I need to buy technology hardware, but I understand the supply chain is strained. What should I be considering as I plan my purchase?

Kent State’s Information Systems & Computing team has offered the guidance included below with respect to the impact of COVID-19 to the technology supply chain. Purchasing Services supports this guidance, and is available to assist technology buyers as needed. To reach the team for support, please contact sourcing@upenn.edu.

ISC expects continuing delays in technology fulfillment for the next quarter, with the major contributing factor being (COVID-19). Though various entities at Kent State will work to manage these shortages, they will manifest themselves in many cases as both restricted availability and extended lead times for technology products relevant to the University and its constituents.

The Computer Connection, Purchasing Services, our preferred providers, ISC, and various other constituents across campus have been working to understand and mitigate these issues for over a month now. In some ways, matters related to COVID-19 are an extension of the already existing Intel processor shortages (which continue) and tariff-related challenges that we’ve been tracking since 2018. However, it is affecting portions of the entire technology supply chain—examples include memory, storage, networking equipment, accessories, and mobile devices.

University constituents have communicated with AMD, Apple, Dell, Graybar, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, and other companies about these issues. The Computer Connection has modified several of its stocking strategies, and the University is moving forward with identifying where there is meaningful differentiation in upcoming products and where it makes sense to proceed with what is currently available. We’re also mindful of buying patterns driven both by new product releases and by the timing of Kent State’s fiscal year.

There remain many unknowns, as there are with anything related to COVID-19. What seems inevitable is that the availability of specific products will continue to be unpredictable, influenced by assembly locations, component availability, and other factors.

Where possible, ISC suggests planning for purchases with a more extended time window than usual. Also, where possible, notify others in the supply chain of your purchasing plans.