Parts out of Stock

I hope that this is the correct place to ask these sorts of questions. I know that certain suggestions may be better put into a different thread, but I will say everything here.

Firstly, I will get to my main, leading question. I am wondering when the High Strength 84-Tooth Gear pack will be back in stock. I know of multiple teams who have been waiting to order/receive these parts for at least a month (I have lost track because it has been so long, but seem to remember these being out of stock in early December). I would like to know when we, the VEX community, could expect these to be back in stock, or if we will be forced to either use different parts in their place, or redesign to no longer need them?

At the moment we, the VEX community, are rather lucky, because there are very few parts out of stock, now that block bearings and c-channel are back in stock. However, the High Strength 84-Tooth Gears have been out of stock for a very long time, and now the Metal 12-Tooth Pinion Gears and Programming Hardware Kit are also out of stock. It would be nice to know when each of these are going to be back in stock. Whether it will be soon, or if we will have to wait a month or more like we have with the High Strength 84-Tooth Gears.

I understand why parts become out of stock, but we have seen a lot of these occurrences with parts this season. It would be great for everyone if parts never went out of stock, but obviously that isn’t very reasonable. However, perhaps an “estimated time” for parts to be back in stock could be added to the product pages when they become out of stock. That way teams could know whether they will be able to wait to receive the parts, or if they will have to figure something else out. Unfortunately, typically when VEX is out of stock in a part, so are the other sites that sell those parts, so even when one of the teams I know were waiting for the High Strength 84-Tooth Gear kit to be back in stock found it on another site “in stock”, it turned out that they did not actually have any, and were now waiting for VEX to get them back in stock.

It would be great if teams did not have to post a Forum post or call VEX support when parts become out of stock to ask if there is an estimated time that those parts will be back in stock. That way VEX Tech Support is not bombarded with VEX Forum posts and phone calls, and teams can get their answer right when they go to order the parts they are looking for. It would also be good if teams did not have to wait over a month to receive a part they are very willing to purchase from VEX so that they can use it on their robot. Or, if there was some sort of unforeseen (or foreseen) circumstance which caused that part to be out of stock for an extremely long time, if there would be some sort of explanation put out by VEX either on the VEX Forum or on the product page, letting us, the VEX community know why we still cannot purchase that part, and when we might expect to be able to.

Thank you,

Jordan -

Thank you for taking the time to write this post and share your concerns. The VEX team takes feedback such as this very seriously - our vibrant & outspoken community is one of VEX’s greatest assets as the platform continues to grow year after year.

We understand that waiting for a part come back in stock can be a frustrating process. As a company made up of current and former robotics mentors/participants, we (personally) feel the heartache of teams who consider turning to drastic measures (such as a redesign) in response to an out of stock product. No item is ever changed to “out of stock” on the web without a plan for getting it back in stock as quickly as our supply chain will allow.

Your suggestions for greater stock transparency are reasonable as we continue looking for ways to improve the VEX user experience, and we are currently investigating and experimenting with different methods of providing this additional information. However, it is a sensitive task. Stock estimates are simply that - estimates. Unfortunately, there are a number of supply chain and logistical circumstances far outside of VEX’s control that can influence back-in-stock dates. For example, the 2015 VEXpro product launch was recently affected by severe congestion in the Port of LA (link goes to external news site). While this may seem like an extreme case, it is just one example of the many steps that factor into the time between manufacturing and being in your hands.

As for your specific requests… the Programming Hardware Cable came back in stock today, while the High Strength 84-Tooth Gear and Metal 12-Tooth Pinions should both be back up in the next few weeks. Updates will be posted in this thread once they are shipping. As explained above, this type of window is the best information we can officially provide at this time. Attempting to specify a firm date only causes a greater likelihood of frustration and confusion if that date is delayed.

Hopefully this helped to clarify things a bit further and answer the specific questions raised. Again, thank you for taking the time to provide your concise and reasonable feedback. We appreciate your understanding during this extremely busy time of year as the competition season begins drawing to a close.

Thank you very much for your thorough response. It certainly cleared up a few things.

I understand that (as you said) giving a time estimate for out-of-stock parts can often cause more frustration if that estimate is not made, so perhaps an “earliest” estimate would be best? Essentially, if VEX expects a part to be back in stock two weeks from now, the product page displays “>2 weeks” for an “earliest in-stock” date estimate.

Thank you again for the specific estimates, and for taking the time to write out a detailed and thorough response. It was much appreciated.

As a follow-up to this thread - the High Strength 84-Tooth Gear and Metal 12-Tooth Pinions are both now back in stock and available for purchase as of 2/13/15.

Could the product page please be updated to reflect this?

At the time of that posting (on 2/13/15), the High Strengh 84-Tooth Gears had been put in stock on the website. Demand for this part continues to far exceed our expectations, and orders for several hundred were placed over the weekend. They were placed back out of stock on Monday morning (2/16/15).

As of this morning, 2/18/15, a limited quantity has been placed back in stock on the web. Unfortunately, once this quantity is extinguished, this part will be out of stock for several weeks while we await our next shipment. The best way to get onto the backorder list is to call into VEX sales at 903-453-0802.

Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding during this very busy time of the year. As a reminder, if use of the 1/4" High Strength Shaft is not a design requirement, two standard 84-tooth gears placed side-by-side should be a suitable replacement for a High Strength 84-Tooth Gear.