Semiconductor Shortage Takes a Bite out of Apple

Semiconductor Shortage Takes a Bite out of Apple

May 18, 2021

 

 

A shortage of semiconductors is affecting the production of cars and electronics.

This is another example of a bottleneck in a strained supply chain. Several factors converged to create the current situation, and it appears that consumers will have to endure the consequences of disrupted supply chains for some time. A solution to the problem is to strengthen the domestic supply chains, but it will take years to implement.

 


Video Spotlight: The Reasons for the Semiconductor Shortage


This post is based on the npr.org article, Get Ready for a Shortage of iPads and MacBooks, by C. Domonoske, April 29, 2021, and the YouTube video, Worsening Semiconductor Shortage Spreads Beyond Vehicle Manufacturers to Hit Apple, Samsung, by Arirang News Center, April 30, 2021. Image source: Jag_cz/Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. According to the information provided in the video and the article, what are the conditions that created a shortage of semiconductors?

Guidance: The underlying problem is the reliance on a handful of suppliers throughout the world. Even though US companies have 47% of the global chip market, they manufacture only 12% of the chips. Today, Taiwan and South Korea have the most advanced fabrication Continue reading

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Out of Delivery Drivers and Out of Gas

Out of Delivery Drivers and Out of Gas

 

Gas prices have been going up, and this trend is expected to continue.

Usually, oil shortages fuel this phenomenon, but today, there is an abundant oil supply. The weak link is somewhere else in the supply chain: delivery from refineries to gas stations. During the pandemic, tanker drivers quit their jobs and changed careers. As people are starting to travel again, it is difficult to fill these positions, and the shortage of drivers is being felt at the pump.

 

 


Video Spotlight: No Panic at the Gas Pump


This post is based on the NBC News article, Shortage of Delivery Drivers Means Some Gas Station Pumps Could Run Dry, by P.A. Eisenstein, April 28, 2021, and the YouTube video, Experts Say Drivers Won’t See Difference at Gas Pumps Despite Fuel Driver Shortage, by WBIR Channel 10, April 30, 2021. Image source: kabby/Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. Describe the widespread workforce shortage in the trucking industry. How does it impact the availability of fuel at gas stations?

Guidance: The shortage of drivers is exacerbated by shortages of dispatchers and office staff, qualified mechanics, registered inspectors, and design-certified engineers. The lack of capacity has created a bottleneck Continue reading

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Factors Affecting Supply Chain Resilience

Factors Affecting Supply Chain Resilience

COVID-19 has exposed many vulnerabilities in our supply chains.  Of particular note are supply chains for food and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Most people take for granted that we can walk into a grocery store, and leave with a wide variety of food items.  However, in Spring 2020, this was not the case.  Many store shelves were bare, including some essentials such as flour and pasta.  Many farmers destroyed milk, eggs, and chickens, while other crops rotted in the field.

Similar problems have occurred across almost every supply chain.  Shortages of PPE occurred during the early stage of the pandemic. Most PPE production was concentrated in China.  The combination of disrupted production and transportation and increased demand created shortages.

Shipping containers have made worldwide transportation more efficient and reliable.  As a result, organizations have spread their supply chains throughout the world to increase their efficiencies.  This has also led to concentration of production, a reduction in the number of suppliers, and added a bottleneck, as seen in the recent blockage of the Suez Canal.

The food supply chain illustrates many problems brought on by a search for efficiencies.  To increase Continue reading

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