Update on how the global components shortage is affecting orders
As you're likely already aware, the electronics industry is currently facing a major, worldwide components shortage. COVID-19 shutdowns and increased chip demand, among other factors, have created a bottleneck in the component supply chain which is set to last into 2022 and could remain until 2023. Here's an update on how the component shortages are affecting our services and some concrete steps you can take as a response.
How is it affecting our services?
In addition to making it much more difficult to source certain parts, these bottlenecks have introduced complications that make it more difficult to reliably ship orders on time:
- We've seen a knock-on effect from our vendors - component distributors' whole shipping schedules are sliding, resulting in all parts orders being received later and all orders shipped later.
- Vendors unexpectedly pushing back ship dates which makes it hard for us to give solid ETAs.
- Not being able to source all of the parts from one or two vendors increases the time that it takes us to buy, receive, and kit the parts.
- We now routinely need to source parts from overseas. This has been resulting in an approximate 1.5 week delay due to additional shipping time.
Some good news is that smaller quantities of parts are generally easier for us to source. Due to this, our prototype service has been much less affected; the majority of prototype volume orders are still shipping on time.
What can you do?
This shortage is mostly out of control. However, here is our advice on a few things you can do to help alleviate some of its affects.
Build extra lead time into your production schedule
We know this is not always possible, but if you can we highly recommend factoring extra time into your production schedule. When planning out your inventory needs for the next year, it's better to assume that a delay is likely.
Communicate your needs early
If you have time sensitive orders, please let us know as soon as you place the order so we can do our best to make accommodations. The earlier you communicate your needs with us, the more likely it is we will be able to work with your schedule.
Purchase crucial parts ahead of time
If you have any components in your design that you know that cannot be substituted or are at risk of going out of stock, we recommend purchasing them in bulk ahead of time.
We've recently seen our customers coming up with some innovative solutions to help ensure they can get their designs manufactured. We wanted to share them in case you can also utilize them:
- Consider designing your footprint so that more than one size component can be placed on it. We've been seeing this done more frequently particularly with aluminum capacitors and crystals.
- Design your board to be able to use either the through hole or surface mount version of a part depending on availability
- Upload two different designs that utilize separate parts that can be swapped and order one of the two depending on part availability at the time neede.
- We touch more on these tips at 39:18 of this podcast episode.
We know this has been a frustrating period for many of those trying to get things made. We're trying our best to notify customers of part shortages and shipping delays as soon as we are made aware of them. If you have any questions about the components shortage and how it may affect orders placed with us feel free to reach out.
For further components shortage information we recommend checking out the following episodes of our podcast: