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4 Ways to Overcome the Supply Chain Issues When Ordering Printers

September 6th, 2022 by Kevin Box

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Over the last two years, anything that requires a computer chip has gone through supply chain issues in one way or another. COVID-19 did not entirely create this issue but exposed it. If you need to order a new printer, it could take as long as six months to deliver. In this article, our focus is on some best practices to overcome the current supply chain woes.

  1. Anticipate future needs

    It’s not always easy to plan out beyond a reasonable period to know how many new printers you will need. A good rule of thumb is to take into consideration the number of net new office employees you’ve hired over the previous six months and factor that into your future needs. Also consider how many new employees you may hire over the next six months. Lastly, calculate your average print per Full time employee (FTE) and then multiply that number by the number of new hires over a given year. This will help you decide if your current fleet is adequate to take on the growth. Conversely this also works in the opposite direction. If you’ve reduced your workforce, is the level of print devices throughout the organization still needed?

  2. Allow your leased fleet to go month-to-month or extend your existing lease

    Typical agreements will allow an auto renewal for a given period, typically anywhere from 90 to 180 days. This extended time will give your organization time to continue planning to upgrade the fleet or wait for the new equipment to arrive.

  3. Keep your existing owned fleet longer

    If your current fleet is owned and less than five years old, you may consider putting off upgrading for a longer period. Typically, devices that have been supported properly can last up to five years or longer if volumes have been low and preventive maintenance kept current. Also, keep in mind that many manufacturers will support printers for as long as seven years from the time the device is introduced to the market or longer depending on the brand.

  4. Start planning much earlier

    Back in 1736, Ben Franklin said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. When he coined his famous phrase, he was doing so “to remind the citizens of Philadelphia to remain vigilant about fire awareness and prevention” The same is true for printer fleets. Planning the equipment upgrade cycle earlier and ordering your new equipment in plenty of time will help prevent the panic of your new printers arriving much later than usual.

Number four is really the most important best practice. In the past, planning to refresh a print fleet typically started around three to six months out from the end of the contract, with six months being the best timeline. Today’s planning window is much longer and needs to be six months or more primarily to factor in the current time to delivery.

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