Being located in Southern California comes with many perks: the weather, the cultural diversity and of course the beaches. But lately, the views at those beaches have been dominated not by dolphins and whales navigating the waves, but by large, hulking container ships. Dozens of them, perhaps hundreds of them, lurking off the shore like giant sea creatures gathering for some ominous attack.
With the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles just up the coast, those in Southern California know all too well the current state of global supply chain issues and the challenges of inventory availability. The COVID-19 Pandemic and energy crisis in Asia has slowed production of many of the goods we in North America use daily. Inventory that had acted as a cushion for production has almost entirely been eliminated as the worlds’ economies have started to return to pre-COVID consumption. Compounding these efforts to catch up has been a shortage of coal used to fuel China’s production machine. As the largest exporter in the world, that severely hurts the global inventory chain's attempts to catch up with the consumption rate. Even products that are not produced in China can experience delays due to components they use in their process that are.
To compound this further, longshoreman unions have reported increases in worker absenteeism due to exposure and sickness during the course of the pandemic to date. While recent agreements to move a 24 hour a day, seven days a week schedule will help alleviate the backlog, the coming winter months pose another threat of surging infection rates and the possibility of new variants to appear. This threatens to not only slow the catch up efforts, but to possibly regress the pace even further.
Increases in green initiatives at the ports have also restricted the trucks that are able to access the docks for pick up. The Clean Truck Program requires all transport vehicles entering the port to adhere to increased emissions regulations. These restrict older, non-complying vehicles from entering the port to move shipments from the boats, the docks and the warehouses to distribution centers. The increased cost in new trucks to satisfy the requirements, as well as a higher average age of the current workforce, has also driven many owner/drivers from the industry altogether. There has been a surge in owner/operators who have sold their older vehicles for whatever they could get from buyers south of the American border and pivoted to careers in other fields or retired altogether.
Simultaneously, railway infrastructure has long been ignored as a priority and now with the decrease in available trucking, railway use has seen a boom in carload traffic. But they have also struggled returning labor to the field and with excess use, wear and tear on components has fallen victim to the same supply chain issues outlined already. So, to summarize, more is being shipped to fill a large backlog of orders, but not enough to outrun the pace of demand. There are not enough workers to process the added ships. Not enough trucks or truck drivers to pick up from the ports. Not enough trains or operators to move product across country. We’re in a catch-22 so to speak and the loop seems to have no clear end.
So where does that leave you with upgrading your outdated copy machine, multi-function printer and other office equipment? Current manufacturers for copiers are not immune to these same issues we’ve been discussing here. Adding more challenges to the office equipment industry has been the global computer chip shortages affecting everything from laptops to automobiles. Some manufacturers are seeing backorders as long as 6-8 weeks on new out of box systems as being standard, and this could only get worse in the coming months.
Fortunately, Advanced Office has an alternative option to provide you with state-of-the-art technology right now. In the early Pandemic months of 2020, Advanced Office ramped up their effort on in-house Certified Pre-Owned devices. These units are highly screened with no more than 90 days prior usage before then going through a strenuous 54-point inspection and refurbishment process by highly certified technicians. Only the most recent models qualify for the program so you can be guaranteed to have the latest technology available on them. The best part, of course, is you can expect to save upwards of 50% on your cost over a new, out of the box device. So you can upgrade your fleet right now, with no delays, AND save a substantial amount of money!
So, if you’re current lease is coming to an end, or you’re needing to upgrade your system to support changes in your workflow, don’t let concerns about the global supply chain backlog stop you from starting the conversation on refreshing your copier and MFP fleet today.