New L-series delayed again 'till next year - last year they said it would debut this year. All MTS/MBS speaker models are on back order. Only subs are available. Anyone know if the company is in trouble? Hope not.
I believe one of the reasons Tom parted ways with SVS, (Ron) he didn't like the direction SVS was headed, and it appears our worse nightmare may have become reality. I haven't purchased anything from SVS as of late, but it appears their subwoofer line has all been upgraded including higher prices. The $64,000.00 question, is their customer support and one on one service still the same, or have they turned the GREED corner of no return?
With all the products being out of stock it appears, from my experience with business and financial matters, they may have expanded more rapidly than their capital permits. That in itself could spell trouble, and with uncontrolled growth, SVS could find itself in a real cash flow crunch attempting to cut corners and raise prices to take up the slack.
Keep in mind it is relatively easy for a few guys to run a small to medium sized business themselves and be extremely successful. However, making the transition from medium sized to very large is very difficult. It takes a massive investment in people, property, legal council, manufacturing, borrowed capital, and potentially investment. A leader's ability to ensure quality control is pretty easy when he or someone directly reporting to him can inspect every piece coming off the line, but when the line is producing so much that it takes dozens of people to ensure quality, well, good luck. The same goes for customer service. While you can train and monitor five to ten people in how to make the right decision concerning technical support issues and get an amazing reputation and still make a healhty profit, it is nearly impossible to do that with 15 or 30 people doing that job. You run the risk of over committing to customer satisfaction and losing all profits, or under committing and losing happy customers. Not everyone can understand all the caveats to making good decisions on how to support customers.
I am no expert, nor do I have any insider information, but it is my belief that SVS could very well be having those very same growing pains which make it very hard to stay ahead of the game and impress all their customers. They could have chosen to remain approximately the size they were two years ago and just sit back with a decent salary and happy customers and limited exposure, or they could have chosen to become the next Carver or Polk Audio or NHT - all former startups who did pretty good for themselves at one time, but all of which have collapsed from their former glory (if not giving up the ghost altogether).
I repect anyone who can successfully make that transition from a 25 to 50 employee company into an international corporation with hundreds of employees. It is an extremely difficult task, and very few have ever succeeded.
Could be that companies such as SVS, Oppo and maybe even Outlaw have a niche consumer market that was very hard hit by the economy. People who wanted something more that BB components, but couldn't afford the really high end stuff so went with companies like the above that offer a better than average product that cost a bit more than the general populous wants to pay.
This group of consumers has been hit very hard by the recession and though they may not be in foreclosure or bankruptcy are no longer spending on the "extras".
Realize this is pure conjecture on my part, just sitting here this afternoon with random thoughts going through my brain so feel free to pick the idea apart.
There's no doubt not only one thing has caused their problems. In the current economicera, it's doubly tough to expand and remain in control of capital flow, or cash flow. Even if you have plenty of venture capital, or capital supplied by financial institutions (good luck). The problems are numerous, and you can't go from a small company profile to a large without controlled growth, including careful management of cash flows, which affects raw material acquisition, inventory on hand, which in turn are directly related to sales. Expansion is, without a doubt, beneficial if it is done in a well thought out, controlled fashion, and doesn't happen overnight (uncontrolled). Even in well controlled situations there are always unforeseen problems that crop up and management has to adjust accordingly. Growing pains are virtually unavoidable, but can be kept to an endurable level.
In my opinion SVS has made a good decision to pospone their high-end speaker offering to a later period when the econonmy might be better suited to embrace that product. On the other hand, I don't know that upgrading the already great subwoofer line is a good option, then again, I have no idea if they're selling like hot cakes.
As rope has mentioned it's no easy feet for smaller company to secure capitol these days. I suspect their growth came at just about the worst possible time.
I've had the chance to whiteness this same thing happen to other companies that hit very close to home. It's gotten better over the last 6-8 months but it's still no fun. It's sad to watch what the greed of wall St has done to this and many other countries.