In early 2016, Facebook-owned Oculus brimmed with confidence following scores of pre-orders on January 6th for its highly-anticipated $600 Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Oculus founder Palmer Lucky told attendees at CES 2016 that “Preorders are going much better than I could have ever possibly expected. I can’t talk about numbers, but we sold through in 10 minutes what I thought we were going to sell through in a few hours.”
While preorders went better than they expected, what was a competitive NPI window for the VR pioneers quickly snowballed into a botched launch within a few months due to “unexpected component shortages,” leaving the Rift’s avid early-adopters furious, their deliveries pushed back months after the initially promised delivery dates of late-March. In a key window that can potentially leave scars on a new company's brand, the recent delays shed light on how aligning a company’s Supply Chain and Procurement with Design early on is crucial when rolling out a successful new product introduction.