Supply chain shortages have presented numerous challenges for office machine dealers and their customers. Manufacturing delays due to shortages in essential parts and components have led to months-long backlogs. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find the copiers and printers you need to keep your business running.
As our president and CEO Dave Bishop explains in the following interview, Bishop Business is in an excellent position to meet the needs of our customers, despite supply chain woes. As a large, independent dealer, we have access to products and parts around the country. We’re able to provide more options for our customers than any manufacturer’s branch.
Here’s a closer look at how supply chain issues are affecting the copier/printer market and how Bishop Business can help you find the products and parts you need to keep your business running.
How has the supply chain shortage affected Bishop Business?
DAVE: Supply chain issues are certainly real, and Bishop Business has experienced it firsthand. We had hoped supply chain problems would have gotten better at this point, but there seems to be no end in sight.
As for how we’ve been directly affected, copiers, printers, and parts have been trickling in, which has led to longer lead times for some customers. Most of the time, these delays are due to shortages in components. For example, a copier that’s otherwise ready to ship may be waiting on a microchip. Or, a copier may be ready to ship, but it’s missing its feeder or sorting machine. These are the types of supply chain issues we’ve seen recently.
That being said, Bishop Business is in a much better position than manufacturers’ branch offices to handle these issues. We work with three manufacturers, which means we can often source a solution for a customer from another brand. We also have access to pre-owned machines, which are lifesavers for many of our customers.
How is Bishop Business working around supply chain issues?
DAVE: First of all, we’re being upfront with our customers about the reality of purchasing new machines in the current environment. We’re transparent about delivery times and always offer alternatives. Pre-owned machines can be good options for customers. Many machines have low mileage due to slowdowns during the pandemic, which has extended the life of many copiers and printers. So a company may choose to go with a pre-owned machine rather than buying new. Other times, we may recommend a company extend the lease on their current machines if they are in good working order. Because of these creative solutions, most of our customers are not experiencing downtime due to supply chain delays.
Another advantage we’ve had over some other dealers is that Toshiba, one of our manufacturers, has a plant in South Dakota. So, we’ve been able to continue to provide consistent toner deliveries to most of our customers when other dealers are waiting on toner from overseas.
What are your predictions about the future of the supply chain for copiers and printers?
DAVE: Last fall, experts predicted supply chain issues wouldn’t be resolved until late 2022, and it appears they were right! We’re definitely still dealing with supply chain shortages. Add to that the global fuel price increases and inflation, and we expect supply chain issues will continue to be a concern.
However, I’m excited to see that COVID-19 is dissipating and people are getting back to work. We’ve got the supplies and the parts to keep customers’ machines running and offices functioning.
What do you recommend customers do to avoid supply chain issues?
DAVE: Be sure to look at your needs well in advance. If your lease on your copier or printer is expiring within nine months, you want to reach out to us now. It will take you a few months to decide on your next machine and another three to six months for that machine to arrive.
I also highly recommend that companies do some long-range planning. Don’t assume the supply chain shortage will get better quickly. Take a look at your long-term equipment needs and get your orders in sooner than when you predict you’ll need it.
Of course, I also recommend that you make sure your dealer will be able to fill your orders. Bishop Business is a large, independent dealer with access to several manufacturers’ products. This gives us a lot of flexibility in finding solutions for our customers. If you’re on the hunt for new office machines, I recommend you work with an independent dealer like Bishop. You can get in touch with us at bbec.com or give us a call at 402-537-8000.