FRC Blogged - FIRST Choice Issue (And Part II)

Taken from the FRC Blog, 12/10/12: and

Part I

Blog Date:
Monday, December 10, 2012 - 16:14
FIRST Choice Issue

I apologize for the problems teams experienced using FIRST Choice today. The FIRST Choice site will remain down until we have corrected the issues we have found. We are working to correct those issues, and will have an update shortly.


Part II

Blog Date: Monday, December 10, 2012 - 18:04
FIRST Choice Issue, Part II

I apologize once again to teams that experienced issues with FIRST Choice today.

Teams with team numbers less than 1000 experienced issues logging on to the system when it opened. This was corrected fairly quickly, but AndyMark later discovered an issue with their inventory management system that made it appear as if certain items were in stock when the stock had actually been depleted. The system was tested before being put in use, but the tests did not include team numbers under 1000 or placing orders at the rate actually experienced when the system went live at Noon today. Our lesson here can be useful to all: test systems under a wide variety of circumstances, and test them hard!

FIRST Choice will reopen at Noon EST, Tuesday, 12/11. Teams that ordered items that were actually out of stock will have their credits refunded to their accounts for those items. All existing orders will be adjusted by 8AM EST Tuesday, and AndyMark will be emailing all of the teams with orders which had to be changed due to this system issue by that time as well. This email will clarify what is actually on their team’s FIRST Choice order. Teams will also be able to go in to their AndyMark order themselves at that time to see which items will be fulfilled.

Thanks for your patience as we work through these issues.


Our lesson here can be useful to all: test systems under a wide variety of circumstances, and test them hard!” - That certainly is true!

Teams that ordered items that were actually out of stock will have their credits refunded to their accounts for those items.

Wow. That really bites for the teams who fall under this category. My wishes to all the teams who are affected by this and hopefully it does not affect them too much.

Einstein 2012 anybody?

Teams that ordered items that were actually out of stock will have their credits refunded to their accounts for those items.

Most likely all the Talons, specifically when they were “restocked” :frowning:

Wrong solution. All orders should have been cancelled as soon as the problems became apparent (which by all accounts was quite early in the process), and the ordering rescheduled on another date. There is no urgency to these orders at this early date and there was ample time for a re-do. Complete fairness to all teams should be paramount and worth whatever difficulties there would have been in rescheduling the process.

I completely agree. Given the fact that I was sitting trying to connect for a good solid half hour before I could get in, then quickly build a cart (as there were hardly any quantity limits), then realize that half my cart went out of stock is super frustrating.

In my mind cancel it all. Try again. Realize that they system you created was not ready for prime time and try again. And while you are at it… add some basic quantity limits on some of the items. (ahem- talon) Allow a good plurality of teams to get the option to purchase the item rather than let a few teams hoard all the parts. In my mind the PDV was aimed to help fill out your KOP not to stock up on only a single component!

I would love this solution…

(primarily because the urgency of the situation wasn’t known to the people behind our TIMS account, who never made an order…)

Yes, Please! We were excited to get 2 talons (thinking they were still in stock). Especially because we had been considering our budget and our current necessity for more motor controllers. I read some posts on the forums of teams buying 6+ Talons. Stocking up is a good idea (especially at such a price) but it would definitely make more sense to put a quantity limit on such high demand goods.

Keep in mind there is a distinct difference between the PDV and FIRST Choice.

Ah, me and the other team leadership begged our teacher to let us out of class to go order things off FIRST Choice (Luckily it was Computer Science and the teacher is a team supporter). We ran over to our robotics team teacher sponsor, barged into her class and got her to login – “Ohhhh! I saw that earlier but didn’t see anything interesting!” she said!


Teacher: “what?”


That is literally what happened. Me and a group of 3 other students wearing robotics T-shirts BURST into the room out of breath and (somewhat loudly I’ll admit) said “We need to log into FIRST Choice NOW”.

It all started back in Computer Science – I was browsing the Chief Delphi forums wishing that we knew the login when I saw that Talons were going for 6 and cRIO’s for 9, we knew we had to take extreme measures. It was worth the loss of instruction time for sure though.

LOL, I can see you were being REAL productive in CS - lucky for you, your teachers like you. :wink:

Priorities, you have them. Please tell me you didn’t need to take the same measures when it came to registering for regionals. :wink:

I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only person to do this today.

While I’m not advocating (or insulting) this response, but I will point out that according to the FIRST Choice thread, some orders have already shipped. I suspect this was to ensure AM could ship all 2,600 orders in time. I can’t confirm the accuracy of this personally, but if true it does complicate opportunities to change the approach now.

Addition thought -
What I do intend to do, and I know it’s not much, is ask FIRST to relax the 2013 BOM accounting rules so that teams can count these as Kit of Parts (free) even though we couldn’t actually purchase them this way. I certainly don’t look forward to spending the additional several hundred dollars we’ll likely have to, and can’t imagine the impact it will have on lower-budget teams, but at least we won’t also be handicapped on the BOM.

Just got an email saying we lost our 3 talons and Right Angle Drill Kit :confused:

But hey, those aren’t irreplaceable. Besides, glad to have such a phenomenal program where we can get amazing products for free anyway.

It beats buying everything we DID manage to get (cRIO, digital sidecar, battery, AXIS camera, classmate netbook & more)

Anyone know what time the restock occurred at? From reading over the First Choice thread it seems like at about 12:25.

Curious, what time was your order?

12:25 & 12:28

We made two separate orders. Stocks were jumping around so crazily we decided to lock in what was in stock before moving on to the volatile products - locked in some items with our first order and proceeded to try and get the rest of our goodies in the 12:28 order.

Does anybody know if unused credits will be kept for use after kickoff when FIRST Choice opens for game-specific items.

The opportunity to blow the whistle was early in the process when the problems were apparent. Obviously if they have already made shipments (perhaps another mistake) it is too late to redo things.