3 Creative Solutions for the Component Shortage Crisis

By Tova Levy

In the fourth of a series of WNIE podcasts, Zac Elliot – Technical Marketing Engineer at Siemens Digital Industries Software – speaks with host Karen Pearman about some creative methods for overcoming the current instability in the electronics supply chain.

Listen to the podcast now on the WNIE site, on in the player below.

In the podcast, Mr. Elliot explains how the shortage of components has led to the adoption of a number of out-of-the-box solutions that help designers and manufacturers deliver products – without accumulating huge inventories, or performing costly design revisions to accommodate alternative parts.

Buy from third-party distributors

Traditionally, components have been purchased directly from the manufacturer or from certified suppliers, thus ensuring the authenticity of the parts. Shortages and increased lead times have led to an increase in purchases from other distribution channels – running the risk of integrating low-quality counterfeits or damaged components into products.

In order to mitigate these risks, additional inspection of these components is required – usually on samples that are sent to a lab for inspection and testing. Newer methods leverage artificial intelligence in order to inspect all of the components before assembly.

Adopt advanced scheduling techniques

Manufacturers are learning to reduce shortage-related, production-line down time using automated scheduling tools that manage production schedules based on inventory availability. These tools can dynamically adjust the production schedule in accordance with component delivery forecasts, or split an order in order to utilize available on-hand inventory.

Implement Closed Loop Manufacturing methodologies

Closed-Loop Manufacturing (CLM) techniques provide an effective method for handling the increased frequency of NPIs (new product introductions). In CLM, a “digital twin” of the complete NPI process connects the PLM (design), ERP (planning), and MES (execution) operations, providing immediate feedback between the teams as issues arise. CLM improves operational efficiency, easing the production of multiple revisions of a product – each with its own unique set of components, assembly and testing requirements – while helping to maintain product quality.

Listen to the podcast with Zac Elliott:

Previous podcasts in the series:

The supply chain crunch: a temporary trend or transformation driver? With Oren Manor, Director of business development for the electronics industry at Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Solving supply chain instability in the PCB design stage With Susan Kayesar, PCBflow Product Manager at Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Effectively Managing Electronic Component Vendors as the Supply Chain Widens with Mark Laing, Business Development Manager at Siemens Digital Industries Software.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at