Supply chain, supply chain, supply chain. Everywhere we go, we can’t avoid hearing about the negative impact the ongoing supply chain issues is wreaking on industries worldwide, but did you expect that these supply chain issues might lead to your inability to print invoices, work orders, checks, and other critical documents necessary to running your day-to-day business operations? Because this is a very real situation that thousands and thousands of businesses are dealing with every day as copier companies and copier supply manufacturers are struggling to get their products to market.
What Is Being Affected by Copier Supply Chain Issues?
It’s not just the equipment and hardware that has been increasingly hard to obtain, but also the day-to-day copier parts and supplies needed to keep companies’ current copiers and printings operational. Things such as toner, drums, developer, and fuser units have been on long-term backorder for more than six months. This means that every business, including those who lease a copier, is at risk of being affected by this shortage. This may lead some companies to limit how the office side of their company will operate. This shortage could potentially profoundly affect a company’s bottom line.
How Long Will This Shortage Go on For?
Unfortunately, there is no way to answer this question, as many industry experts expect this trend to continue into and potentially through 2022. Copier Industry experts and insiders list a host of issues, including but not limited to the ongoing shortage of microchips, the lack of workers in the production factories, trucking shortages, long delays at shipping ports, and even the lack of space and infrastructure necessary to offload once the ships finally reach the dock. These are just some of the factors that must be considered when trying to predict when this logistical nightmare will end, which is the last thing a business that is in need of copy machine repair services wants to hear; unless they want to try and fix it themselves.
So What Can Your Business Do?
Suppose your business relies on your color copier and color printer. In that case, it is important to make sure that your copier service provider has taken steps to prepare themselves to weather this storm by bulking up on the number of onsite parts and supplies inventory necessary to sustain customer needs. Leading up to 2021, when these supply chain issues became prevalent, it was common practice for Copier Service Providers to keep just a month or so of supplies on hand in their local warehouse.
However, with the current situation and 6+ month backorders on toner and parts commonplace, your service provider must adjust and have at least a 6-month parts and supply inventory on hand for all color copier and printer models they support. Without this six-month, on-hand supply, many of their customers risk finding themselves with a copy machine that is unable to work due to depleted toner or parts.
This is precisely the situation that many thousands of copier users throughout the United States and the world are experiencing. As the supply chain issues continue, the number of down copier machines grows by the day and unless you know how to handle basic printer repair and maintenance or a trusted solutions partner like CSBS, this problem is only going to get worse!
3 Questions to Ask Your Copier Service Provider
While it is up to each business to find the best solution for them, we’ve developed three key questions that we believe every business should ask their copier service provider. These questions will give you deeper insight into the potential issues you may face and create a plan to navigate these issues in some instances.
What Is Your Current And Long-Term Inventory Situation For Common Copier Supplies?
Here, you want to try and determine what steps your copier service provider has taken to increase their local toner supply and other supplies to ensure that your business will not experience downtime on your copier? Our advice is not to accept a general response to this critical question and ask if your copier service provider has at least a 6-month supply of the necessary items and components to meet demands during this ongoing parts and supply shortage. Make sure to ask about the supply of:
- Fuser Units
- Transfer Belts
How Many New Color Copy Machines Do You Have Available Or On Order?
We suggest asking your copier service provider about their inventory levels for new color copy machines, especially if you are currently leasing a copier with a lease set to end or renew during the next year. Many copier manufacturers have equipment backorders dating back to early 2021, and many of these manufacturers are no longer offering ETA on delivery.
This means that if your company has a copier lease that reaches the end of term, you may not be able to get a replacement when your current copier lease term comes due. In many cases, that may mean that you are forced to renew for an additional year on a machine that may and may not be meeting your needs.
Making this situation even more frustrating is that in many cases, this aging machine may be costing you even more money each month as many copier service providers increase the cost of monthly maintenance plans as your copier increases in age. This is when performing a copier lease vs buy analysis would be beneficial to your company.
Do You Have A Backup Plan?
We would strongly suggest asking your Copier Service Provider what their contingency plan is and what they can offer you as a guaranty in the event they are unable to provide the parts or supplies necessary to keep the machine running; the same machine that you are likely contractually obligated to continue paying for even in the event your copier service provider is no longer able to keep it operational.
You may think that this situation sounds almost ludicrous, and we agree with you wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that this dire situation is one that a growing number of companies are facing and a possibility that faces many thousands more companies over the coming months and year.
If you would like to learn more about how Common Sense Business Solutions is handling this situation, do not hesitate to reach out to us today! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have!