Electronic components shortages show no signs of abating, fuelled by growing demand for electronics, limited availability of raw materials, soaring manufacturing prices and lingering COVID-19 disruptions.
Shortages have hindered manufacturers since 2018, but things came to a head in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting supply chains.
The pandemic created an imbalance in supply chains, with demand for many components, from chips to actives and passives, outstripping supply. The question is, how can companies combat the electronic components shortage?
Partner with a distributor
Electronic component distributors occupy a unique position in the supply chain, representing the manufacturer and customer. Distributors work for both parties to move components up and down the supply chain.
The benefit of working with a distributor is that your company will be in the mix for components not available through traditional channels.
For example, we specialise in the procurement and delivery of electronic components and parts for a wide variety of industries from the world’s leading manufacturers. We can help you beat allocation challenges and long lead times.
Diversity is the key to strengthening your supply chain. You need multiple sources for electronic components. It’s a good idea to have retail and distribution channels, so you have several routes should one supplier channel fail.
Diversity can also be found in geography. A supplier in your home country is essential, but so are suppliers close to the manufacturing source.
Expand storage capabilities
If your company can expand its storage capabilities for essential components, this is the simplest way to combat shortages. By storing large quantities of components, you create a supply separate from the chain.
The risk with expanding storage is procuring more components than you need, resulting in oversupply problems that incur heavy losses.
Source equivalent components
When components are unavailable, you can specify equivalents that meet your performance and financial specifications. Equivalent components perform the same job as your original components, but another company makes them.
A simple example is Samsung, which uses its own Exynos chip or a QUALCOMM chip in the same smartphone model depending on where the smartphone is sold.
Visibility and proactive planning
Supply chains are complex beasts that require visibility to manage. Monthly stock updates are no longer sufficient; to combat shortages, you need real-time supplier updates and an inventory catalogue to keep track of supply.
You can proactively plan component shipments and tap into price dips and new inventory when you have visibility over total supply.
When electronic components become obsolete, manufacturers who haven’t planned for it scramble to find components that will work. This inevitably creates bottlenecks in the supply chain as many big companies compete for orders.
Obsolescence is predictable because all electronic components have a run date, and manufacturers update lifespans with inventory cataloguing. You can avoid shortages and soaring prices for rare parts by predicting obsolescence.
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