Microsoft's David Warrick, General Manager of the Entertainment and Devices Manufacturing and Supply Chain Group for Microsoft for EMEA and Asia Pacific, will be providing an exclusive preview of the global supply chain strategy the company will employ for the much-anticipated launch of "Halo 3" the following week at Entertainment Supply Chain Academy (ESCA) Europe, September 18-19, 2007 in Madrid. The conference focuses on the challenges and strategies employed by home video, game and music entertainment providers in perfecting the delivery of physical media products as well as defining the emerging digital entertainment supply chain.
The release of the exclusive Xbox 360 title is widely expected to be the largest, single-day grossing entertainment title in history, with anticipated sales exceeding the $125 million marked by the launch of its predecessor Halo 2 in its first 24 hours of availability. Warrick's team is responsible for assuring that the product is available simultaneously on store shelves in all time zones across EMEA and Asia Pacific. "This will be Microsoft's coming of age as a supply chain organization," Warrick explains, adding that "when we began evolving our retail business five or six years ago, we recognized our reputation as a software company and a growing reputation as a hardware company....we also want to be recognized as a company that demonstrates world class supply chain competency."
From Warrick's perspective, this transformation of Microsoft began with the global launch of the Xbox platform in 2002, followed by the released of Halo 2. Warrick’s team also coordinated the retail launch of the Vista operating system and is responsible for all supply chain activities for Microsoft's growing line of hardware, software and entertainment retail products. The Halo 3 supply chain challenge goes beyond the sheer magnitude of the sales and global nature of the launch; the product itself actually involves three separate versions, a Standard Edition, Limited Edition, and the ultra-collectible Legendary Edition. Furthermore, a special edition of the Xbox 360 console itself is being launched in the same timeframe.. "Success ultimately comes from upfront planning and process excellence," Warrick says, explaining that there is still nothing that replaces the value of human interaction when planning such an enormous global retail event. "It is still a very analog process, I have to admit. Doing this type of introduction correctly still involves a lot of plain old hard work, including direct phone calls and gathering feedback from the field and very simply just answering retailer questions."
ESCA - Europe is presented in cooperation with DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, and is co-produced and organised by Understanding & Solutions and Martin Porter & Associates.
Other sessions to be covered will include:
• Studio, replicator, distributor and retailer perspectives
• Market outlook for the home entertainment business in Europe
• Learning from experiences of the video games and music supply chains
• Information technology solutions
• Packaging and security issues
• Successful deployment of RFID
• Scan Based Trading and Vendor Managed Inventory
• Sales planning and collaborative forecasting
• Optimisation of transportation management