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Bug Businesses The Almighty Buck Entertainment

Netflix Woes Mean a Gap In Shipments 239

Loopback writes "It appears that I'm not the only one waiting for my NetFlix movies. It seems they are being bitten in the rear by their home-grown proprietary inventory management system. 'Netflix has been facing shipping delays and outages in its distribution centers for the last two days and is fumbling to find a fix. The tab is roughly $1.8 million to $3.6 million in revenue a day.'"
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Netflix Woes Mean a Gap In Shipments

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  • by nazanne ( 926750 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @07:58PM (#24608535)
    I shipped back two DVDs on Tuesday then got the notice they were received on Wednesday. Today (Thursday) I got the notice from Netflix that shipments might be delayed, but I also received two DVDs in the mail (the correct DVDs that were next in my queue). What I did not get was the normal notice from Netflix that they had shipped me anything.
    • by rho ( 6063 )

      Yeah, I caught one about at the beginning of the problem, now I'm waiting.

      However, I got an email saying they were working on it--which I believe--and that they'll credit my account--which I believe. All in all, Netflix does a great job, and stands behind their service to the best of their ability. I don't have any complaints.

  • Relative Woes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nymz ( 905908 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @08:07PM (#24608635) Journal
    Haven't we all thought, while at work, how in the hell can this company stay in business when it is run so poorly? Well, all that is necessary in order to stay in business, is to run it less poorly than competitors. And then you imagine how other companies could be worse, and you shudder.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      Eh. The company I was working for until last week crashed into a brick wall and exploded. Basically they ran out of money to pay their employees and did an 80% layoff.

      Still haven't been paid for the last few weeks of work. I'm trying to decide if the 20% left are better or worse off. At least I am collecting unemployment. They are working without pay.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This is actually a very common phenomena.

      The reality is ALL companies run like shit. They really do. People just have this weird ideal put into their head that business moves at the speed of light and everyone in the big tall building is working their ass off to get it done, until you reach the bottom of the food chain and then it's practically welfare.

      This is just shit butt fuck all wrong.

      Businesses often reach into their credit lines to get over the non productive periods and then pay it back when they ge

  • by ralphdaugherty ( 225648 ) <ralph@ee.net> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @08:15PM (#24608729) Homepage

    I see that ZDnet's Larry Zignan concluded from a 2004 Baseline article that Netflix had startup problems for their homegrown business systems, but he apparently misread the article. It says the system was reworked in 2000, 2002, etc. as customers grew to 1.5 million, but tha's not startup problems, that's keeping with massive growth you wouldn't be able to get and handle if you had startup problems.


  • Good timing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by teslatug ( 543527 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @08:15PM (#24608733)
    Actually this is the best time to have this problem. I haven't even watched the movies I have at home due to the Olympics.
  • I write inventory and supply chain management software! Gives me a job!

  • ... they were using a Beowulf Cluster.

  • by CoughDropAddict ( 40792 ) * on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:08PM (#24609799) Homepage

    It seems they are being bitten in the rear by their home-grown proprietary inventory management system.

    Because definitely if they had used another company's product or something open source, it could never have broken. Clearly being "home-grown" and "proprietary" is the part that caused the problem.

    • by Gazzonyx ( 982402 ) <scott DOT lovenberg AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 15, 2008 @12:00AM (#24610661)
      No, the problem is that outside of their company, no one has any idea of how the thing works. They can't bring in a consultant, and there isn't anyone to turn to for advice. Even if they hired a small team of talented professionals to help them, that team would still need plenty of time to get up to speed on the whole system.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The fact that conslutants can't profiteer off of organization X is either a sign that something is terribly wrong with organization X --- or something is terribly right.

        Having seen mosquitos in action, I would tend toward the latter explanation.

      • I don't see how this is any different than using a third party product. Netflix surely has a good engineering team that is thoroughly familiar with the system. If the system was similarly broken and it was provided by a third party then you'd just have that company's engineering team working on it.

        Where's the disadvantage? (if anything, the fact that the engineers work for netflix probably motivates them to fix it faster since it's their own company's ass on the line)

        By the way, I got my DVDs right on sch

  • Kinda off topic, but ***** I hate Blockbuster. Anyone know if there are any GOOD (as in price and service) Netflix-like services in Canada yet?
  • What do you mean? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NerveGas ( 168686 ) on Friday August 15, 2008 @12:37AM (#24610925)

    Netflix charges by the month, not by the disc. Unless they're going to offer a refund, they won't lose any revenue, excepting disgruntled customers who leave.

    In fact... since they aren't paying postage, they could actually be saving money, particularly if they told their employees "Too bad, don't clock in for the next few days."

  • I've had 3 different managers lately explaining that their asset databases are actually Excel spreadsheets, and I've been shuddering as they hit the 65,000 entry limit.
  • by Kreplock ( 1088483 ) on Friday August 15, 2008 @05:02AM (#24612201)

    Their inventory seems fine to me - I got Roadhouse, Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot, and Battlefield Earth right on time.

  • Oh, they tried to warn us disaster would strike if they could not be rid of user queues - and now doom is upon us all! Or at least slight shipping delays! Curse the day I did tear my queue apart into multiple convenient streams!

  • After being screwed by Blockbuster for years over late fees and going into stores to find the shelf where the movie I want to see is always empty while the shelf next to it filled with dozens of copies of movies that suck I don't care what kind of problems Netflix may occasionally have and I wouldn't care if their monthly service was twice as expensive as Blockbuster's, I still wouldn't go back to Blockbuster.
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Friday August 15, 2008 @08:55AM (#24613495) Homepage

    I first learned about this an hour ago. I read a good review of Trumbo and logged on to added it to my Saved list... I hit this great big conspicuous notice saying "IMPORTANT: Your DVD Shipments Have Likely Been Delayed."

    My first thought was that it was a sales pitch to upsell me to a higher-tiered plan, but no, it was a straightforward notice and apology.

    I for one really appreciate this approach. Most companies' SOP would be to say nothing... wait for you to call.. make an individual apology to you without happening to mention that it was affecting thousands of others... and hope you don't read newspapers or Slashdot.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.