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demontd

Filament order, lead time?

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Hi,

I am getting little help from Ultimaker sales/support on this one so I'm trying here:

On December 19, I ordered some Pearl White PLA filament and some blue tape in the Ultimaker webshop. According to the website, lead times are 1-3 business days. The order was quickly updated to the "Ready" status, but then nothing happened for at least two weeks.

I then sent an email (including the order number) to Ultimaker to inquire about the order status, and received an email stating that the lead time for the UM2 printer was 8 weeks so I just had to wait.

I replied that my order was for filament and blue tape only, after which I received their apologies, and I was told that this color of filament was out of stock (it's been 3 weeks since I ordered it and now they tell me...).

It would become available again in early February. As I am busy testing a used UM1 for the local arts centre, I would really like to get to work doing test prints, and I don't really care what color of filament I'll be using for that. So I asked which colors were actually in stock, and if I could get one of those sooner than early February. That was 2,5 weeks ago, and I have not heard anything from Ultimaker yet.

So here I am, staring at an UM1 and no plastic to print with. I am considering getting some PLA from 123inkt.nl but I'd rather use the 'original' stuff.

So my questions are: Does it always take this long to order supplies/accessories at Ultimaker?? And is communicating with them always this difficult?

 

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I've ordered an UM1 kit this week (monday I think?) and it was already shipped out two days later. So, to answer your question: No, it doesn't always take this long.

I guess they have lots of orders which is always difficult to handle for smaller companies.

(My company usually has less than 10 orders at a time and still manages to make a mess out of it :D - luckily I'm not involved in the sales process)

Isn't it possible to call them by phone? That's usually the quickest way to solve problems like that.

Many shops get hundreds of E-Mails per day, so I wonder how anyone can manage that without having 10 people working on it...

My advice is: Don't order stuff that isn't in stock, except if you don't have an alternative source for it. This shortens the processing time a lot: orders can be shipped as soon as payment is complete. It also simplifies things for the shop if there aren't 1000 orders pending and they don't have to keep all the partly completed orders somewhere in their stock.

There's a well-known online shop for computer stuff in Switzerland. They started with only a few people, a clever shop system and low prices. By now, they have 430 employees ONLY for selling stuff inside the small country of Switzerland. They don't even do product design (except for some PCs they sell, which is not much of a task), that is just sales and support (and management and accounting, yes yes).

Ultimaking sells only one product line that they completely design and support themselves, including hardware and software design. Plus, they ship worldwide. If their customer support is to be as good as the shop I described above, they need a big staff of employees just for sales and support. All employees want their monthly loan, so this goes directly into the price of their products...

But what am I babbling about, actually I just want to say: Don't be too harsh on a small company that as we all know tries its best to sell an amazing product at a competitive price (actually the Replicator 2 costs more than double than the UM1, while delivering inferior quality). Instead, try to help where you can:

- One phone call (provided there is a customer support by phone) can replace 5 E-Mails.

- Don't spam the customer support with unnecessary E-mails (this DOESN'T mean you demontd!)

I know there's people who write 3 Mails just for asking one question. I know that because I used to be like that, too :)

Usually, most questions could even be answered by just asking Google or reading the FAQ's, maybe search the forums.

Someone has to read all these E-Mails, and the more there are, the higher the chance that something goes under in the flood.

Simple calculation: Let's say it takes 10 minutes to answer a question. If we have 100 people with a question, and they all ask one person, then this person needs almost 17 hours to answer all these questions.

So if only half of the people find their answer elsewhere (which usually could be the case), then the poor guy having to answer all the rest of the questions already saved himself a full business day...

Many, if not most, companies just simply ignore anything they deem "help-yourself-able", which may seem rude but that's how you cope with a flood of questions...

/edit:

Actually, I have just used up half an hour of my lunch-break to answer that question... Maybe I was a bit too thorough o.O

 

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Thanks.

Ok, so apparently it is possible to ship a printer within 2 days but it takes at least 3 weeks just to tell me that a particular color of filament is out of stock. Small/busy company or not, I still think it's a little strange.

Anyway, just to clear this up: I did not order something that is out of stock on purpose, at the time I ordered the filament there was no message stating it was out of stock (if you check now, there is). Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered and I would have chosen a different color.

E-mail exchange was a little slow but I usually got an answer within a week (which is fine by me), until I dared to ask if it was possible to change the color of filament in my order. Some colors are available at the moment so this does not seem to be a very weird question. But I haven't heard from them since then.

I guess I'll have to give them that call you mentioned some time this week to find out more.

 

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To add to demontd's inputs, I received my UM2 after about 9 weeks instead of declared maximum 8 at the time of purchase, but this is in the past already. Together with the machine, I ordered a few more filaments. Guess what - they did not come. There was a letter from Sander, explaining that some colors are out of the stock and they will be sent at no cost once they're available.

The problem is that I need these missing colors. If Sander or anyone could notify me in advance, there was plenty of time to get them from other suppliers.

Adding more to the dissatisfaction, both Sander and the support did not reply yet to my question about the expected delivery dates - in 3 days. I am waiting...

 

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