Copier Supply Chain Delays and How to Avoid Them
You've probably noticed it in the grocery stores when you're looking for your favorite yogurt brand, and it's out of stock every time you go. Or, when you’ve ordered something online, the item doesn't come in until weeks after the expected arrival. The supply chain is being affected globally, and many consumers feel the adverse effects.
If you have not noticed it already, you will when you order a new copier. The delay on copiers leaves many companies perplexed about what they can do to get their equipment promptly. As a company that relies on copiers and other office equipment shipments to do its job, Usherwood can empathize with you.
Usherwood works with many copier vendors to provide office equipment to our clients. As a company that sells copiers, it is frustrating having long periods of downtime waiting on the equipment you require to continue daily work operations. Not only does having copier delays affect our clients, but as a copier vendor, it has many negative effects on our business as well.
Usherwood has worked with many clients to manage their expectations on copier delays while also strategizing to minimize downtime. But why are copiers being affected by the supply chain? Let's look at why something like copiers is so hard to obtain right now and how to get ahead of the issue as a business.
Why are copiers so hard to get?
If you have ordered a copier machine, toner, or even copier paper, recently you have probably noticed a long delay when they are available. Why? Well, two things are significantly affecting the high demand and low supply of these pieces of office equipment- chip shortages and shipping bottlenecks.
After the covid-19 pandemic, it has been tough to get your hands on a new copier and copier supplies like toner. What's causing the hold-up? What copiers and toner all have in common is that their function is highly reliant on a microchip.
Asia produces 87% of the world's microchips. Unfortunately, when the pandemic began in 2020, many manufacturers of these microchips were forced to send employees home and reduce production. While the production of microchips decreased, the demand increased. This caused equipment, like copiers that rely on these microchips, to get backed up while manufacturers wait to receive this critical part.
These microchips are so critical for copier machines to have because it allows the copier and its accessories like toner to intelligently communicate with each other. This helps the device recognize things like how much toner has been used and notify you, so you know when you're low in supply and need to be restocked.
The microchip is an intelligent way to track any service issues within your copier machine. This chip shortage is causing many businesses to have long periods of downtime until their copier machine is ready to be shipped.
Like manufacturing, Asia, and more specifically Taiwan, is responsible for a great deal of shipping from their ports as well. With reduced workers in the ports and on the cargo ships during the pandemic caused a dramatic decrease in shipping at a global level.
The issue is that while the amount of goods that can be shipped has decreased, the demand for shipped products has increased dramatically post-pandemic. Only so many goods can fit on each ship; this has caused a large backup of many consumer goods and products, including copier machines.
The shipping bottlenecks affect all manufacturers, so no matter what brand you typically use (Canon, Xerox, HP), there will be expected delays. It is not apparent yet when these shipping bottlenecks will subside, so it is essential to acknowledge that this is occurring and decipher the best solution for the situation.
How to get your copier in a timely manner
There is no excellent way to solve the supply chain issue. There is no one way to fix it, and it may be something we are living with for the foreseeable future. So what can you do to ensure that you get your copier equipment by the time you need it?
Reach out to your local print service provider
If you're going to office equipment retail stores, you may be noticing that all the copiers are out of stock and have a very long backlog of orders. If you have a reputable local print service provider, now is an excellent time to reach out to them.
They can work with you to get the equipment you require through their copier vendors. Your print service provider can estimate how long your equipment will likely take to come in.
There is no way to eliminate downtime, but while you wait for your equipment, you will have access to your service provider for any issues with your current copier. If you waited too long, your current copier could begin experiencing issues.
Your provider can keep your machines up in running while you wait for your equipment. In the meantime, while you wait for your new copier, you will have a reliable partner to assist you with any issues that arise. You can also work with your service provider to start planning for any future orders to avoid any supply chain delays if they continue.
Ask your print service provider for a loaner device
One thing that many print service providers offer is a loaner device. This means that as you wait for your copier to come in, you can get a loaner device to ensure there is no downtime your print service provider likely has used or refurbished equipment in their warehouse that they could temporarily lend you. This is a great way to ensure there is not a period of downtime where your business is without a printer.
Try to minimize the use of your copier/copier supplies
Another option is to try and elongate the use of your printer for as long as you can. If you are taking this route, the best way to maintain the best quality of your machine over a longer period of time is to minimize your use. This means only allowing copier use for work.
This may mean cutting back on employees using the business copier for personal use, such as let's say Kathy from accounting printing out 5 pages of her vacation itinerary. Only utilizing the printer when necessary can help maintain a healthier machine for a longer period of time, and will also save you the hassle of needing to reorder supplies like paper and toner. These supplies could potentially cause you to have another delay in being able to print, because of the supply chain disruption.
Next steps to order your copier
This supply chain disruption is not going away soon. Some predict that it will continue into 2023 and there is no saying it will even be resolved then. Because this issue is not going to be solved overnight, our recommendation as a print service provider is to stay proactive with your equipment orders. Expect delays, and order your equipment accordingly. This will help you avoid downtime.
As a print servicing company, Usherwood is working with many clients to help keep their current equipment up and running while trying to get them their new copier as soon as possible. A print service provider can be a great resource and give you access to copier servicing and a knowledgeable team of experts to help guide you through the best next steps to manage supply chain disruptions.
Because there is no way to solve this global issue, all you can do as a business is adapt to the situation as best as possible; one way to get ahead of the copier delays is to (maybe “be proactive in ordering”) start ordering your equipment now. If you are interested in hearing how Usherwood can assist you with your copier needs, click this link to speak with an expert: Print Services Consultation.