There’s no denying that the pandemic has changed the world as we know it. With more health and safety measures coming into play, we’re seeing a transformation of our daily lives on a massive scale.
This pertains to the economy as well, as rising inflation and soaring prices in almost every part of the world mean everything is getting more expensive by the day.
For electronics, we have it especially bad. The year 2020 brought with it a wave of microchip shortage that continues to persist well into the next few years. This means that new devices that come out are going to be priced astronomically high.
The reason for this extreme inflation is the dwindling resources required to produce them and the increasing demand to own them. The only alternatives here are to either produce cheaper products or repair/repurpose older ones.
Repair shops may see continued business with the recent developments, but this could also spell troubles in the future. Here’s why we feel more problems might be on the way.
Let’s say a customer comes into a repair shop to have their phone fixed. You pull up your cell repair shop software and are ready to enter them in for a repair. But the system shows that you don’t have the part that’s needed. What do you do?
That’s one of the problems that could rear its ugly head now. Because the chip shortage is hitting every industry hard, there are fewer parts to go around. It may be surprising to learn that the microcontrollers used in your geek iPhone repair are the same ones that are used in your car too. This means that there are eventually going to be fewer devices put into production, driving up the cost even more.
Supply Chain Problems
The issue doesn’t just deal with the production of devices, but also of the supply chain. Since fewer devices are being made, fewer deliveries will be made as well. So if you order some parts, tools, accessories, or devices from your vendor using your repair shop software, you’re ultimately going to face longer waiting times.
The supply chain is adversely affected for a number of reasons – companies have scaled down their production cycles, other items are being transported instead, costs of transporting goods are rising, etc. A lot of factors dealing with macroeconomics come into play here, and it has upset the global supply chain to quite an extent. Even with companies rushing to produce new hardware that is affordable, having supply chain troubles means that the issue of the chip shortage will be further compounded.
What Can Be Done?
The multitude of issues surrounding the chip shortage has been a real problem for the global economy. However, measures are being taken to bring the situation back to normal.
Currently, chip manufacturers like TSMC are expanding their operations and opening up more sites for manufacturing. While this is a solution that will take time before kicking into full gear, it will help alleviate the situation immensely.
For repair shops, the problem can be managed by venturing into other avenues of business. Offering pre-owned and refurbished devices for sale is a great way to capitalize on the chip shortage. The reason for this is that people will be willing to settle for a device that works instead of the latest and greatest. Adding them to your repair shop software and selling them just like any other device would be simple and easy.
You can also bundle together services to have people come in for maintenance instead of full-blown repairs. For example, offering PC servicing options where you replace the thermal paste on CPUs and GPUs will help you gain a steady stream of customers. It helps especially when you advertise it as a service that will bring old devices back to life or speed up their computers.
Finally, one of the things that can be done as a failsafe is to add an online mode of repair as well. In the event that more variants of the COVID-19 virus start spreading forcing businesses to close down, an online cloud-based system for your repair shop can help save the day. Using cloud-based repair shop software can help you to continue taking orders even when your store is closed.
The Continuing Struggle
While measures can be taken to recover from the adverse effects of the pandemic, there are still concerns that we will need to consider.
Firstly, almost all of the solutions that will help stabilize the current situation need time to come into play. If TSMC – one of the world’s largest chip manufacturers – is building a manufacturing site, it will take its time to become operational. Building a new site, installing machinery, setting up a supply chain, hiring workers, getting everything lined up – all of this will take time to materialize, which is why the company hopes to be operational in 2024. That is a long time, indeed.
In the meantime, rising prices all over the world will be making it more difficult to provide quality products at an affordable price. Because the supply chain will cost more to remain operational in the interim, the cost will be passed down to consumers, who will ultimately end up paying the price. This will make items a lot more expensive, thereby increasing the inflation rate and buckling the economy.
On the repair side of things, companies like Apple have been pushing against regulation to allow the right to repair laws to be enacted. They do this by a mix of lobbying in government and creating internal policies that stifle income opportunities for independent repair businesses. Fortunately, the global community has become a lot more aware of the right to repair movement and has been actively working on enforcing laws that benefit the consumer, so you can easily provide provisions and stock parts in your repair shop software for once-unimaginable services.
The pandemic certainly has made every form of business a tough one. Repair shops are no exception. With the imminent threat of businesses closing down if things get bad, combined with the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage, repair shops will continue to be adversely affected the longer the pandemic continues.
Fortunately, efforts are being made to turn the situation around, and if all goes well, we may go back to the way things were before 2020. It might take a while, but with careful planning and smart decisions, we can get there for sure.