Page Last Updated: 16/04/2020
First and foremost I hope you and all our customers are staying safe and are well.
Secondly, I’d like to inform you that our team here are all well, we are following all government guidance in terms of staying safe and our office and workshop team are managing well in these unique circumstances.
Overall Business Update
We are very busy, order volume in March was much higher than normal, some of our products have seen 3 - 4 times the number of average sales.
As you might expect, a lot of this volume is from people looking to setup computers and equipment to work from home. We have also seen some large orders from some of our bigger trading customers ordering kit for their employees.
Despite this massive volume increase we have coped really well and have not extended our lead times on any of our products, in-fact due to the urgent nature that some of our customers needed their kit we have got many orders built and out quicker than normal.
All of our products show an expected delivery date on the product pages and this again is shown in the basket before placing an order. These dates are all accurate, if we can get something built, tested and delivered quicker then we will do this, but we have not gone over these dates at all yet.
Supply Chain Update
In normal times we carry a small amount of stock inhouse which we replenish regularly from a network of distributors. This works well and allows us to always offer the latest tech to our customers.
Since the pandemic spread across the UK and the government advice changed to ask people to work from home if possible, sales of IT equipment in the UK has shot up. This has had a few knock on consequences which we have had to deal with:
1. Many distributors have been wiped out of stock of certain items.
One of our normal suppliers sold their entire inventory of 21.5” monitors, over 3,000, in 1 day about 2 weeks ago. Another large distributor, the main IT distributor in the UK, has not had any reasonably priced 21.5” or 24” monitors for over 10 days now.
2. Some online retailers are limiting sales of certain items.
Distributors sell only to the trade however you get a lot of online retailers who will sell to the public and to other businesses. Quite a number of these have started limiting sales of things like monitors and some components to just 1 or 2 per customer to avoid running out of stock.
3. Price gouging is definitely happening.
Some online retailers placed orders for monitors and computer components early with the distributors, this is why many have been cleaned out of stock. They have then put up their prices as they know there is no supply anywhere else. It’s like those selfish people who have been panic buying all the bread and toilet roll, except these guys are profiteering off it.
We have seen a couple of online retailers adding £30 - £40 per monitor. One of the Intel processors we buy went up at one online supplier by £100 in the space of a day, and I’ve heard that some laptop prices have jumped up by hundreds of pounds.
These guys should be shut down.
4. Some businesses just can’t cope.
Many suppliers have added a day on to their lead times which is to be expected and is understandable.
One supplier we use regularly have literally gone into meltdown. They struggle to keep orders flowing at quiet times and it seems like they have given up at the minute. The problem is they seem to have a monopoly on certain components and are running on a 6 day dispatch time, despite claiming to customers that everything is running normally on their website...
Our Position on Stock & Pricing
Due to the above we have had no choice but to bring in greater stock levels of monitors and computer components, this has seen us able to complete and fulfill every order that has come in so far on our normal build and dispatch schedule.
Despite the cost of some components increasing almost immediately we managed to hold all of our pricing at pre-Covid-19 levels until mid April.
Unfortunately this can’t continue forever.
Looking at our latest buy pricing for components the cost to put together an average computer has jumped by £80 - £100. This is due to component price increases, £20 extra on a motherboard, £25 more on a processor, power supplies have doubled in price, etc… Even a Windows license cost has gone up over £10 this month...
Virtually every item we use to build a computer has risen in cost since the start of the lockdown / work from home period in the UK.
Update (16/04/2020): Our Pro, Ultra, Charter & Trader PC's have all had a small price increase of £50 per computer, this is less than our costs have gone up.
We will continue to keep an eye on supply pricing and may be adjusting pricing on other computers over the coming days / weeks.
Monitors are the next items that are likely to see price rises. Once our stock has been depleted our buy prices are going to skyrocket, we simply can’t sell items at a loss so our pricing is going to have to increase.
This may be in the next day or so depending on orders coming in.
Update (04/04/2020): Due to increased demand our existing stocks of Acer 21.5" screens have been depleted. We have moved to bring in more stock however we have had to increase the price by £10 per screen.
Stock of Acer 24" is still good and we have had no price increases on these screens and won't until our current stock is exhausted.
Our Synergy Stand product is our own unique stand solution which we designed in house and have manufactured just for our use.
As we do not have to purchase these off distributors or anyone else our pricing will remain unaffected throughout this unique period in time.
Short Term Outlook
We fully intend to keep operating and running until we are categorically told by the government that we must close. Our small team is fully onboard with this and with a bit of luck we can’t see this changing.
If some of the larger distributors or retailers shut, or the courier network in the UK is shutdown (something I can’t see happening, but who really knows what may happen over the coming weeks) then our hands may be tied.
My honest advice to anyone considering a purchase would be to order sooner rather than later, this will avoid any potential issues with the supply chain worsening, price increases, or delivery issues.
If you have any questions just let us know, our office team are working remotely and can handle any enquiries you may have about stock or simply computer related questions.
Finally, for our existing customers, support levels remain the same as ever. If you have any questions or problems about your existing kit just get in touch as normal by phone or email and we will respond in our normal timely manner.
Stay safe everyone and let us know if we can be of any further assistance.
Written by Darren @ Multiple Monitors
Last Updated: April, 2020