A new survey carried out by technology solutions company Avnet has revealed that the global component shortage is leading many product designers to alter their designs to work around the dearth of their preferred parts.
According to the online survey of 530 engineers from around the globe, carried out over a month from early November 2021,78 per cent of respondents have faced significant challenges in acquiring the electronic components they need. In particular, those working in telecommunications are feeling the strain, with 83 per cent of respondents in the industry reporting significant challenges.
When preferred components aren’t available, most are relying on redesigned boards (55 per cent), pin-to-pin replacements with better specs (53 per cent) or drop-in replacements (49 per cent). The preferences varied across the regions surveyed; designers in the Americas are most likely to use drop-in replacements, with nearly three-quarters saying they’ve done so.However, the survey also found that availability is also having an impact on how designers actually create their designs. In the wake of the shortages, two-thirds of respondents said that their company is designing based more on availability of components than preference.
Among those who’ve experienced a significant impact due to the shortages, 93 per cent said that they’ve felt the impact most strongly in lead times. Other significant impacts included delayed production schedules and higher prices. Those working in the telecommunications, aerospace and electronics industry were most likely to have seen an impact on pricing.
Among respondents who’ve experienced delays to their production schedules, three-quarters said that the delay had been under six months; however, a strong majority of all respondents expressed concerns about lead times getting even longer and prices getting even higher over the next year and a half.
Respondents also expressed concerns about the possibility of counterfeit components entering the market, with 76 per cent saying that they expect the number of counterfeit components to increase.
‘The shift from designing based on first choice to designing based on first available for a prolonged period is a ripple effect from the overall shortages that could significantly impact the electronics industry,’ said Peggy Carrieres, vice president of sales enablement and supplier development at Avnet. ‘However, it also represents an opportunity for engineers to lean on their partners with added visibility into the supply chain to ensure they are creating flexibility in their designs based on market conditions to avoid compromising quality.’