten
thousand or so at a time before they break the jigs

Don't they wish. The current volume on the exotics runs in the several hundred a month range. With the last generation 300mm f/2.8, the figure was right around 300 a month.

that means
producing enough to supply a year or more of demand at a time.

Nikon has a long history of managing inventory stockpile and production changeover. Thailand regularly pushes higher production of a unit prior to discontinuing manufacturing it, then starts manufacturing the replacement unit prior to announce. On rare cases, like the D3/D300 intros, they didn't start production until announcement, but net effect was the same, the D2x and D200 production runs had completed. Most of the time, Nikon gets this slipstreaming right. For instance, right now D80 production has ceased and D90 production begun. The D70s ended up with extra inventory though when the D80 was announced, and it took a long time to clear it.

I have never heard a company give a major product announcement on
their financial results call.

Nikon has announced products just prior to a financial results presentation before. Usually Coolpix or consumer DSLR models. The reason why this sometimes happens is that the forward numbers give it away, anyway. You can't increase your forward projections for unit volumes without someone noticing and asking what that's all about.

The camera world seems to revolve round Photokina this time of year.

Yes, but a lot of people don't fully understand PMA and Photokina. Product announcements are generally stacked PRIOR to these trade shows for many reasons. First, there's the issue of your announcement getting buried in those of others. Indeed, if you're reading the tea leaves, you look at who announces what first and who announces what last, as that tells you something about the confidence level of making a long and lasting splash. It's a bit like scheduling your movie release during the summer. You don't want your nice little indy comedy to be squashed by a superhero blockbuster by trying to open it the same weekend. Second, there's the issue of pulling dealers to your booth. You're competing for Christmas inventory dollars. By the time Mr. or Ms. Dealer arrives at the show, they already have a pretty good idea of how they'll spend their time and dollars, the show is just closing the deal.

There is one other factor, and that is that companies that sell more
product can afford more resources for design and production. Nikon
has a big advantage over Canon here as they are only in the
camera/lens business.

Uh, no to both thoughts. Nikon is not just a camera/lens company. And Canon's imaging division is run pretty independently and has plenty of resources for design and production, indeed, probably more than Nikon imaging does.

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Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (18 and counting)
http://www.bythom.com

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