Though Hewlett-Packard insists it has recovered from a serious supply chain stumble, analysts have yet to be convinced. They'll be scrutinizing the company's fourth-quarter results when they're released sometime this month.
Problems within HP's enterprise server and storage business resulted in an earnings shortfall in the third quarter. In the United States, the problems arose from the migration to a new order processing and supply chain system that took twice as long as the company had planned. In Europe, the company was plagued by channel management issues, including overly aggressive discounting and the transition to a centralized claims process.
HP has spent the last several weeks assuring analysts and customers that it has worked out the kinks in its supply chain. The company insists that it has corrected its order fulfillment problems, including serious glitches in the migration of multiple supply chain and order management systems onto a broad-based ERP (enterprise resource planning) system.
However, analysts say the proof will be in the numbers. "The financials for the next quarter have not come out yet, so there is no compelling proof one way or the other," says Jonathan Uenice, principal analyst at Illuminata Inc., a hightech research firm based in Nashua, N.H. "There is no objective evidence that somebody outside of HP could look at to get a guarantee that things have been fixed."