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Dell warns of order delays; tech buyers worry about IT supply chain

Tech buyers feared the coronavirus pandemic could rattle IT supply chains. Meanwhile, Dell warned customers of delays in fulfilling orders on time.

Tech buyers in heavily regulated industries were concerned about shortages as the global IT supply chain trembled from the impact of the spreading coronavirus. Meanwhile, Dell warned customers that it might not fulfill orders on time.

In an email sent Monday to U.S. customers, computer maker Dell said it was having difficulty meeting delivery dates. The company said its suppliers were experiencing "extended delays" in shipping processors, memory and other components.

Also, Dell's and partners' fulfillment centers were still recovering from the tornadoes that swept through Tennessee March 3, killing 25 people.

"Due to the events listed above, most systems and configurations have been impacted, causing delays on production and fulfillment," said Brittany Moore, a Dell sales account manager.

Dell asked customers to provide information on timetables of projects involving data center gear or more than five laptops or desktops. "This ensures we can work together and make sure that we stick as close as possible to your companies' go-live date and keep productivity at an all-time high," Moore said.

Tech buyers worry about supplies

One tech buyer nervous about the availability of technology, in general, was Edewaa Foster, operations supervisor at the Black Oak Casino Resort in Tuolumne, Calif. Foster said a lot of the casino's IT gear, such as its 700 video surveillance cameras, keeps the resort compliant with government regulations. So, there are no plans to cut IT spending.

However, what worries Foster is whether the casino can get the equipment from vendors having difficulty getting products through their supply chains.

"That's going to be our biggest hurdle," he said. "If we need IT equipment, then we're going to purchase IT equipment unless something catastrophic happens, and we need to stop everything."

Aaron Miri, the CIO at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas Health, Austin, echoed Foster's concerns. Miri said the demand for IT equipment has risen at his organization because more nonclinical staff are working from home.

Therefore, his biggest worry is the pandemic's impact on IT inventories. "It may not be so much on the buyer side … as it is the availability of supplies," Miri said.

IDC predicted last week a "significant slowdown" in IT spending as the pandemic shook all sectors of the world economy, including supply chains, trade and business planning. As a result, IDC said its original forecast in February of 4.3% growth for 2020 could fall to 1%.

"The situation is extremely fluid," said Stephen Minton, VP of IDC's customer insights and analysis group, in a statement. "Things could get worse, but hopefully not."

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