Given the ongoing global supply chain disruptions, companies need to plan for their needs and buy technology devices further in advance than they have in the past. Global chip shortages are impacting all industries. Businesses of all sizes are facing unexpected roadblocks as they work to order and receive the technology they need (such as laptops, desktops, and tablets) when they need it. Unfortunately, these issues are only predicted to get worse. The demand for these devices amidst a global shortage has caused businesses to experience extended delays, pushing expected delivery dates up to months past the originally estimated ETA for orders both large and small. Currently, the world is experiencing a random delay in the availability and shipping of common technology devices from our vendors that our clients use for work. While these delays are being seen across a variety of technology and devices, we’ve identified the following with the most limited supply:
- Desktops & Laptops/Docking Stations
- Wireless access points
What Caused Today’s Shortage?
The sudden uptick in the demand for technology devices was unexpected, and a convergence of factors has contributed to the issue. The two primary causal factors being the Covid-19 pandemic and a heavy reliance on the lean inventory model across all industries. Now, experts are unable to predict when the next disruption will occur and what shortages we will face as a result. The only somewhat “concrete” prediction is that another shortage is coming, and likely in the next few months. Semiconductors, or chips, are used to power everyday devices we use to work, from laptops to smartphones, as well medical devices, automobiles, gaming hardware, appliances, and more. While the cyclicality of the semiconductor industry is to be expected, semiconductor supply chains were surprised by the pandemic and many analysts believe today’s chip shortage is an anomaly and is not part of the traditional industry cycle. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the supply chain issues we are experiencing will be resolved any time soon.
How Can You Prepare Your Business?
We recommend working with your CIO or Client Success Manager to plan for and order what you need as far in advance as possible. Don’t wait to order laptops for new employees until a month before they’re needed. Even when these devices are ordered in advance, we have seen vendors delay the expected delivery date by up to 3 months or more on specific devices. In addition, be flexible about the products you plan to order. Base your needs on the appropriate standard the device should meet to get the job done, not a specific brand or model number. The more flexible and proactive you are, the higher the chance that what you need will be available when you need it. To summarize, scrap the lean inventory model and plan for and buy what you need as far in advance as possible. If you know you’re going to grow your team, shift to a primarily remote work model, or execute any other business initiatives that will require additional laptops, tablets, etc., order what you need now, and be flexible about what you intend to buy and what you intend to spend. If you know you have an upcoming need that you haven’t discussed with your CIO or Client Success Manager, please reach out as soon as possible to start that conversation.