Stocked ShelvesWhether you're a manufacturer, installer, or end user, it's no secret that there is a global supply chain crisis underway as the world gradually emerges from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is due, in part, to disruptions in the global production of semiconductors and other electronic components, as well as labor shortages and rising shipping costs. Suppliers of raw materials and OEM parts are still trying to catch up, and manufacturers accustomed to only keeping a few months' worth of parts in inventory have felt the pinch. The lack of key electronic components in particular has limited companies from maintaining production of the vital technology their customers need.

Stockpiling parts as standard practice

Despite these global hardships, DITEK's production is as strong as ever. Because of our strategic planning and the smart inventory practices we have always followed, we have maintained a healthy supply of raw materials and components.

We have been able to manufacture our wide selection of surge protection devices (SPDs) without interruption. And because DITEK's surge protection solutions are made in the USA, in Tampa, FL, they are not impacted by the global procurement crisis. Our customers don't have to worry about their SPDs getting stuck in transit at an overseas port.

Detailed planning required

Unless you are close to the process, it's easy to take for granted the level of planning required to ensure that all the intricate parts that comprise assembled electronics are on hand so production can continue. Not having raw materials or components isn't just a matter of losing sales. When you're in the business of protecting critical systems and equipment from electrical surges, there is simply too much at stake not to be able to fulfill orders. That's another reason we insist on protecting our inventory, pandemic or not.

Global demand for computer chips soars

When the global shutdown first happened, no one could predict the long-term effects on industrial manufacturing. Computer chips, for example, are especially in limited supply. This is because in the early days of the pandemic, one of the world's largest industries—auto manufacturing—scaled back production because consumer interest plummeted. Meanwhile, with people forced to stay at home, demand for consumer electronics soared.

International computer chip manufacturers switched production lines to serve the consumer electronics market, only to see demand for new vehicles rebound later in the year. The net effect is that chip makers can't meet the global demand. By early 2021, it was reported that the lead time for certain types of semi-conductors was estimated to be up to a year.

Of course, computer chips aren't the only electronic components in short supply. Metal prices are up, there are reductions in items such as plastic connectors and resistors, and international shipping prices continue to soar. Manufacturers that didn't plan ahead have been left scrambling for parts and materials.

Ensuring protection from power surges

Fortunately, DITEK did plan ahead. As a result, we can supply customers with the SPDs they need to protect such essential equipment as fire panels, HVAC equipment, burglar alarms, access control systems, and video surveillance systems.

Power surges and spikes can occur at any time from multiple sources, including electrical strikes, fluctuations in the local or regional power grid, or the activity of powerful electrical motors, such as those found in HVAC systems. It is all the more crucial to protect buildings and equipment because some systems—such as fire alarms—are mandatory per local or state code. Plus, the companies that manufacturer these electrical systems are facing shortages of materials themselves. If a security or fire alarm system goes down because of an electrical surge, it could be weeks or months before a replacement is available.

Even as things gradually return to normal, DITEK will continue to maintain relationships with our suppliers so we can continue producing the world-class SPDs and networking solutions our customers need. The security of businesses, facilities, and residential homes is too important.


1. https://hbr.org/2021/02/why-were-in-the-midst-of-a-global-semiconductor-shortage