PC manufacturers wary of suppliers' Y2K compliance

The components you buy may be Y2K-compliant but what about the system that brings them to you? That's the question Richard Morgan of PC manufacturer Cyclone Computers wants an answer to. In the meantime, Morgan is stockpiling parts against any potential shortage just to be on the safe side.

The components you buy may be Y2K-compliant but what about the system that brings them to you? That's the question Richard Morgan of PC manufacturer Cyclone Computers wants an answer to.

In the meantime, Morgan is stockpiling parts against any potential shortage just to be on the safe side. "We've had written confirmation that the products are Y2K-compliant but their systems are a whole other ball-game."

Morgan says Cyclone does a lot of business with the tertiary education sector, and that could pose a problem next year. "They want all the gear installed over the Christmas break before the students get back in February. We'll have to be on top of our ordering so we have all the components we need."

Morgan doesn't buy into all the claims made by many Y2K consultants, believing many in the industry are scaremongering, but he prefers to err on the side of safety. "I don't think it's going to be as bad as many people are making out, but I'd rather pay the financing for a couple of months than risk being out of even one part."

Ultra Computers director Mark Forbes is adopting a wait-and-see attitude. "We'll know more this time next year. As we come into January we'll get a fair indication of where everyone is." Forbes believes anyone in business by that stage will have a fairly comprehensive plan in place to deal with Y2K.

But many of the other local assemblers haven't given the issue much thought.

"We have checked that all our suppliers are Y2K-compliant," says Johnson Koo, operations manager for Total Peripherals Group.

Whether that includes transportation, payment systems and the like, as well as the products themselves is another matter.

Dell isn't too worried, however. "Given our size I don't think it's going to be an issue," says general manager Ross Allen.

He believes that the smaller assemblers may be caught when larger companies put the pressure on manufacturers to maintain supply. "At the end of the day you're going to look after your larger customers before the smaller ones in a squeeze."

PC Direct hasn't considered the issue, according to account director Rowan Schaaf. He says that most of PC Direct's supplies are ordered from local distributors where possible.

Of course, those distributors have to import the components, and it will be up to them to ensure their suppliers are compliant.

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