How to Maintain IT Operations Despite Supply Chain Challenges

Your IT department is likely dependent on a steady inflow of the correct hardware, devices, and peripherals. Thanks to supply chain issues, some of these assets are now harder to acquire, both because they’re more expensive and because they’re less available.

How can you make sure your ID department continues operating efficiently and consistently in spite of these supply chain challenges?

Procure Early and Proactively

In the realm of IT sourcing and procurement, you need to procure early and proactively. Even if you have a somewhat reliable supplier working in partnership with you, there’s no guarantee they’re going to have what you need when you need it.

Don’t wait to reactively purchase what you need when you’re already in the middle of a crisis. Instead, keep a close eye on your network performance and hardware conditions, and try to buy your new assets proactively.

This system can help you do it more consistently:

  • Identify core requirements. Have tools and processes in place that allow you to identify the core requirements of your organization as proactively as possible. For example, you can set automatic alerts when certain elements of your infrastructure reach a certain age or certain performance thresholds. At what point should you be prepared to replace them?
  • Find reliable suppliers with global distributions. The more reliable your supplier is, the easier it will be to get what you need. Look for a reliable supplier with a global distribution, so you have a much better chance of finding available hardware when you’re ready to purchase.
  • Look for discounts. Don’t forget to look for extra discounts. Just because there are supply chain issues doesn’t mean you should overpay for your IT resources.
  • Find backup vendors. Perhaps most importantly, spend some time looking for backup vendors. Even the most reliable vendors experience occasional shortages and distribution issues, so it’s important to have alternative vendors you can fall back on.

Practice Effective Prioritization (and Cut Strategically)

Work with your IT department to practice effective prioritization. Which devices and resources are most integral to your business operations? Which ones serve less important functions? If you had to make a cut, what would you cut first?

Hopefully, you won’t have to make any cuts, but when it comes time to restructure your network or make a tough decision, you’ll be ready to start with the lowest priorities.

Focus on Talent

Effective talent management can help you minimize the pain of supply chain challenges, and for a few different reasons. For starters, if you have better people working for you, they’re going to be able to make maximum use of your existing resources. In most cases, it’s true that better tools lead to better outcomes, but talented individuals can make things work even with minimal or suboptimal setups.

Additionally, having better people on your IT team means you’ll have a better shot at finding reliable suppliers and maintaining consistent, proactive processes for purchasing new equipment. Dependable, adaptable, smart people on your team will negate some of the biggest disadvantages of our current supply chain environment.

Be Willing to Change Vendor Preferences

Earlier in this article, we mentioned the importance of having backup vendors. But it’s also important to remain flexible enough to change your primary vendor – and shake up your vendor preferences overall. Too many entrepreneurs and IT department heads would rather maintain the status quo and suffer through temporary inefficiencies than gamble on her change that might not pay off. But most of the time, it’s better to make a change.

Shop Used

Organizations often prioritize new technology over used technology, and it’s easy to see why. New technology is perceived as being more reliable, has a longer lifespan, and usually comes with more bells and whistles.

However, buying used can be beneficial for many reasons. For starters, you’ll face less buying competition; fewer organizations are actively shopping for used equipment, so you may be more likely to find what you’re looking for. On top of that, used technology is generally much cheaper than new technology, so you’ll save money in the process.

Repair, Rather Than Replacing

Instead of replacing a piece of equipment when it stops working, consider attempting to repair it. Sometimes, replacing a relatively inexpensive element, like a graphics card or RAM, is all it takes to restore the device to its previous functional state. Of course, you may still face some supply chain challenges in sourcing these parts, but you’ll save money, save time, and on average, face fewer issues.

Your IT department doesn’t have to collapse just because the world is experiencing supply chain disruptions. These strategies can help you remain efficient and consistent, regardless of how supply chains are operating.

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