Computer Parts and Hardware are Getting Harder to Get!
Prices are going up and it’s taking longer to get the hardware you might need for your business. Here are some things that might help. Prices are going up and it’s taking longer to get the hardware you might need for your business. Here are some things that might help.
The latest obstacle for small businesses isn’t exactly new, it’s been a growing issue since the start of the pandemic, but it’s definitely catching up to local businesses in a big way now; the global chip shortage.
Pass the Chips, Please
Call it supply chain issues, call it a chip shortage, either way, it’s starting to interfere with everyday life for a lot of people. Because of this massive phenomenon, ordering new PCs, laptops, and network equipment has gotten a little bit trickier, especially if you aren’t willing to wait several weeks or months for the device you need.
So how did this happen?
It’s complicated, but to sum it up, there was already a bit of a semiconductor shortage back in 2020. This isn’t even the first semiconductor shortage we’ve seen historically. You can look all the way back to the late ‘80s and see that this sort of thing can happen from time to time.
Unfortunately, the complexities of COVID-19 accelerated the shortage. Suddenly hundreds of millions of people were buying or upgrading their home computers and manufacturing plants were outputting less product. This led to a huge deficit for a complex system that was already having a hard time keeping up.
On top of that, cryptomining started to see a climb in popularity at the same time, with startups and venture capitalists and wealthy hobbyists spending ridiculous amounts of money on expensive, high-end computing hardware to build large-scale data centers simply to mine digital currency. In order to race for all this demanding computing hardware, scalpers set up bots to scour online e-commerce sites like eBay and Best Buy and others to automatically buy inventory as soon as it was available, only to sell at exorbitant prices.
Combine all of this with a handful of sanctions, a 2021 drought in Taiwan, the closure of a few manufacturers in Texas due to severe weather, and the fact that about half of the global supply of neon (used in the chip manufacturing process) comes from Ukraine…
In other words, everything has snowballed out of control, and it’s going to be a while before things go back to normal.
This technology is used in everything, from smart devices, phones, computers, and even modern vehicles, so it’s affecting a lot.
How Can My Oneonta Business Navigate This Hardware Nightmare?
It’s likely going to get worse before it gets better, and it is really going to be hard to predict how bad things are going to get.
That’s why being proactive is really important.
Now, we’re not going to urge you to rush to a chain store and buy up every computer and laptop they have on the shelf. That’s not really going to help you and it’s only going to make the problem worse, even at our small local scale.
That said, it’s a good idea to understand what you’ll be needing over the next 6-12 months, and plan for delays, and possibly even plan for costs to go up a little.
It’s also worth having an extra workstation or two available, just in case. We’ve recommended this practice for a long time, just because if something does go wrong, it’s pretty easy to pull the spare computer out of storage, run some updates, and let the user get back to work if a hardware issue puts their regular machine out of commission. Depending on how critical a day’s work can be for your organization, it doesn’t hurt to have this backup workstation set up and running, and being actively maintained so the user simply has to log into it to get back to work.
If you have users who are due for upgrades, start thinking about that now, because in some cases it could take a few weeks to a couple months to get the hardware they need. The same goes for growth—if you plan on hiring two staff members who will need workstations or laptops, start that conversation now to minimize the delay.
Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re tempted to purchase inferior hardware just because it seems to be your only option—it’s only going to cost you more in the long run.
Remember, your IT is an investment that should help your business become more profitable and more effective.
If you need help navigating the complexities of hardware purchasing, or you need any other help at all with your IT and securing your business, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 607.433.2200.