Compaq New Zealand is struggling to supply products on time because of a major hitch integrating its new SAP AG R/3 system with some of its custom-built software.
Last week, Compaq sent hundreds of letters to resellers and customers explaining the reason for product delays and telling them what is being done about it.
Three resellers, including one of the largest in the country, have revealed their frustration with the new system.
One was left in the lurch, waiting weeks for half a dozen servers and notebooks. The problem has now been resolved but the reseller has had to face disgruntled customers in the meantime.
Another reseller says customers have had to endure delays of six weeks and more, while a third says he has started buying Hewlett-Packard products.
Compaq New Zealand has acknowledged the situation and has a team of 10 people working on it with extra staff from the US and Singapore. The SAP R/3 implementation, covering financials, order entry, delivery, warehousing and scheduling, is part of a worldwide initiative.
Compaq New Zealand managing director Robin Paterson stressed that the local SAP implementation went smoothly, but there are difficulties getting it to work with custom-written software.
He said the problem is not that the vendor can't deliver product, but it is having difficulty assessing lead times.
"Because of the complexity of the implementation, it's taken a lot longer than we thought to get it running smoothly, but the problems are not SAP issues," Paterson said.
"In the vast majority of cases we do have the product in stock and in the past month we've shipped a phenomenal amount of product. However, we still have some delivery times that are not accurate and that's the main area of focus," he added. "It's to do with a piece of custom-built software that is responsible for the more complex parts of scheduling and that interacts with SAP."
Although this custom software is used by Compaq worldwide, Paterson says that the situation in Australia and New Zealand is unique in that it is the only operation with multiple warehouse locations spanning two countries.
"It's complex software with a number of linkages into a number of manufacturing sites and inventory locations around the world. It's a question of getting it configured correctly for our local environment," he said.
"The system was tested before it went live but because of the real-time nature of some aspects of the business there were some things we couldn't do until it went live."
Paterson says Compaq is making good progress, but can't give a date for when all problems will be resolved. However, he expects the system to become "more and more accurate".
In the meantime, he says, Compaq has put on extra support staff to deal with product supply queries and he asks resellers or customers to contact Compaq if they have a problem.