How Supply Chain Issues Have Affected Your Printer's Delivery Time

Submitted by Karla Metzler on Thu, 02/10/2022 - 22:36
A printer next to a plant and a pencil holder

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely wondering why the printer/copier you ordered three months ago has yet to be delivered.   

It’s more than likely that the delay you’re experiencing with your printer has caused you more stress than you ever thought imaginable when buying office equipment.   

There’s a reason you ordered a new printer. Maybe you were long overdue for an upgrade. Maybe your work team increased. Or worst of all, maybe your old printer broke beyond repair, and you ordered a new one out of enraged necessity.    

Whatever the reasoning, the machine hasn’t been delivered, and now something as simple as printing, scanning and copying has become a central issue in your workplace when it should be a basic afterthought.  

We hear you, and we understand.    

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing supply chain crisis have caused great upheaval in businesses across all different sectors of society.     

The printing industry is not exempt from the supply chain issues that have engulfed industries and rattled customers who’ve been forced to bear the consequences of an issue that has become rampant on a global scale.   

Supply chain shortages have greatly affected the printing industry and it has become the predominant complaint we’ve received as a local print vendor.   

Because of this, we’ve put together a guide to answer your most pressing questions, hopefully alleviating some stress in the process by better informing you on what you should expect when purchasing a printer during these trying times.      

Since we deal with Xerox products, we’re going to be using our experience with Xerox during the supply chain crisis as a reference to help answer these questions. However, the entire printing industry has been affected by supply chain issues, so it’s likely that printing vendors across the world are dealing with similar problems when it comes to the supply chain.    

Why Are Printers Taking So Long to Come In?  

This was touched upon in the introduction, but let’s briefly go over the main reasons why the supply chain crisis has delayed your machine’s delivery time and affected the printing industry in general:  

  1. Lack of Raw Materials  

The supply of essential raw materials, such as microchips, has been greatly reduced because of the pandemic’s impact on production. During the height of the pandemic in 2020, suppliers were either forced to shut down or significantly reduce production.  

When businesses began to open back up, the demand for raw materials was profuse, and because of slow reopening efforts and staff shortages, meeting the heightened demand for materials has swamped manufacturers across the globe, causing a deficit in supplies.  

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey conducted last August, almost 39% of small businesses reported domestic supplier delays. Manufacturing (64.6%) was the sector that made up the highest percentage of domestic supplier reductions.     

  1. Labor Shortages  

As mentioned previously, labor shortages have contributed to the supply deficiencies of raw materials. Last year, the Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG) commissioned a study that found that two-thirds of manufacturers are struggling to fill critical labor gaps.  

Not having enough workers to manufacture these raw materials has caused production issues and subsequently slowed the distribution channels to assemble printers/copiers.  

  1. Transportation Issues  

Much of the raw materials and printers that you find in the United States are imported from foreign manufacturers.    

This explains why transportation problems have contributed to massive slowdowns in the delivery of raw materials and machines.    

Because a vast majority of consumer printers are made in Southeast Asia, slowdowns in transportation caused by the pandemic have greatly reduced shipping efficiency and caused delays in the arrival of products.  

As of January 16, transportation and warehousing is the sixth-highest affected industry by the pandemic in the country, according to the Census Bureau’s database.   

When Will My Printer Be Delivered?   

Now, to answer your most pressing question.  

To attempt to give a specific answer to the question of when your machine will get delivered, we’ve calculated an approximate average wait time for customers who have ordered a Xerox machine during the supply chain crisis by using our internal knowledge of shipping and delivery times.    

Currently, the average wait time for new Xerox products ordered is approximately 120 days.   

This differs drastically from pre-pandemic delivery times when it took approximately 2-4 weeks to deliver and install a new machine.   

Read our blog about what to expect from the delivery process of your printer for more information on how the delivery day will go.

Do Certain Printers Get In Before Others?  

You might be thinking to yourself: “All I ordered was a simple, single-function machine that weighs no more than 30 pounds. How has this not come in yet?”  

Well, unfortunately, it doesn’t matter about the size or type of machine when it comes to the supply shortage.   

The lack of raw materials and sluggish transportation have caused a fluctuation in the delivery process of both large and small printers.  

Because of this, there’s no real discernable pattern on whether one machine will get delivered quicker than another.   

What are the Alternatives?   

Luckily, there are a few alternatives for you if you can’t afford to wait for your new machine any longer. Here are a few of the options:  

  1. Trading In Your Printer    

If you purchased or leased a new machine from the same printing vendor that you used to buy or lease your old machine, most companies will allow you to keep and maintain your current trade-in while you wait for your new machine to arrive.

Read our blog about how trading in your printer could benefit your organization to learn more. 

   2.  Buying a Used Printer  

Maybe you bought a machine from a different printing vendor, or your old machine is unrepairable, an option that has become increasingly more prevalent is buying a used machine. To find out more about the quality and availability of used machines, consult your local printing vendor, and find out if buying a used printer is the best option for you.  

Read our blog about the pros and cons of buying a used printer to learn more.

  1. Renting a Printer  

Some printing vendors have been giving customers the option to temporarily rent a machine. This would be an option for consumers whose machines broke down and are in desperate need of a replacement. This is another scenario where you would need to reach out to your printing vendor and see if they are currently renting out machines for temporary use.   

Read our blog about what you need to know when renting a printer to learn more.

When Will Delivery Times Normalize?    

With so many factors contributing to the slow delivery times, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact time on when manufacturing will pick up and transportation proceeds back to standard times.   

All indicators tend to lean toward a gradual return to normalcy by this summer.   

Of course, because of the multitude of factors that go into the process of making, shipping and delivering units in the printing industry, this projected timeline shouldn’t be taken as a guarantee and is rather a rough estimate for consumers who may be in the market for a new machine this year.   

For customers who have already ordered a machine, this does not mean you’ll have to wait until the summer to get your printer. Check your estimated delivery time or call your local vendor to determine the status of your delivery for your machine.   

Need a Short-Term Printing Solution In the Meantime? 

As a printing vendor that strives for the best outcome for its customers, it is incredibly frustrating dealing with elongated wait times that have resulted from the supply chain crisis.    

We know it’s even more maddening for you as the customer to have to wait for a machine you purchased months ago to get delivered.   

The pandemic has altered life in many ways, and the printing industry, like most sectors, has been compelled to find alternative solutions for its customers while delivery times remain stagnant.  

If you’re a customer who has ordered a machine that hasn't come in yet or you need a short-term replacement, reach out to us and we’ll do our best to find a solution and inform you of your options.