Technology Industry the chip shortage has been a problem for the technology industry since the beginning of 2020 and is predicted to still be prevalent well into 2023.
Increased design complexity, talent shortages, supply issues and geopolitical conflicts are resulting in product lead times of six months or more, even with fabs operating at full capacity.
So, what solutions lie ahead?
Finding solutions now
Like most, the chip industry is an interconnected ecosystem dependent on each aspect of its supply chain, with each issue needing different solutions. Short-term solutions include coordination, redesigning and software upgrades. Longer-term solutions include expansion of production and suppliers, increased research, and development, and designing resilience.
Coordination and collaboration
With multiple moving parts throughout, coordination is key. High specialization across multiple geographies means further complexity in supply chains, long lead time on key activities and manufacturing and high levels of specified design. With even one component missing, the end product cannot work. By collaborating and co-engineering with other key players, companies can expand their design and manufacturing centres, attract more talent, and obtain more development ability. This allows for cost-saving ventures, as well as more streamlined coordination with previously untapped stakeholders.
Redesigning and reformatting
“In with the new, out with the old”. This adage is one often fitting for many industries, but in the case of tech, it often isn’t. Many companies and manufacturers should look into accommodating older chip technologies, both in production and in engineering. “Used” or “old” chips and older equipment means the ability to reformat chips from an “earlier” generation, allowing manufacturers to use them in new devices.
Machines can learn and adapt through software solutions and upgrades; however, this hasn’t been something that has often been prioritized in the industry. This could be due to the high-level of intricacy needed to accomplish crucial processes. The same chip found in different products, such as a computer, an interactive home device and a phone, all run on different software, adding complexity to creating software to work with the chip. By moving towards programmable logic ICs, software can play a key role in upgrading existing chips.