How are you dealing with component shortages?

How are others dealing with the present component shortages?  Some manufacturers are quoting lead times into late 2022 for specialist ICs.

Are you redesigning products to accomodate components that are available?  It seems that common microcontrollers are in short supply.  Are you switching to another series or manufacturer entirely?

Will you be stockpiling or placing a lifetime buy of components?

It seems there is a real danger of purchasing counterfeit components due to need.  Do people frequently use counterfeit component testing labs when purchasing from non-standard distributors?

  • I try to keep one year's worth* of stock semiconductors for my current products. I am fortunate that many of my product lines sell in such small quantities that it is economic to use through-hole components which seem to be less affected than surface-mount ones.

    But for future products I cannot predict what components I'll want to use, nor the demand.

    For one product where I normally use a processor in an lqfp100 package, I was only able to obtain stock of a BGA part. So to keep production going I intend to design an adapter board. The assembly house I use for that product seem happy with that approach.

    *I see that the head of ST says he expects shortages to continue into 2023 https://www.reuters.com/technology/stmicros-average-chip-prices-up-5-so-far-this-year-ceo-says-2021-07-29/

  • in volume manufacturing, are companies now resorting to bulk purchase of components, or are you still using scheduled ordering?

    We're finding that our contract manufacturers are having their scheduled orders delayed or cancelled by their direct suppliers. Contract manufacturers are recommending we purchase in bulk when components are available, but this has cash flow implications for the business.

    I'd be interested in what other purchasing departments are doing at present.