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Edtech Supply and Demand Impacts Schools Nationwide
Beware of unethical vendors taking advantage of the current global situation. It has come to our attention that some vendors are using unrealistic assurances to secure more customers.
A straight look at the real picture.
Many schools are still waiting on devices they ordered in months ago. Complaints from parents, local public officials and school board members are placing extreme pressure on school IT officials to secure the devices by any means necessary.
Under such pressure and hearing promises for quicker delivery, some schools have jumped from one ship to another by switching manufacturers or resellers. Those false promises have placed schools in a worse situation. An article in USA Today cites one district that switched manufacturers after being promised they would receive the devices before the first day of school in August. That delivery date was ultimately pushed back to September and then to October.
According to an Associated Press article on the plight of K-12 schools looking to implement remote learning, “Lenovo, Dell and HP have told school districts they have a shortage of nearly 5 million laptops.”
That’s a very long line.
The truth is the backlog for laptops and Chromebooks is much higher. Even under optimum conditions, manufacturers are only able to produce a finite number of devices per month. However, those production numbers have decreased because of multiple factors such as: workforce, health and safety restrictions, availability of components, and shipping. Currently the shortage of computer processors is a major driving force behind delivery delays.
The whole world is vying for devices from the same supply pool. Jumping ship for one that claims to have more cargo only puts you in the back of the line.
We wish that we could magically solve this global supply issue and personally deliver devices to every child. Unfortunately, at this point, the best thing we can do is keep you informed by telling it to you straight.
“We pledge to provide honest, accurate and transparent communication to all customers.” Marc Netka, CEO, STS Education
STS Education stands ready to assist you and your community with resources to help make informed decisions and solutions for meeting education goals.
Tip Sheet: Adapting to Limited Supply
Navigating the sea of supply and demand can be treacherous during bad conditions. And, the current backlog of laptops and Chromebooks is not clearing up anytime soon.
Here are 6 tips to help you avoid running aground while still sailing toward your destination.
1. Ignore False Promises
No reseller or vendor has access to a secret stash of computers. Every device being received is tied to an existing customer order. Some schools are placing orders based on verbal assurances from some resellers that devices can be delivered in 6-8 weeks. Given current demand and production, a more honest and practical timeline is 10-12 weeks. Have an honest conversation with your vendor to set expectations before you place an order so you can plan accordingly.
2. Stay in Line
If you have already placed an order, stick with it. The allure of shaving a couple of weeks off your delivery date is enticing; however, you will just end up at the back of someone else’s line.
3. Beware of Price Gouging
Desperate times bring the rats out of the bilge. Some companies are offering gray market and used devices at 200% of the going rate. Schools desperate for devices might see this as a viable short-term solution, but long-term it will cost even more money and create many headaches.
4. Consider Alternatives to Laptops
Desktop computers and Chromebox desktops are still available. For non-hybrid learning environments like in-school classes or 100% distance learning, these devices can save the day.
5. Re-evaluate Who Needs Computers
Free up hundreds or thousands of devices for redeployment to other grades or schools. Instead of implementing a 1:1 take-home program across a district, reach out to families and identify children that can use an existing home computer.
6. Bring New Life to Older Machines
Supplement your current Chromebooks with converted computers. Many schools that switched to Chromebooks have older PCs that are not being used. Neverware software allows any desktop or laptop to begin a new journey as a Chrome device.