Overcoming Printing Supply Chain Issues

Supply chain issues have been a recurring problem for the last couple years, and there’s evidence these issues will continue to create challenges on the business and personal levels. While these issues have plagued every industry from food, to tourism, to technology, its impact on the printing industry is not so obvious–though equally important. Here’s where to show concerns for supply chain issues, and where you won’t have any problem meeting demand.

Printers and the Supply Chain

The biggest issue in supply chains when it comes to printers is a computer microchip used to program the printer that is produced only in a few factories in China, which have had to shut down or experienced prolonged labor shortages. Additionally, the lack of raw materials and slow shipping times have seen customers waiting in excess of an extra six months for their machines, no matter the size.

With US initiatives to increase domestic chip production, this supply chain should be more resilient in the future (though those production methods are a few years out from completion). In addition, most experts are expecting the original issues to be resolved by summer. If you’re waiting for a printer, the end of this nightmare is in sight!

Ink and Toner Cartridges

Ink and toner cartridges are no strangers to the shortages that have come with the supply chain issues, albeit not as severely, with wait times being extra days or weeks, rather than months. This part of the industry seems to have bounced back quicker than the actual machines that use them, however, and are already back to almost full capacity. However, there’s no telling if future supply chain issues will affect ink and toner cartridges in the same way, with so many being produced in China and Japan.

Creating Resilience For Yourself

Whether you’re an individual with printing needs or are in charge of keeping your business or organization supplied with the necessary printing materials, these supply chain issues can be a threat to financial and mental well being. Here’s some ways to create resilience in your printing supplies stock:

  • Buy Early. Don’t wait until your ink or toner has run out or until you get the “10% remaining” warning. Look at your average monthly print usage and try to order at least a month in advance. If you anticipate needing a new printer within the next year, start looking before your lease is up or your printer is kaput.
  • Buy Bulk. If buying early isn’t appealing to you, try buying bulk–a year’s supply all at once. You may have to wait longer to receive the shipment, but you won’t have to deal with the headache for a whole year, by which time supply chain issues should be resolved.
  • Buy Domestic. Buying from US-based brands (like HP) can cut down on wait times and product availability. Some of their components are still created overseas, but with the bulk being handled in the US, wait times and availability tend to be better.
  • Buy Remanufactured. Since these cartridges have already been created, the time it takes to get them back to market is faster and they’re more easily shipped on time.
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