Cyberpower UK Service Update -- May 2021
Topic: Cyberpower UK Service Update -- May 2021
Posted: 27/May/2021 at 11:29
Cyberpower Service Update – May 2021
We last published an (appropriately lengthy) update some months ago. As we now see more lockdown restrictions easing and some semblance of normality returning, we felt it was time to provide a further update.
Please read on for details about service levels and product shortages.
During the last update we made it clear our service levels had suffered in the face of the sheer volume of orders and queries we were receiving. Since this time we had made terrific strides to make improvements and this is a testament to the commitment of our service team who have worked supremely hard these past months.
Our telephone lines remain extremely busy and we continue to receive huge numbers of emails from customers every way. However, since the last update, we have made some improvements.
In the spirit of transparency, we felt a few stats would be of interest:
Our service team, who look after pre-sales and assist customers looking for updates or wishing to make changes to their orders, have a target to reply to all emailed queries within four working hours. At the time of writing this is being achieved 95% of the time for new queries and 99% of the time for existing queries. We’re happy with this but will continue to seek improvement.
Our support team, who look after troubleshooting and technical issues, are currently answering emails with four working hours 87% of the time. This is a vast improvement on where we were a few months ago but it can be improved and we will continue to do so.
Our telephone lines remain extremely busy. We would suggest the best way, currently, to contact us is by email. If you do contact us by telephone, you can request a call-back when you are on hold. Currently the team is tasked with calling back all customers the same day a call-back is requested and we’re achieving this 94% of the time. Again, we’re happy with this but understand there’s room to do better.
As always, we must thank all of our customers for their support and understanding during these extremely unique times.
Product Shortages – GPUs and CPUs:
In short, demand continues to outstrip supply across the industry, in particular with CPUs and GPUs. The main issue is a shortage of chips which has been exacerbated by the recent bloom in cryptocurrency mining. Whilst the latter may calm it is only a small part of a greater challenge which faces the industry. We know our partners at Intel, NVIDIA and AMD are doing everything they can with their own manufacturing and supply chains to improve but this isn’t an issue with a quick fix. The chip suppliers are operating at full capacity and it’s still not enough to satisfy demand. New facilities are planned to increase these capacities but this is not, by any means, a quick process.
As such, worldwide, the chip shortages are set to continue for some time yet.
However, we continue to receive stock of both CPUs and GPUs. We’ve invested heavily in our stock and we have ongoing support from our partners which is allowing us to fulfil the majority of orders within our advertised lead times.
We do not do this for all orders, many are delayed due to delays in stock arriving with us, and we endeavour to keep all affected customers informed as and when these delays are made apparent to us. Sadly, many delays are only made apparent to us at the last moment and we apologise for those customers who are affected by these delays.
Logistics and Cost Increases:
Logistics continue to be a challenge in 2021, as do the costs of moving products from A to B. The vast majority of our products – cases, coolers, PSUs, GPUs, motherboards, storage etc – originate in places like China, Taiwan, Hong Kong. These products are mostly shipped by sea in shipping containers.
For some context and perspective, we bring in a large amount of stock by sea. A specific example would be cases which we bring in from one of our partners, Corsair. They manufacture an OEM version of the 220T gaming case for us. At this time in 2020, to bring a full container of these cases from China to the UK, would have cost Cyberpower around £2,000 per container. These cases are shipped in to us in quantities of 1095 so we would have around £2-£3 of shipping costs to build into or price for this case.
At the moment, the same size of shipping container is costing Cyberpower around £11,000 per container. So where we used to build in around £3 per case for shipping, it’s now closer to £12 per case. This is the same for our competitors who are also large enough to bring in stock directly from the Far East as these costs increases for freight have been ongoing since Q4 of 2020.
The same increases are also being suffered by anyone, in any industry, shipping anything by sea, rail, or air. This means every component is seeing increases in indirect costs and these costs either have to be absorbed or passed along, at least in part. This applies also to our partners, such as MSI or Asus, who will bring in stock via sea freight to their European warehousing centres before being shipped around Europe to their partners, such as Cyberpower. Other batches of stock will be shipped to us by air, so there is a mix of lead times, but regardless of the method employed, all have increases massively in costs.
Additional issues are timescales, and these are another worldwide issue being felt by every industry. That same container of 220T cases we could move for £2,000 in May 2020 would usually arrive to us in 8-9 weeks from the point of order. That would be ~4 weeks for manufacturing plus another 4-5 weeks sailing time. Currently the sailing times, despite being more than five times the cost, are closer to 7-9 weeks. This is in part due to congestion at ports, which continue to work under COVID-safe restrictions, causing voyages to take much longer and a worldwide shortage in shipping containers, causing initial delays before the products are even loaded onto a vessel.
Added to this are the continued consequences of Brexit, making the movement of stock into and from Europe much more complicated, slower, and more expensive than it has ever been. This can particularly affect customers where, if we cannot facilitate an instant repair or replacement of a returned product, it will then be shipped by us to the service centres for the manufacturer, such as MSI. These service centres are mostly based in Europe and are, themselves, also still operating under restrictions to arrest what remains a global pandemic irrespective of what progress has been made in the UK.
Circumstances such as these are utterly and completely beyond the scope of Cyberpower’s control but we are doing everything we can to plan far enough in advance to ensure we have strong stocks available and the best options in the market for our customers. We are working hard behind the scenes with all of our partners to assist with this and we cannot thank them enough for their efforts. We should also commend the procurement department, who customers neither see nor speak with, but without whose work and dedication we would be lost.
If you’re still reading this, congratulations, we applaud your stamina. However, we did want to ensure we provided as much detail as possible.
Whilst we are making terrific strides, the industry does continue to face challenges. We are doing everything possible to lessen the impact customers feel from these challenges and, in truth, we do feel we’ve done a pretty good job of it. It has, by no means, been perfect and we will continue to improve in all aspects it’s possible to improve, but we do feel successes should be celebrated.
A massive thank you, from the entire Cyberpower UK team.
A message from Steve:
On a personal level, I do want to ensure customers are aware of just how hard our service and support teams have worked during 2021. I understand not all customers have had the level of service they would have expected and each case has been looked at where possible to ensure we can do better, to continue to be better. So, a public thank you from me to those guys for their efforts.
Additionally, the PC builders and production staff. The warehousing wanderers. The finance folk. The purchasing people. The marketing magicians. These guys are people customers do not see, whose efforts are unseen by consumers, but without whose work we could not be in the position we’re in so, again, a public thank you from me to them.
There’s also a huge debt of thanks owed to the Discord community, in particular the moderators and contributors. Just as our service team have been inundated with queries and so forth during these past months, so too has the community and they’ve shouldered it superbly.
Thanks again to all customers for their ongoing support and understanding. I’ll try to keep the next update a little less garrulous!
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