Hershey’s famous Halloween 1999 ERP stumble is
just one of many technology problems that have damaged sales
during crunch times.
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Hershey couldn’t process candy
orders when a new order-taking and distribution
system—built on software from SAP, Siebel and
Manugistics&mash;went bad. Hershey sales dropped $150
million that quarter.
Here’s a look at other expensive
November 2007: Everyone Wants Olympic Tickets
Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games
ditches online ticket sales
after a crush of eager buyers crashes the ticketing system.
During the first hour, the site received more than 8 million
page views with visitors filing more than 200,000 ticket
requests per minute. The system, however, couldn’t go
the distance. It was built to handle 1 million visits per
hour and 150,000 ticket requests per minute.
Valentines Day 2007: The Ice Storm and JetBlue
An ice storm on Valentine’s Day this year causes
JetBlue to cancel 1,100 flights over six days, costing the
airline $30 million and a chunk of its reputation for good
customer service. Hundreds of hearts were breaking as people
were stranded inside idle planes on the tarmac for hours as
JetBlue’s customer service systems bogged down. The
company discussed its problems
openly, but no one was showing JetBlue any love after that.
2006: No Games, No Fun for Nintendo, Sony
Nintendo runs out of Wiis just in time for holiday shopping.
Six hundred thousand game boxes were sold in the first eight
days of release, and Wii-related revenue from games and
accessories had hit $190 million by the end of November. But
news reports noted that supply shortages left many
shoppers unsatisfied, twiddling their unoccupied thumbs.
Sony, meanwhile, runs out of
PlayStation 3 consoles due to manufacturing and supply
chain problems. Four hundred thousand units were expected to
hit U.S. shores in time for the holidays; only an estimated
125,000 to 175,000 arrived, forcing Sony to say sayonara to
On the day after Thanksgiving, Walmart.com experiences a few
hours of glitches that result in blank and slow-loading pages
being served to would-be website shoppers, MSNBC reports. This, after Wal-Mart had
launched launched a redesigned site the month
before, as noted by CNN. The company blames unexpectedly
high traffic, and at one point, the site simply told
visitors to come back later.
2004: Bare Cupboards at the Supermarket
U.K. supermarket chain Sainsbury’s blames a botched supply chain overhaul for
stocking problems that leave shelves bare of groceries. It
renegotiates its contract with Accenture, which it had hired
to help with the project, and reports its first-ever
quarterly loss. No bangers and mash for Sainsbury’s execs
Christmas Eve 2004: Comair’s Holiday Failure
US Airways and Comair mess
with the flight plans of a combined 824,000 passengers over the
December holidays, when weather delays cancel thousands of flights. US Airways
suffers staffing shortages, and on Christmas Eve,
Comair’s computer systems fail to properly schedule
flight crews, a U.S. Department of Transportation audit
later finds. “Comair could not pinpoint a reason for
the computer crash,” CNN reported, “and could
not say why there was no backup system.” But really,
who couldn’t use a little more time at an airport
during the holiday season?
A December hardware failure crashes Nexchange, an
early e-commerce hosting company, for one day during the
holiday shopping period, taking down such sites as
Travelnow.com and CNN.com. Nexchange has since become an
e-commerce consultancy. No, really.
Amazon.com and Bestbuy.com sites go down in late November, frustrating
visitors who, intermittently, can’t access the sites
or have to wait forever to pay for their items. Just like in
the real world.
1999: Victoria’s Not So Super Fashion Show
Victoria’s Secret’s much-hyped first-ever
online fashion show falls flat
when 1.5 million visitors overwhelm the lingerie