Ensuring the flow of components is maintained is essential for any electronics manufacturer, any shortage or disruption to your supply chain can have a detrimental impact on the time it takes to get the product to market and ultimately the profit margin.
There is nothing more worrying then finding out the components you need are in short supply, higher prices, reduced volume and longer shipping times are things that spring to mind, but what other option do you have? The time it would take to redesign is normally out of the question and seeking an alternative can prove challenging.
The only remedy is prevention through thorough planning, by sourcing multiple suppliers and by selecting multiple components to fill the need you can greatly reduce the chances of having to break the bank to finish your product. There is no better time then now the sooner a back-up is in place the less likely you will be affected.
There have been a number of large scale disruptions so far this year, the most notable the closing of 29 West Coast ports for a weekend in the United States after on going disputes between dockworkers and the freighter companies escalated. These ports are responsible for handling 40% of all imports into the country and 70% of all imports from Asia, the loss of commerce was estimated at two billion dollars for each day totalling four billion dollars.
Another more recent disruption has been to the channel tunnel, the main supply route for goods entering the UK from mainland Europe. A large influx of immigrants seeking to settle in the UK have been trying desperately to enter the country via the tunnel, clinging to the undersides of lorries, hiding within transport containers and for the very desperate running the 31.4 mile stretch of train track, which has already claimed a life. This greatly strains both the UK and French boarder forces and causes every shipment and container to be thoroughly checked and often results in the shut down of the service while safety is ensured.
Ultimately you will always be affected by disruption to your supply chain but you should plan ahead of time to avoid any major setbacks, also looking to suppliers closer to home can help fill the supply gap as these will no be as effected in the short term.