GTB IT Solutions

NZ's Computer shortage – What can you do?

August 16th, 2021

What do you get when you mix together a global pandemic, an increase in people working from home, plus a lack of silicon chips?

You guessed it!

A global shortage of computer equipment.

Whilst any one of those things would normally have a massive impact on supply, the combination of all of these factors has created the perfect storm.

Unfortunately, this isn’t something that is going to go away overnight either.

In fact, current predictions on the supply of technology are anticipating supply will not return to the ‘new normal’ until mid-2022 to 2023.

What is the impact of this shortage?

#1 Economics 101 – Supply and Demand:

Yes, folks, unfortunately with the increased demand and lack of supply, the predicted net result is an increase in prices across all computers.

#2 Expect delays:

Patience is a virtue… Remember that old saying? Well now we really have to put it to the test. What used to take a matter of weeks, is now taking a matter of months. In fact, for some equipment the delivery dates are just “to be advised” as it is still unknown when they will be available.  

So what can you do?

Whilst this all seems a bit doom and gloom, we have some ideas that can help you to make sure that you manage this situation the best that you can:

#1 Make a plan:

Rather than waiting until you have three new eager recruits, or that old computer takes its last breath, hatch a plan now:

  • How is your business plan impacted by the need for technology?

  • Are you in a growth phase that means you will be hiring new employees?

  • What are your expected needs for upgraded computers within the next 3-6 months?

  • Do you need to ensure your team can work remotely?

#2 What if you need to hire more staff that need laptops:

So often a new hire is due to start next week, and someone says they will need a laptop. That could be an expensive issue if they can’t work for 6-8 weeks.

#3 Recycle:

Recycle and Reuse! Start looking at your team to match use. For example, maybe you need to buy a high end user an equally high-end laptop. That flash laptop may then be able to be passed down to someone who has more standard requirements. Moving hardware around internally and assessing needs can help with managing the shortage. 

#4 Keep a spare handy:

Much like a spare tyre, a spare computer can be a life-saver if required. Maybe you used to trade in your old computers, now ensure you keep spares where possible. If that doesn’t fit the cash flow, plan your procurement cycles for the next 3-6 months and beyond.  

#5. Be prepared to make quick decisions on purchases:

If you need a device quickly, be prepared to make a decision on purchasing more quickly then you have in the past. The reality is that it may not be in stock tomorrow.

#6. Be Flexible:

Many brands and models are now out of stock, which means that your IT company will not have as many options available. The longer the list of specifications you require, the shorter the list of choices. To help with this, try to be flexible in your requirements so that your needs can be more easily met.

So what has created this shortage?

  1. Asia and tech – Asia is to tech what crackers are to cheese. With a large part of the world’s technology production coming from Asia, COVID had a massive impact on production and supply of parts. 

  2. Laptop Laptop Laptop – The world has gone mad for laptops. With the new way of working remotely, companies have been moving from p.c’s to laptops, or buying up laptops to ensure their team is able to work from anywhere.

  3. Shipping – New shipping constraints, less planes flying, increased air freight costs, plus ships being unable to dock, have meant that even when the supply is available, the time computers take to arrive is longer.

  4. Silicon Chips –  The global shortage of silicon chips is due in part to  the pandemic, trade policy, regulation, plus this increased demand.

  5. Bitcoin: Video cards have also become in high demand for those that are into Bitcoin. The better the video card, the more money you are likely to make. Hence another increased demand.  Why graphics cards cost so much right now | PCWorld

  6. Mobile phone: Adding to the heat on the demand for these chips, is the continued demand for mobile phones. Basically if it has a plug or battery in it, it probably uses lots of chips. You can read more about the chip shortages here: Chip shortages will continue until 2023, superfoundry TSMC says | PCWorld

What not to do: 

Whilst it is tempting to rush out and grab anything that you can get your hands on, it is best not to buy random equipment as a temporary stop gap. This will potentially create additional support costs to your environment in the long term, and may even compromise support from Vendors where equipment isn’t compatible.

How can we help you?

  • Getting expert advice is important as it means that you have recourse if the equipment doesn’t work together.

  • Create a plan with your IT provider to best suit your business plan.

  • If you are wanting to order hardware, please get in touch with us ASAP.

In this climate, it will be better to have an order placed now rather than wait until it’s too late. 

Feel free to reach out here to discuss any questions you may have about your individual business needs.

Rick Clement - Black Sanz

Mark Ternent - GTB IT Solutions

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