How Supply Chain Issues Have Affected Printing Supplies (Delivery Times)

Submitted by Karla Metzler on Thu, 02/10/2022 - 12:49
Blue toner cartridge being inserted into the printer

As a locally managed print provider, the number one question we’ve been getting lately is something along the lines of: “Why has this product not come in yet?”  

The answer lies in the ongoing supply chain crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept through most sectors of the business world.  

The printing industry is no different. It’s not just the printers and copiers themselves that now have abnormally long delivery times, but also supplies, such as toner and ink cartridges, drum units and paper that have been significantly impacted by the effects of the supply chain crisis.   

We’ve already put together a guide covering why your printer has not come in yet. Because this is such a multi-faceted issue, though, we want to provide a separate guide to address your most pressing questions on printing supplies during the supply chain crisis that continues to obstruct companies' daily business operations on a global scale.    

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 extended delivery times.    

Why Have I Not Gotten My Printing Supplies?   

Let’s briefly go over the three main reasons why the supply chain crisis has delayed your printing supplies’ delivery time and affected the printing industry in general:   

  1. Labor Shortages   

Labor shortages have contributed immensely to the supply deficiencies of key raw materials, such as microchips.   

Last year, the Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG) commissioned a study that found that two-thirds of manufacturers are struggling to fill critical labor gaps in their workforce.    

Not having enough workers to manufacture these raw materials has caused production issues and subsequently slowed the distribution channels to assemble machines and produce supplies.   

Also central to the issue is a lack of drivers to transport the supplies to their destination. This is not only a problem domestically, but globally, as well.   

  1. Transportation Issues   

Much of the raw materials and printing supplies 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, machines and printing supplies.  

Essential printing supplies, such as toner cartridges, are stuck in cargo containers waiting to be delivered.  

As noted in the previous section, they’re not enough delivery drivers to transport the supplies in a timely fashion given the labor shortage enveloping the transportation sector.    

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

  1. Pandemic Priorities  

Other supplies, such as ink and paper, are undergoing a supply shortage as a direct result of the pandemic.  

For instance, printer inks use ethanol in their manufacturing process. Because hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies were in such high demand during the peak of the pandemic, ethanol shipments were redirected and used to make cleaning supplies instead.   

This reprioritizing explains the paper shortage, as well. The consumer need for cardboard boxes was strong at the beginning of the pandemic when many people were working from home and ordering supplies online.   

This caused paper manufacturers to gear production toward cardboard rather than printable paper, which is why there’s a shortage of paper for printing purposes today.    

When Will My Printing Supplies Be Delivered?  

Now, to your most pressing concern.     

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

On average, the delivery time of printing supplies is approximately 2-3 weeks.    

In normal times, it would take roughly 3-5 business days to get your supplies in, but as we’ve seen from our own experience, the shipping and delivery times of your product can vary. Consult your print vendor if you have further questions about the status of your delivery.   

Are There Specific Supplies That Take Longer to Come In?  

You might be wondering if certain supplies are more difficult to get a hold of because of the supply chain crisis.   

For instance, do ink cartridges get delivered faster than toner cartridges? Are there particular types of paper that come in quicker than others?    

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a clear pattern in the delivery times of certain types of supplies.   

We’ll continue to look out for trends in delivery times for specific products and update you accordingly.   

Are There Printing Supply Alternatives?  

While there are not a ton of alternative ways for you to get supplies delivered faster, some print vendors have instituted an escalation process that can potentially help expedite the delivery process of your supplies.  

If you’re a consumer who desperately needs supplies for your machine, call your print vendor and ask if they can escalate your supply order.   

As a general rule, it is not a good idea to buy supplies outside of your agreement since it will require additional service to undo the incorrect supply alignment. Additionally, you’re already paying for the supplies specified in your contract, so it's best to work with your vendor to get them shipped so you’re not paying double for your supplies.   


For Our STPT Customers 

Here are the steps you need to escalate your order: 

  1. Call Xerox to place your order and obtain your order confirmation number.  

  2. Email or call us with the confirmation number and ask for the order to be escalated. 

  3. Keep track of your order and contact us if you have any issues with your delivery. 

For your convenience, Xerox’s supply number is 1-800-822-2979-option 2 for supplies-option 1 for metered.  
Our email address is and our phone number is 1-800-569-0111-ext. 153.  

When Will Printer Delivery Times Go Back to Normal?  

Just like most issues during the supply chain crisis, it can be difficult to project a specific timeframe on potential resolutions.  

It is still vague on when printers and printing supplies' delivery times will normalize, but Xerox is projecting that supply shipments will pick back up toward customary levels by the end of the first quarter of 2022.   

However, it must be stated that this is a projected timeline and other printer manufacturers might have different timelines when it comes to normalizing delivery times.   

Any Additional Supply Chain Questions?  

We understand the frustration that comes with waiting for a delivery that would normally be automatically shipped or be in your hands the week your order was placed.  

As a local print vendor that seeks the best resolutions for its customers, we are committed to vetting out solutions and keeping you informed on the supply chain issues that have caused ripple effects throughout society at large.  

If you’re a customer who has ordered supplies that have not come in yet or are simply looking for more information on the topic, reach out to us and we’ll do our best to find a solution and inform you of your options.