While it may feel like we are coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the damage has already been done when it comes to the supply chain shortage of many industries. 

More than two years later, we are still seeing disruptions that were either directly caused or exacerbated by COVID-19. Shutdowns, shortages and increased demand have combined with the loss of shipping lanes, extended shipping times, growing shipping costs and slow transit times. 

Automation Part Shortages

One major issue that particularly affects automation engineers is the global shortage of semiconductors. While this shortage was not specifically caused by the pandemic, its effects have compounded the issue. 

 

Photo by Christoph Morlinghaus

Insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), which are used in many servo and variable frequency drives, are facing heavy demand as they are now deployed in an increasing number of applications, including electric vehicles. Lead times for Chinese-made chips are now measured in months, forcing businesses to forecast properly and adjust production to adapt to supply chain shortages. 

It’s not only semiconductors that are pushing back production schedules. Many manufacturers have released statements addressing the production and shipping times of their products.

To further complicate matters, we are also seeing issues with limited global shipping capacity. Carriers to move products are in short supply and shipping rates are increasing as a result. Recent reports released by UPS, FedEx, DHL, and other major carriers have revealed delays in air, sea, and road methods of shipping. Shipping lanes are in short supply, and 75% higher than they were in 2020. 

Photo by Christoph Morlinghaus

All current information points to these shortages continuing for the long-term. This does not mean production will be halted altogether, but if you don’t want to fall behind in production, there are several things you can do to add a buffer to your supply chain.

3 Tips for Managing the Supply Chain Shortage

  1. Order ahead: place orders for parts as soon as possible. If you aren’t already making large-scale blanket orders of parts you need, consider doing so to stock up for the coming months. 
  2. Stay in communication with your distributor: when working with Motion Ai, be honest with what you need and when you need it. We will do our best to place your orders with manufacturers and get you the products you need on time. 
  3. Devise a shipping strategy: from choosing the best method of shipping to route planning, work with distributors and your receiving teams to find the most effective ways to have your parts and products delivered, whether by road, sea, rail, air, or intermodal. 

If you continue to face availability issues, let us know. We may be able to procure the products that you need or recommend an alternative product that can be used instead. Contact us today