Many IT professionals are experiencing unusually long lead times to receive server, storage, and network equipment. These extremely long lead times are driven by several factors, including the COVID pandemic, chip shortages, IT supply chain disruptions, and even international trade tensions.
At the same time, in many parts of the world office buildings are shutting down and increasing numbers of employees are permanently working remotely. As a result of these office closures, there is often large amounts of enterprise IT equipment that is no longer needed, but due to rigid OEM sales processes and other supply chain problems, this excess equipment is not being redistributed to the other companies and regions that desperately need it. These circumstances keep IT professionals and their equipment vendors in the same difficult predicament.
In this article, we discuss current IT supply chain problems, as well as some of the best ways IT professionals can manage these challenges when it comes to having the networking equipment they need to keep their operations running smoothly.
Understanding Supply Chain Challenges with Networking Equipment
The COVID pandemic triggered a chain reaction that’s still rippling through the international supply chain. Early in the pandemic, manufacturing facilities were forcibly closed in many locations around the world. These closures caused production delays and subsequent labor and equipment backlogs that wreaked havoc across many industries, including high-tech IT manufacturing. Simultaneously, a shortage of transistor “chips” required to manufacture most IT devices further crippled manufacturing across many regions and product sectors.
However, as these supply-side disruptions are taking place, there is a mixed picture evolving on the demand side. While many offices are closing and shifting to a remote workforce, there are also many companies experiencing more demand than ever for network equipment! For the latter group, these companies desperately need network equipment, and they need it to be delivered quickly. The best companies to connect sellers of surplus IT equipment to buyers who critically need the equipment have been those with established and trusted supply chains outside the traditional OEM manufacturing channels.
Top Ways to Manage Supply Chain Challenges for Networking Equipment
Here are some of the most effective ways IT professionals can manage the supply chain challenges currently facing the IT market:
- Reset Your Budget Expectations. In more normal times, CTOs were able to simply add 10% to the operating budget of the prior year. With today’s supply chain challenges, ten percent may not be sufficient considering the higher costs of equipment, shipping, and other factors. CTOs will need to plan for much higher budget estimates because of the increased costs when sourcing hard-to-find equipment. Moreover, if you need the equipment quickly, you will have to pay higher than normal prices to expedite purchase and delivery, especially for many popular or hard-to-find items right now, like newer generation WiFi6 wireless access points.
- Plan 12 Months Out. It’s best to start considering your hardware requirements as soon as possible so you can plan for what you’ll be needing 12 months out. Once you’ve created your plan, talk with suppliers and colleagues in your industry to get a sense of the realistic lead time. Many companies have been waiting over a year for equipment, some of which is just now being delivered, and many orders are still being pushed out.
- Use an Alternative Network Architecture. In many cases, there are multiple ways to build a network. If equipment isn’t readily available for the network architecture you intended, you can consider an alternative approach using immediately available equipment that achieves the same result.
- Postpone Network Deployments. Many network deployments are foundational including those at the core of your data center. However, there are other network deployments that can be postponed without significantly hurting your business. While not ideal, deferment may be the only option if the necessary equipment isn’t available.
- Switch Vendors. Not all vendors are capable of meeting customer demands amidst these supply chain difficulties. If you’re currently working with a vendor with limited experience and or rigid OEM lead times, it may be time to consider making a switch to a more experienced vendor with stronger supply chains and access to alternative sourcing channels.
Curvature is Uniquely Positioned to Help You Weather the Supply Chain Storm
Given the current supply chain challenges, IT professionals want a trusted partner with lots of experience. At Curvature, we have decades of experience navigating challenges in the IT supply chain. With our vast network of OEMs, we’re able to source hard-to-find equipment for our customers at a moment’s notice.
We help you keep your network running with optimal performance by providing you with cost-effective equipment replacement options. Our networking equipment inventory is well-stocked and always available at our distribution centers around the world (AMER, EMEA, and APAC).
This global reach gives you the peace of mind of Next Business Day (NBD) shipments to nearly anywhere in the world. Plus, we provide a limited lifetime warranty on almost all our products. Moreover, Curvature’s Professional Services, through Park Place Technologies, will install and set-up your new networking equipment and then provide ongoing world-class third-party maintenance so that you enjoy maximum network uptime.
For more information on finding the right networking equipment to meet your requirements, reach out to Curvature today!