We are starting to see the effects COVID-19 is causing on the IT supply chain. PC and laptop inventories were already constrained thanks to the 2019Q4 surge in orders caused by businesses that waited until the 11th hour to order Windows10 replacements for their Windows7 systems due to the Windows7 end-of-support deadline in January 2020. As a result, we’ve seen a lead time ranging from two to six weeks on these items since November, extending the lead time required for Suite3 to schedule related projects.
However, we are now seeing zero-quantity availability for nearly all Dell, HP, Lenovo, and other business-grade laptops and desktops through primary IT distribution channels. Dell has posted estimated ship dates on some devices for as soon as next week on their web site, but we would imagine their build-to-order available inventory will be constrained soon as well. Suite3 placed an emergency order for two dozen laptops on Thursday 3/12 to have for available inventory to sell to clients, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the estimated delivery date were to be postponed. Laptops have become the “toilet paper” of the IT world – the commodity that everyone has run to procure due to this virus.
In addition, we’re starting to see delays on networking infrastructure items, as well. For example, we have a couple of clients awaiting 48-port PoE switches currently on back order needed as part of Voice-over IP phone system implementation projects. Possible replacement switches are available, but in low quantities.
Therefore, we ask clients to expect delays on materials procurement until COVID-19 runs it’s course and the supply chain returns to normal. Those of us old enough to remember find this situation eerily similar to the three months or so following 9/11. This will be a similar experience from a materials availability standpoint as the world adjusts to the new “normal”.
Suite3 will do our best to help our clients through this tumultuous time. Keep calm, and compute on.