Supply Chain Disruptions: 2023 Update

Permanent supply chain disruption

Supply chain disruption

There was a time when PCB development embraced a new and leaner just-in-time (JIT) approach to manufacturing. A primary goal of JIT was to minimize–or alleviate–the need for CMs to maintain an inventory of electronic components and materials, which reduced overhead as some of these may go unused, resulting in excess costs.  Today, that thrust seems like a lifetime ago as the electronics industry struggles with component availability issues.

Over the last few years, OEMs, ODMs, and other developers of electronics products have faced various supply challenges. These include component shortages, manufacturer slowdowns, government shutdowns, increases in counterfeits, and shipping bottlenecks.  The bad news is many of these issues still linger. The good news is that awareness has led to new ideas and strategies, as well as the importance of managing your supply chain, that should impact supply chain disruptions in 2023.

Top Supply Chain Disruptions for 2023

Getting the parts that you need continues a major problem for many in the PCB industry. For example, raw materials used in circuit board construction, like aluminum and copper foil, are harder to acquire than a few years ago. However, stabilizing the electronic components supply chain has proven more difficult than anyone could have predicted.

The supply chain disruptions that have the most impact on circuit board development and production in 2023 are listed below.




Lack of availability

Shortages due to a limited number of source manufacturers, or even component obsolescence, is the leading supply chain disruption. 

Trade uncertainty

Tensions between countries that lead to raised tariffs and limits on the types and amounts of products that can be imported/exported also contribute significantly to supply chain instability. 

Excess demand

As development and production ramp up, demand for components outstrips manufacturing, which may have been slowed by a lack of demand and forced shutdowns. These create delays and long turnaround times.

High shipping prices

Another phenomenon that affects the supply chain is the cost of shipping. This includes maritime, flights, and trucking. Higher prices result from low shipment volume, as well as from excessive volume or bottlenecks. 

Cybersecurity attacks

Counterfeit parts have long been a problem for the electronics industry. However, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting supply chain logistics.  

As the table above indicates, there is no single root cause of the ongoing supply chain issues. Instead, virtually all aspects of the supply chain are failing to meet demands or requirements. The somber realization that these disruptions illuminate is the need for supply chain management (SCM) by PCBA designers and developers.

Keys to Managing Your Supply Chain

The goal of SCM for PCBA development is to take steps to ensure that component selection and procurement contribute to the optimization of the circuit board creation process. These steps should include the following keys to avoid falling prey to the supply chain disruptions of 2023.

Supply Chain Management Keys for PCBA Development

🔑 Avoid exotic hard to find components in PCBA design, if possible.

🔑 Employ supplier mapping that includes real-time part availability data.

🔑 Rely on component data and information from a reliable source.

🔑 Buy parts in bulk, if possible.

🔑 Partner with your CM to ensure common, necessary materials are on hand.

Incorporating the guidelines above will help you mitigate component acquisition challenges that can delay and/or derail your PCBA development. However, the most effective SCM is built on a custom component library that institutes best practices. This tool equips you with a scalable solution for addressing supply chain disruptions for 2023 and beyond.

Building and maintaining an effective component library that is supply-chain resilient requires expertise and substantial time commitment. Partnering with an industry leader like Ultra Librarian is the most efficient solution. We can build you a customized Virtual Librarian Service that will streamline the component selection, ensure parts meet your standards, expedite procurement, and optimize your PCBA development process for innovation.

Working with Ultra Librarian gives you access to the world’s largest online resource for CAD models and design data. It sets up your team for success to ensure streamlined and error-free design, production, and sourcing. Register today for free.


The Ultra Librarian Team

Ultra Librarian offers the world’s largest PCB CAD library, putting cutting-edge materials at your fingertips so you can build better products faster—all for free.

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