How to limit the impact of the global supply chain crisis

By Carmen Ene, CEO of 3stepIT and BNP Paribas 3 Step IT - March 03, 2022

The IT industry is in the middle of a perfect storm. At a time when many businesses are undergoing major digital transformations, IT procurement is facing new challenges.  Another new year has rolled around and it would be understandable if you didn’t feel ready to roll out of bed and get back in to it. 2021 was another uncertain year and it’s clear 2022 has more surprises around the corner.


The links in the global IT supply chain are broken. In the wake of the pandemic, logistics and transport companies are battling against container shortages, order backlogs and congestion at international ports. This has resulted in long delays to deliveries and rising costs. 


Linked to this, is a global electronic chip shortage. Today, chips are in just about everything, from mobile phones and laptops to cars and smart household devices. Manufacturers are not able to keep up with the rising demand and are having difficulty accessing the raw materials they need for production. 


And as all this goes on, the pandemic has also triggered the most widespread digital transformation of businesses that we’ve ever seen. Organisations worldwide are still remaking themselves to support new hybrid workforces, with 81% of companies saying the pandemic caused them to buy new tech and the number of devices per employee up 14% on pre-pandemic levels. A shift towards the cloud and the 5G network is also adding pressure to an already challenged industry. 


The result for many businesses is long delays to orders on IT hardware, which can be difficult to manage inside an organisation that is adapting to new ways of working. 


We’ve been privileged to work closely with our customers over the last two years to meet some of the business challenges the pandemic has thrown at us all. Here’s four things we’re talking about at the moment, as we tackle this next challenge together. 


Planning ahead 

Order times that were once 2-3 weeks can now take months, so we’re encouraging customers to think strategically about their business and IT needs over the short and long term. It’s the perfect opportunity to build a sustainable IT strategy that responds to the evolving needs of your business and the external pressures it’s facing. 


Being brand agnostic 

The chip shortage and supply chain interruptions are set to linger throughout 2022 and IT procurement will inevitably need to prioritise availability over other factors. Regardless of the circumstances, we believe an organisation should have the freedom to choose the make and models of IT devices that work best for them. This means choosing supplier that allow you to switch easily to new brands if your first choice isn’t available. 


Considering refurbished  

The global market for refurbished computers is projected to grow 11% in the next decade to $USD8 billion. And while there’s no doubt the latest tech can offer a business competitive edge, there are also strong use cases for refurbished IT in the right circumstances. Reuse not only helps meet supply challenges, but it also has an important environmental impact. Our refurbishing centres produced over half a million devices last year, with 98% of end-of-contract devices being resold to a new user. 


Switching to the cloud 

Many businesses have already made a big leap to new workplace technologies that allow employees to collaborate online. These platforms rely more heavily on a stable connection than the latest hardware, which can reduce an organisation’s reliance on new devices, build IT resilience and help weather some of the delays being experienced. 


The global operating environment remains unprecedented and it’s likely we’ll continue to experience the far-reaching effects of the pandemic for many years to come. We’re in daily contact with businesses who are grappling to transform and, at the same time, ensure the continuity of their operations. These challenges are significant, but with careful planning and foresight and by working closely with experts they can be overcome.  


There’s also a lot to be hopeful for - when this phase of workplace transformation is delivered, we will all be part of a new world of work, one which prioritises flexibility, productivity and the wellbeing of our teams.


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