The impact of the corona pandemic on the availability of raw materials has been in the headlines for some time. The poor availability of semiconductor components, raw materials such as aluminum and steels, plastic and wood is a global challenge.
One of the biggest causes of the material shortage is, of course, Korona. When the pandemic was at its worst, production was driven down either by forced by the circumstances or on purpose. Demand for materials, especially semiconductors, rose to record levels as consumers who stayed at home purchased a record amount of electronics, depleting material inventories.
The automotive industry is also having an impact on the semiconductor shortage, as more and more electronics are used in vehicles. Similarly, the development of 5G technology and local challenges in manufacturing countries affect the availability of chips and components.
Asia accounts for 81% of total semiconductor manufacturing, the United States for 12% and Europe for 7%. Manufacturing focused on a few countries adds to the equation even seemingly surprising logistical challenges, such as the shortage of sea containers.
Factories have since been restarted, but it will take time to reach full production capacity. Opening new production facilities is slow. According to some estimates, the situation will not return to normal until the end of 2022 – and this, too, may be a very optimistic estimate for semiconductors.
How Mectalent tackles availability challenges
The availability problems of semiconductor components and raw materials affect Mectalent, as in addition to machining and precision mechanics, part of our services is also equipment manufacturing.
Currently, our sourcing team works daily with the challenges posed by the global material shortage. Listed below are five concrete ways we work to manage component availability challenges.
1. Monitoring the market situation
We constantly monitor the general market situation, analyze its impact, and adjust our operations accordingly. We communicate the situation openly to our customers and make the necessary decisions together.
2. Considered supplier choices
We do not select our suppliers by chance, but carefully and according to precise criteria. This work, which has been done for the most part already before the shortage, is now paying off, as good and solid relationships with suppliers are currently more precious than gold. Several of our suppliers provide targeted updates on the exact availability and delivery times for the items we use, which helps with production planning.
3. Regular discussions with suppliers
We talk with our key suppliers almost daily. It is extremely important to regularly update the availability of raw materials, electrical and automation components, and other supplies. This helps in anticipating and drawing up production plans.
4. Strong competence of the staff
The strong market and supplier knowledge of our sourcing team is priceless. It allows us to react to changing situations and procure the necessary components even at short notice.
5. Internal communication
The importance of information sharing cannot be stressed enough, especially during these exceptional times. It is paramount that the whole team knows the situation. We have regular meetings where we discuss whether there are emerging concerns that need to be investigated and whether there are issues that need to be addressed immediately.
Anticipation and communication play a key role in component shortage management
So far, we have been able to acquire all the components and materials we need. However, the future is somewhat uncertain, as we may be facing a situation where suppliers must allocate their items, which will prolong delivery times.
It is important for us at Mectalent to stand up for our customers on the component market, as we are strongly committed to acting as a strategic and active partner in their daily lives.
We regularly talk to our suppliers, gather information, and strive to anticipate future situations. We communicate about the status both inside and outside the company.
Quality remains at the center of everything we do
Even in these exceptional circumstances, we want to develop and improve common practices by communicating openly with our partners. It is extremely important for us to act in accordance with the quality criteria set by our ISO certificates and our own quality policy.
Quality is our common cause and an important factor in our success. It ensures our customers' satisfaction with both the quality of our products as well as the efficiency of the company's operations. Mectalent's quality policy is a commitment to our customers and other stakeholders.
The quality policy is our guideline as we strive to proactively and continuously improve our work. Through it, we guarantee the high quality of our products and operations.