Backlogs, Shortages and Chip Constraints

Manufacturers have come to the unfortunate conclusion that supply chain issues are here with us for a while. Every manufacturer is dealing with the problem at one level or another.

This problem is not going away soon, so businesses need to understand what is happening and why so they can prepare for a rocky start of 2022 in the copier world.

Chip Issues:

Everyone knows their is a chip shortage in the marketplace at the moment. Much, if not all of this, is related to Covid-19 where more workers needed to work from home creating a spike in demand for the computers needed for these workers to work from home. On top of this, labor shortages happened in both the assembly plants as well as the transportation world severly restricting the supply. Copiers have not been immune to these issues, and no matter how prepared a manufacturer thought they were, they aren’t prepared enough. It is estimated there were more than a 10% increase in demand for computers in 2020 plus the reduced supply has created all kinds of issues getting chips.

Why does this matter for copiers? There are chips on the boards and chips in the toner cartridges… so each copier is generally requiring multiple chips and if any of these fail to be delivered, the copier is rendered useless.

Freight Issues:

Now, if chips are available and product can be made with labor shortages, then you still have to get the product to the shores of the USA. This has had setbacks with the ships not going out, labor disputes in California keeping ships out in the water sometimes for months, and then if you can get it off the ship, there can also be issues getting truckers, especially after California made more eco-friendly rules about what trucks were allowed to do the pickups in the first place. We have heard of companies resorting to trying air freight to get what is needed rather than using cargo ships which is WAY more expensive.

Labor Issues:

There are chip issues, freight issues, and also labor shortages. If you can get the copier all the way to a warehouse, there is still staff needed to deliver and install copiers at businesses. It has been extremely hard to keep staff… especially technicians. One thing that hasn’t helped is many of the technicians tend to be older so their concern for their own health or company policies regarding required vaccines has left many of them retiring early or leaving the workforce. This places more of the burden on the remaining techs and their is increased pressure from frustrated customers used to a 2018 supply chain to get everything done.

What Can You Do?

If you want to avoid being stuck without a way to print or copy at all we have a few things you should consider.

  • If you are on a contract already, it is a good idea to see if having 1 set of supplies on the shelf is allowed in your contract. This will help you not be stuck without a toner in a critical time.
  • If you are not allowed the toner, you may want to consider a small copier as a backup device. These generally are less than $500 and can get you through a pinch while waiting for your items.
  • Practice kindness – the people on the other end of the phone are dealing with many frustrated customers due to a supply chain they don’t control. Blowing up makes it less likely they will do everything they can to get you the toners you need. A little kindness goes a long way for out of the box solutions.
  • Plan Early – rather than waiting until a month before your copier is up for lease renewals, you may need to extend that to 3 months to have the time you need.

We know this supply chain issue is tricky for a lot of companies, we have done a lot of work to try and be prepared and help our clients prepare so they are not stuck without a copier for long periods of time.

Please give us a call, or let us know how we can help you with your copier needs!