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Solutions for Backordered Barcode Scanners, Printers, and Media

AIDC Shipping DelaysViews off the southern California coast are usually idyllic, but not so much these days.  As of October 5th, there were over 100 ships waiting to unload.  The reasons for the backlog are many – lack of dock worker, lack of drivers, last of storage space, and increased demand for products. However, it is not just the west coast ports creating delays. Covid caused changes in manufacturing ordering patterns which greatly affected the supply chain, and China was shut down for periods of time which caused delays in critical items like computer chips.

Unfortunately, much of the hardware used in data collection, including chips, is manufactured in Asia and comes through the ports of California. Chips are an integral technical component for most hardware in the data collection arena. Everything from barcode scanners, barcode printers for labels/tags and ribbons, rugged handheld terminals, RFID readers and antennas require chips to function.  With the scarcity of chips on top of a bottle-necked port system the lead time for getting data collection equipment into the hands of customers continues to increase.

Research Distributors

Despite increasing lead times, Taylor Data Systems is trying to find alternative solutions for backorders and let customers know that some of the “parts” might be available. For example, barcode scanner kits consisting of either the scanner and cable, or the scanner, base, cable, and power supply are on backorder.  So, where a product like the Honeywell 1950 scanner kit has the scanner and cable as one part number and has a longer lead time, Taylor Data Systems was able to find the scanner at one distributor and the cable at another distributor and was able to get the product for the customer although at a slightly higher price.  The customer changed their purchase order to receive two-part numbers instead of one and got what they needed in a couple of days versus a couple of months.

Consider Alternate Product Configurations

Another example is handheld terminals. These products usually have many different configurations: number of keys, type of scanner, type of radio, and size of the battery.  A specific configuration might have been ordered many times in the past, but the lead time for that part number might be six to twelve weeks.  Taylor Data Systems works with multiple distributors and searches inventory for an “in stock” solution to meet your needs.  It might have a different keypad overlay or different scanner, but the same functionality the customer needs to keep a project moving forward.

The availability of the many different versions of barcode printers should also be considered. These printers vary from a small direct thermal office printer (something like UPS or FedEx labels) to ultra-rugged printers designed for 24X7 use.  Within a printer model, there are usually different configurations for specifics like a rewinder, label taken sensor, real time clock, RFID, and cutters.  With access to multiple distributors, Taylor Data Systems can search inventory for the model you need and offer options when necessary.  For example, we were just told that one of the biggest selling printer models has a lead time of almost three months. With the proper understanding of your exact needs, Taylor Data Systems might be able to identify workable in-stock options to meet your deadlines.

Plan Ahead

Regarding labels, tags, and ribbons, custom items have seen a drastic increase in lead time due to face stock shortages, shipping issues, and a decreased work force due to COVID. Some lead times have increased from two weeks to as much as sixteen weeks.   We have been working with customers to let them know they should plan for longer delivery times especially on custom media orders.  Planning might involve increasing the order size, increasing order frequency, or even changing materials to meet demand.  Some labels, tags and ribbons are considered “stock”.  These are usually something like a 4 X 6 label used for shipping and for these products Taylor Data Systems has access to many suppliers to meet customer requirements.   


Understanding the limitations barcode suppliers are under as we near year end, it is important for customers to properly plan for hardware and media needs now. Taylor Data Systems strongly suggests getting orders in sooner rather than later to ensure your business doesn’t have workflow disruptions due to data collection. Furthermore, customers may want to consider adding a hardware service agreement to their current products on-hand to ensure repair options should replacements not be readily available. Contact Taylor Data Systems today to inquire about the best options for your application by clicking here.