Will The Hard Drive Shortage Hit Build-To-Order Laptops?

It certainly seems that way, and allegedly Lenovo's the first company to feel the sting of the Thailand flooding on its ability to source hard drives for build-to-order machines.

I came across this thread over on Ozbargain late yesterday; in it, a user identifying themselves as c17583 states that they're unhappy with Lenovo, because a Z570 laptop ordered last Sunday had a delivery time rescheduled .. . to next March.

That's a pretty serious delay, and the user posted later in the thread the email they'd allegedly received from Lenovo detailing the alleged reasons behind the delay. Before you ask, yes, I'm deliberately couching that response as I'm waiting for an official comment/response from Lenovo on this issue, so it is always possible the email isn't legitimate. I'll update this story the moment I have comment from Lenovo to add to it.

Dear Customer,

Thanks for choosing Lenovo. We regret to inform you that due to the supply issue for the Hard Drive that affected by the thailand flood, your order was delayed. This is a serious worldword supply shortage, and we have no forecast or schedule for it yet, which means your order is still pending in our system and we do not have an estimated ship date. As far as we can see, the supply may start to recover by the end of December, but we are not sure at the moment. We'll keep close look at the supply status and once there is any update from the plant, we'll keep you informed. We apologize for the delay and inconvenience.

Thanks.

ANZ Customer Fulfillment Global Supply Chain. Asia Pacific. Lenovo. 1 300 557 073, Option 2 (Australia) 0 800 446 833, Option 5 (New Zealand)

Should you have any other questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us again, or should you prefer to speak to a ThinkPC Sales Specialist, please dial 1300-557-073, Monday through Friday, from 9:00am to 5:00pm(AU). A representative would be pleased to assist you.

Quantity Part number Description Order Status Estimated ship Item price Line Total

1 10248YM Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 - Metal Grey (10248Y In process 01/03/2012 AU$517.50 AU$517.50

If it's legitimate, it means that the early part of next year could be very challenging for any build-to-order laptop maker -- which is essentially all of them. It was rather assumed that the floods in Thailand would hit consumers in the form of higher prices on standalone drives, but that the bigger vendors would sail through with fewer problems due to the kinds of volume contracts that they've got with hard drive vendors. If that's not the case, and the flooding starts affecting build to order machines, it could become very tricky to get custom laptops in any kind of reasonable timeframe.

Image: Kamikura