Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
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The Covid-19 pandemic caused massive disruptions in the electronic industry, especially in relation to the supply chain. PCBA industry was not spared by the pandemic. The supply and distribution of PCBA modules were deeply affected right from the beginning of the pandemic and even several months later.
On the other hand, the industry came up with various response mechanisms to the effects of the pandemic on the PCBA supply chain. Some changes were designed to deal with the surging demand for the PCA modules.
Other changes were created to help mitigate the negative impact of any other pandemic in the near future. In this article, we are going to discuss various ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic affected the PCBA supply chain. If you are a layer in this industry, this article will help you think of effective solutions that will help you stay afloat in the PCBA supply chain.
Longer lead times for PCBA components
The pandemic led to extended lead time for the PCBA components. Usually, PCBA modules are made of different electronic components. These components include resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, thyristors, and connectors among others. They are brought together to make a functional module that will be used on different devices. In most cases, the components are sourced from different manufacturers, who sometimes may be located in different geographical locations.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many electronic components manufacturers to slow down on their production rates. One of the reasons for this was the lockdown measures that were announced by different governments as they forced workers to stay home.
PCBA manufacturers were forced to deal with widespread delays of the PCB components. It was very difficult for the manufacturers to have their components delivered within defined timelines.
Of course, PCBA transistors had to devise new ways in order to stay afloat in this competitive market. Most of the changes were associated with the diversification of the PCBA supply chain.
Localization is all about finding local solutions to the problems that were created by the PCBA pandemic. During and even after the Covid-19 pandemic, there was an increased emphasis on localization. PCBA manufacturers and even suppliers paid more attention to looking for the components within their defined borders rather than importing from suppliers abroad. This was mainly motivated by the fact that some countries decided to close their borders during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Governments gave full support and financial incentives to the local manufacturers of electronic components. This in turn motivated PCBA assemblers to focus on buying the components from the local dealers. Localization or nearshoring, to some extent, helped to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain.
Increased demand for PCBA modules in different industries
The Covid-19 pandemic led to an increased demand for the PCBA in different industries. The higher demand was mainly due to an increase in the usage of digital and electronic devices in different industries.
Online meetings have become more popular than face-to-face meetings. This meant that there was an increased demand for the digital communication devices that were used in these meetings. For example, it was during that period that the popularity of digital learning soared to the highest levels.
Healthcare is another industry that witnessed an increase in reliance on digital electronics. More sophisticated equipment was needed for the diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19-related ailments.
The same affected the demand for home appliances. With measures such as work-from-home, it meant that most office workers spent more time at home than in commercial spaces. They invested in high-end home appliances that would make their homes more desirable.
An increase in the demand for the PCBA caused a major strain on the supply chain. It was quite difficult for the PCBA suppliers to keep up with the high demand for the components.
Smart inventory management
There is a direct relationship between the supply chain and inventory management. The latter is used for managing products in the supply chain. The COVID-19 pandemic forced various players in the PCBA supply chain to come up with smart inventory management systems. This was triggered by the fact that the supply chain was no longer smooth or predictable as before.
Smart inventory management is powered by the best strategies. Suppliers and distributors relied on data and analytics to keep track of the supply chain. Strategic inventory management techniques ensured that suppliers optimized their levels of PCBA stocks and protected manufacturers from any form of wastage.
Diversification of the supply chain
As a response measure to the impact of COVID-19, there was an emphasis on diversification in the PCBA supply chain. The main goal of diversification was to ensure that suppliers didn’t have to depend on a few players for the supply of the PCBA components.
At the height of the pandemic, there was a massive shortage of the PCBA. Manufacturers of specific electronic components had become selective on who to supply to. To avert such situations, suppliers and other key players in the supply chain had to stop relying on a few manufacturers. Diversification proved to be one of the surest ways to survive in the unpredictable PCBA market.
Increased collaboration in the supply chain
Since the whole industry was reeling from the impact of COVID-19 on the PCBA supply chain, it was counterproductive for the players to focus on individual efforts. During and even after the pandemic, there was an increased collaboration between suppliers and manufacturers. Also, different suppliers collaborated among themselves to increase their purchasing power.
There are also other players that have joined the supply chain with the goal of streamlining it after the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, risk managers were enjoined to minimize the impact of the pandemic. Researchers and data managers also play their roles in giving the right information that streamlines the supply chain.
Currently, the PCBA supply chain seems to be recovering well from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The supply chain is going back to normalcy. However, the lessons that have been learned will be useful for years.
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