How We are Handling the Hard Drive Shortage

Widespread flooding in Thailand is affecting millions of people there, and has shut down many thousands of factories. In the computer industry, this is creating a severe hard drive shortage. Some manufacturers (such as Western Digital) are directly affected, with plants in Thailand that are shut down. In addition, many hard drive component suppliers are also impacted by the flooding, extending the reach of this shortage to all hard drive manufacturers.

Additional Resources:

BSON: Horrific Images of Flooded Western Digital Factory
Western Digtial: Impact on HDD Production Due to Flooding
Western Digtial: Update on Effect of Thailand Floods

What to Expect

In the short term, pricing has risen sharply in anticipation of constrained supply. Speculators have bought up huge portions of inventory, leading to early shortages. As the pricing stabilizes, these speculators are liquidating their inventory, meeting demand for the moment. Eventually, this supply will run thin, and as we approach the end of the year, major shortages are expected. By late January or February, plants are expected to begin to come back online, but it won't be until the end of 2012 before the industry fully recovers.

How Puget Systems is Responding

First of all, Puget Systems is using its extensive supplier network to be very strategic about our inventory. This is exactly the kind of scenario we had in mind when we purchased our building in Auburn, WA. The equity in that investment gives us the purchasing power to be aggressive in preparing for shortages. We have bought up many months worth of hard drive inventory, and our hope is that we will not even have to deal with a shortage of supply here!

However, if we do reach a shortage situation, we plan to offer two options:

  1. We can pre-wire the system for the addition of a secondary hard drive later, using a SSD for the primary drive. It is very common for our customers to purchase a SSD for speed, and a traditional hard drive for storage. By pre-wiring, we make it very easy for you to wait out the shortage, and buy a storage drive later.
  2. We will allow you to send in hard drives you already own, for installation in your new PC. While our normal policies do not allow this for primary drives, we are happy that as a small business, we can be flexible given the situation.

This shortage really allows smaller system builders across the industry to shine. We are more nimble to respond, and have freedom to be creative in coming up with solutions! This is a difficult position for the entire industry, but Puget Systems is being very active in working to keep this shortage from impacting our customers!