What Qualitel is doing about the shortage of electronics components
The high-reliability electronics contract manufacturer uses advanced purchasing software to maintain a year’s supply of resistors and capacitors, and uses the software to find, assess and purchase them.
Without taking these measures, Qualitel would have more customers feeling the effects of the component shortage. Today, lead times for resistors and capacitors are pushing 18–50 weeks and there are unpredictable spikes in the lead times for numerous components. Experts say the shortage won’t end any time soon and may worsen in coming years.
A two-pronged strategy to address the component shortage
Qualitel’s management is addressing the component shortage with a two-pronged strategy: first, buying excess inventory of those parts at risk of being in short supply for customers with a long-term agreement or forecast visibility; and second, employing the most advanced computer software available – SiliconExpert – to evaluate every aspect of those components, including the probability of future shortages.
There isn’t a single underlying cause for the component shortage; problems exist on both the supply and demand sides of the industry.
In terms of supply, the issues are numerous. In some cases, there is inadequate manufacturing capacity. With other components, there are shortages and price-instability in the supplies of critical minerals, including barium, palladium, and tantalum.
Shortage of rare minerals part of the problem
These rare minerals are critical in the production of various PCBA components, especially multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs). In addition to these problems, the tariff wars between the U.S. and China are adding another element of uncertainty and price instability to the supply chain.
On the demand side, overall demand for consumer electronics continues to explode, and specific industries, such as electric cars and automotive electronics in general, are putting enormous pressure on the available supply of electronic parts. Component manufacturers have simply not been able to keep up with this escalating demand, with cascading consequences for PCBA manufacturers at all levels of the market.
Qualitel’s management is aware of how the unstable market for electronic components could potentially impact our ability to meet customer needs on a timely basis. The first and most direct response has been to forecast customer needs for the immediate future and purchase at least a year’s supply of components that are at risk of being in short supply. We do this for customers with a long-term agreement or that have forecast visibility.
Software helps us beat the shortage
Subscribing to the services of SiliconExpert is the second major step Qualitel has taken to address the shortage problem. SiliconExpert has the most comprehensive database available, with data on over one billion electronic components made worldwide. This database, coupled with powerful analytical software, is used to forecast component shortages. Beyond that, however, SiliconExpert assists Qualitel in serving its customers in a variety of other ways, including lifecycle projections for various components, current available inventories worldwide, environmental compliance data, and whether components are being made using conflict minerals.
Qualitel stands by its customers for the long haul. With the most technically advanced production lines, the quality of its PCBAs is guaranteed. And with the most advanced computer analysis available, as well as a forward-thinking management team, customers can count on Qualitel to not only provide the most reliable PCBAs, but to deliver them on time as well.