Jump to content
Stefan Daniel

Serviceability M8 & M8.2 displays

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

Thanks for the response James.

 

But my point is that whilst its reasonable to talk about improved security of service, it makes no sense simply to insist on such things without knowing the cost. (This is a separate point from the marketing one: clearly if you can't guarantee something you shouldn't suggest that you can.)

 

There's not a lot of comfort in having a watertight contract with a supplier who goes bust. There's not a lot of genuine comfort to customers in giving guarantees that depend of the viability of third-party suppliers.

 

The only way of getting close to guaranteeing something (and no guarantee is 100% safe, not least because of credit-risk) is to express the guarantee in financial terms. No one, not even Canon or Apple, can guarantee the supply of all the parts they need. They cannot prevent a third-party supplier going bust, although obviously they have more clout in the market than Leica when it comes to buying up production capacity.) But they can underwrite their guarantees with, in effect, insurance policies: if we can't effect a repair because a part is unavailable, we'll indemnify you against the cost to you of the closest replacement you can find, up to the value of the camera affected.

 

But this is what Leica are offering to do by way of the up-grade programme. I don't know whether the specific terms are fair, and it might be considered restrictive only to offer a Leica product rather than a cash payment, but that's not an unusual practice.

 

But surely there's no point in insisting on something without knowing whether its possible to provide it, and what the cost of doing so might be.

 

I agree an indication from Leica would be helpful, but again, it would be rather more information than most companies would be prepared to reveal, so I'm not holding my breath.

 

Please excuse the full quote; I'm on an iPad, and selective quoting is not as easy as on a computer.

 

I've drafted a few subcontracts and supply agreements over the last 30 years, so it is an area of some familiarity for me.

 

First off, continued supply for production and maintenance is a critical issue, as we can see with the LCD supply for the M8. It is part of the design and selection process - the cool, one-off design, against the standard off the shelf purchase. Each has it's risks, along with selection suppliers who have a partnership approach.

 

Second, few supply items are genuinely one-off. Most use established designs and technology. Even Apple with its revolutionary products have few truly revolutionary, patented components. Typically, the intellectual property for those components belongs to the supplier.

 

Third, when specifying components, a company like Leica will specify a certain relatively standard performance, but it will usually have specific requirements, like size, configuration, electronic connection type and location and means of attachment.

 

Fourth, for economies of scale, batch runs will be the best method of procurement, so Leica will make confirmed orders of certain quantities at certain times. They will meet initial production runs, extended runs for greater demand, and the continuity of supply for repair and maintenance. While the supplier will do bigger batches and maintain some inventory, all is smoothed out over the entire life of the product. There will always be a buffer to cope with immediate, unscheduled demand, while further production is established to meet unexpected additional demand.

 

As a matter of contract, this means a number of things - Leica will have a supply schedule, based on anticipated sales, repairs and spares. As the M8 popularity grew, all component supplies will have been adjusted. They will have contracted, in the past, with trusted suppliers. Contractually, there will have been initial pricing, supply times and notices, with provision for price adjustment to market and inflation.

 

For any supply agreement, there are two big issues - (1) component failure, and (2) supplier failure.

 

When I draft supply contracts, I always try to cover these issues pragmatically, and as effectively as technology and market risk allow. For the first, the supplier must replace failed components immediately - this encourages some stock of spares to be maintained. The second can be harder to cover.

 

Typically, we look at the anticipated life of the overall product. We're not talking consumer products, or vanity/fashion items here. This is not book value, economic life or any other excuse for failure, but operating life. Any large piece of plant relying on some crappy piece of electronics has repair and backup strategies for these weak links. In its marketing, Leica pitches its products in the same way - they express a commitment to future service beyond what other products offer. These contracts always contain a life expectancy for the product, with a commitment to service and maintain those parts for that life - 10 years would typically be at the shorter end.

 

If the supplier fails or refuses to maintain the spares, I usually require the supplier to assign all intellectual property to the buyer, in the expectation that the buyer can commission a supply elsewhere. An LCD is not a high tech or difficult item to source. The constraints for Leica are size, proportions, connection and performance. Not hard to replicate, provided you have the designs and the rights to use them, and you order enough items; your contract should provide for this to be done by the supplier, or at its cost.

 

So, the excuses for non-supply and unavailability of the LCD ring a bit thin. It's not impossible to solve this. It is either a matter of cost (it's always a matter of cost), and they appear not to have some fairly basic contract rights in place.

 

Leica does not go out and buy the entire production run and spares of all parts at the outset. That's what the Japanese taught the rest of the World back in the 1960s with "just in time" supply.

 

A number of things astound me about all this - Leica does not, apparently, record where the components go. With the LCD failure, presumably they know how many faulty LCDs were delivered, but they have no idea where they went; less than 3 years after ceasing production of the camera, their supplier cannot run a new production run (at no cost to Leica); and they seem to have no backup strategy for sourcing alternative supplies (at no cost to Leica).

 

So, my underlying concern is less that there have been M8 failures which can't be fixed, than that Leica is unable to solve a problem which was entirely predictable, and should have been at the core of its supply chain management. That they pass the cost of this failure on to camera owners shows a lack of willingness to fully take responsibility for their failure.

 

Cheers

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(...)

 

A number of things astound me about all this - Leica does not, apparently, record where the components go. With the LCD failure, presumably they know how many faulty LCDs were delivered, but they have no idea where they went; less than 3 years after ceasing production of the camera, their supplier cannot run a new production run (at no cost to Leica); and they seem to have no backup strategy for sourcing alternative supplies (at no cost to Leica).

 

So, my underlying concern is less that there have been M8 failures which can't be fixed, than that Leica is unable to solve a problem which was entirely predictable, and should have been at the core of its supply chain management. That they pass the cost of this failure on to camera owners shows a lack of willingness to fully take responsibility for their failure.

 

Thank you, John, that's quite how I see it, with the exception of the "lack of willingness". That's the bit where I must confess that I don't understand the different points of view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is based on the simple, apparent fact that the LCDs aren't rocket science. As I read it, there is no global shortage of relatively basic LCD supply. Size, configuration and connection may be specific - if Leica holds the designs and IP getting another source should not be overly expensive or difficult, but perhaps uneconomic for Leica. Hence the "unwillingness" comment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That they pass the cost of this failure on to camera owners shows a lack of willingness to fully take responsibility for their failure.

John

 

Hello Philipp,

As an owner of two M8 I understand perfectly well, what John rightly writes here. As soon as the LCD fails their value is nill.

Best regards,

Simon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(...)

As an owner of two M8 I understand perfectly well, what John rightly writes here. As soon as the LCD fails their value is nill. (...)

 

Yes, Simon, this is the part with which I readily agree. I do not agree with the bit about Leica being not willing to be more helpful. I am not saying they are willing. What I am saying is that there is no way for us to actually know that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, Simon, this is the part with which I readily agree. I do not agree with the bit about Leica being not willing to be more helpful. I am not saying they are willing. What I am saying is that there is no way for us to actually know that.

 

That's true, but from what we do know, it's not an unreasonable assumption.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

 

Please excuse the full quote; I'm on an iPad' date=' and selective quoting is not as easy as on a computer.

 

I've drafted a few subcontracts and supply agreements over the last 30 years, so it is an area of some familiarity for me.

 

First off, continued supply for production and maintenance is a critical issue, as we can see with the LCD supply for the M8. It is part of the design and selection process - the cool, one-off design, against the standard off the shelf purchase. Each has it's risks, along with selection suppliers who have a partnership approach.

 

Second, few supply items are genuinely one-off. Most use established designs and technology. Even Apple with its revolutionary products have few truly revolutionary, patented components. Typically, the intellectual property for those components belongs to the supplier.

 

Third, when specifying components, a company like Leica will specify a certain relatively standard performance, but it will usually have specific requirements, like size, configuration, electronic connection type and location and means of attachment.

 

Fourth, for economies of scale, batch runs will be the best method of procurement, so Leica will make confirmed orders of certain quantities at certain times. They will meet initial production runs, extended runs for greater demand, and the continuity of supply for repair and maintenance. While the supplier will do bigger batches and maintain some inventory, all is smoothed out over the entire life of the product. There will always be a buffer to cope with immediate, unscheduled demand, while further production is established to meet unexpected additional demand.

 

As a matter of contract, this means a number of things - Leica will have a supply schedule, based on anticipated sales, repairs and spares. As the M8 popularity grew, all component supplies will have been adjusted. They will have contracted, in the past, with trusted suppliers. Contractually, there will have been initial pricing, supply times and notices, with provision for price adjustment to market and inflation.

 

For any supply agreement, there are two big issues - (1) component failure, and (2) supplier failure.

 

When I draft supply contracts, I always try to cover these issues pragmatically, and as effectively as technology and market risk allow. For the first, the supplier must replace failed components immediately - this encourages some stock of spares to be maintained. The second can be harder to cover.

 

Typically, we look at the anticipated life of the overall product. We're not talking consumer products, or vanity/fashion items here. This is not book value, economic life or any other excuse for failure, but operating life. Any large piece of plant relying on some crappy piece of electronics has repair and backup strategies for these weak links. In its marketing, Leica pitches its products in the same way - they express a commitment to future service beyond what other products offer. These contracts always contain a life expectancy for the product, with a commitment to service and maintain those parts for that life - 10 years would typically be at the shorter end.

 

If the supplier fails or refuses to maintain the spares, I usually require the supplier to assign all intellectual property to the buyer, in the expectation that the buyer can commission a supply elsewhere. An LCD is not a high tech or difficult item to source. The constraints for Leica are size, proportions, connection and performance. Not hard to replicate, provided you have the designs and the rights to use them, and you order enough items; your contract should provide for this to be done by the supplier, or at its cost.

 

So, the excuses for non-supply and unavailability of the LCD ring a bit thin. It's not impossible to solve this. It is either a matter of cost (it's always a matter of cost), and they appear not to have some fairly basic contract rights in place.

 

Leica does not go out and buy the entire production run and spares of all parts at the outset. That's what the Japanese taught the rest of the World back in the 1960s with "just in time" supply.

 

A number of things astound me about all this - Leica does not, apparently, record where the components go. With the LCD failure, presumably they know how many faulty LCDs were delivered, but they have no idea where they went; less than 3 years after ceasing production of the camera, their supplier cannot run a new production run (at no cost to Leica); and they seem to have no backup strategy for sourcing alternative supplies (at no cost to Leica).

 

So, my underlying concern is less that there have been M8 failures which can't be fixed, than that Leica is unable to solve a problem which was entirely predictable, and should have been at the core of its supply chain management. That they pass the cost of this failure on to camera owners shows a lack of willingness to fully take responsibility for their failure.

 

Cheers

John[/quote']

 

+1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The lack of willingness comes from the fact that Leica do not offer other solutions than forcing their customers to upgrade to a product they cannot afford or they don't want to purchase for whatever reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As some might expect, I take a far from conciliatory position on Leica's handling of this situation.

 

Yesterday, I took out my two M8u's, newly upgraded with the latest firmware and used them as they were intended. They performed perfectly. Compared to the M9, I like the larger more readable display font, I like the top panel display, I like the chrome camera with the red dot. I liked them a lot. They are close to 6 years old, at which point Leica thinks they are worthless.

 

Leica have made their bed - built a reputation of service and long operational life - and must now lie in it. They've charged a premium compared to other camera manufacturers and should now deliver the continued service reasonably expected.

 

As I suggested in my spoof email which fell flat, Leica have a ready supply of spare parts in the population of M8s out there which they can call in by buying the cameras on the secondhand market. Users sending their camera in would have to accept it was going to receive used parts with a limited warranty. That is their contribution to the compromise forced on them by Leica being asleep on the job and not looking after their parts inventory. Leica's contribution to the same compromise is not to offer M9s on a sliding scale but to take the financial cost of doing this as a necessary part of doing business and preserving their reputation. Their stand at Photokina will cost far more, will be soon forgotten while their failure now to maintain M8s will remain a thorn in their side for years.

 

For those who say that it's only the LCD which is the problem, I say I would expect the DSP board to become one soon if it is not already. The M8 has other parts in a similar position. The driver chip for the shutter motor was made by Sanyo and has been obsolete for a while.

 

For those who say it is not worth spending more money repairing a camera than the repaired camera would then be worth, I point to the classic car market and the likelihood of an M3 shutter replacement and CLA (which they claim they can still do) costing more than the cost of a used M3.

 

The bottom line is that Leica have got it wrong. Again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

For those who say that it's only the LCD which is the problem, I say I would expect the DSP board to become one soon if it is not already. The M8 has other parts in a similar position. The driver chip for the shutter motor was made by Sanyo and has been obsolete for a while.

I take it that you are privy to the number of these parts that Leica stocks?

I personally have no idea, and very much doubt that you have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I take it that you are privy to the number of these parts that Leica stocks?

 

Well, he seems to have a far greater knowledge of the insides of an M8 than any of us, and Mark does seem to understand the detail of the part supply.

 

Did your post serve any additional purpose than hosing down discontent and any criticism of Leica? Without wanting to appear critical or personal or abusive, Jaap, you really need to re-examine your contributions to this discussion.

 

I generally like what you contribute here, and I learn a lot from your posting - this whole discussion is an exception. You have grasped every thin excuse and justification for what has been a pretty poor performance by Leica. Engaging in personal comment like the one above just compounds the issue.

 

Cheers

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At risk of changing the conversation.

  • Does anyone understand the root cause of the catastrophic lcd failures? (Not the coffee stain).
  • Should current M8 owners:

    [*]I ask - because I would like to know if there are any pro-active steps I can take to maximize the life of my M8?

    [*]Perhaps an official "Tips for maximizing the life of the M8 lcd screen" could be published by Leica? They are in the best position to understand the issue and provide guidance?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, he seems to have a far greater knowledge of the insides of an M8 than any of us, and Mark does seem to understand the detail of the part supply.

 

He certainly does know more about the insides of the M8 and he may do understand the details of parts supply chains. However, the explanation offered by Leica contained the assertion that (a) they used to have a stock of LCDs and that (

the stock turned out to be rotten at a time when they saw no possibility to obtain new useful stock.

 

This does in no way imply that they are understocked on other components. Without any further evidence coming forth I would attribute that implication more to disappointment or anger than to factual knowledge.

 

Still, we don't know enough to reach a "logical" conclusion that other shortages might not pop up, either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, he seems to have a far greater knowledge of the insides of an M8 than any of us, and Mark does seem to understand the detail of the part supply.

 

 

With the greatest respect to Mark, I cannot see how he could possibly know what Leica's parts supply is like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
.............(snipped)

Their stand at Photokina will cost far more, will be soon forgotten while their failure now to maintain M8s will remain a thorn in their side for years.

 

I suspect a 'hidden' cost of the stand at Photokina will be along the lines of direct questions relating to the M8 maintenance. I hope the reps on the stand are well briefed by then to answer satisfactorily. Regrettably, I won't be there but I am sure I can rely on others to directly ask the questions.

 

Above all, Leica need to avoid a ripple effect into the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With the greatest respect to Mark, I cannot see how he could possibly know what Leica's parts supply is like.

 

Of course not. But his assumptions are not unreasonable.

 

Your unflinching defense of Leica is admirable ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course, I have no information at all on Leica's parts inventory, for all I know, they may have DSP boards stacked to the ceiling.

 

However, a quick look at 5 parts:

 

Analog Devices ADSP-BF561 Black Fin DSP - In Production

Samsung K4M513233C-DN75 Dynamic RAM - End of Life

Philips/NSP ISP1383BS USB Peripheral Controller - Obsolete

Intel PXA270C5C416 Application Processor - Not listed on Marvel web-site, so assume obsolete

Maxim MAX1567 6 Channel Switched Power Supply - In Production

 

There may of course be compatible components available from the same or other vendors. However, I think getting a new run of DSP boards made would be both difficult and expensive and I expect Leica will be relying on whatever stocks they have.

 

An unanswered question is how long the rechargeable battery which keeps the real-time clock running will last. It's soldered onto the same board...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your unflinching defense of Leica is admirable ...

 

Read MY posts. I'm not here defending Leica.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue., Read more about our Privacy Policy