Tech Corner March 2022 | The Chip Shortage

Patience is a Virtue: The Chip Shortage



By now you’ve certainly heard of or come across the topic of the worldwide chip shortage, but maybe don’t necessarily understand what it means or how it became.


All of our common day “smart-devices” utilize “chips” which are a collection of semiconductors called processors or microprocessors.  These processors due exactly what their name entails, “process.”  They are essentially the brains behind the operation and are crucial to the functionality of these devices and passing of information back and forth.
Whether it be computers, tablets, smart phones, gaming systems, TVs, manufacturing equipment, or automobiles, the painful affects (effects?) of this issue have been felt across the world.  Unfortunately, current signs show that we are not near the emergence from this shortage as of yet.  While the supply and availability of products using chips have gone down significantly, the price and cost to acquire these products have increased significantly.  Experts believe the shortage of chips will not begin to lessen up until the second half of 2022, at best.


The common misconception to a shortage would be the thought to just start creating more.  The problem is this is not your typical assembly line and the creation of chips is a very finite process and current plants that create these chips have a finite input vs. output result.  Assembly of new plants costs billions of dollars, and more time, which is already on “borrowed time.”


To help try and combat the issue and avoid a future pandemic shortage, large chip manufacturers such as Intel, AMD, Samsung, and Taiwan Semiconductors have begun to build new chip plants in the United States to ready their manufacturing capability and increase supplies, but as mentioned above, facilities like these are not assembled overnight and can take years to go into production.


Now you should have a little more insight the next time you go to your local car dealership for a typical lease vehicle and are told it will be 6-7 months before the vehicle becomes available, or when you are wondering why delivery of products that used to be 1-2 days are now taking 4-5 weeks.   Things are certainly getting better, but there is a significant amount of work still ahead.  Right now it’s about thinking proactively, ordering things ahead of time, and remembering that patience is a virtue!