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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COVID-19 Exposes the Fragility of Our Global Supply Chains

COVID-19 Exposes the Fragility of Our Global Supply Chains

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. What happens when several links are weak?

If you think shortages of consumer products and personal protective equipment are worrisome, think again. Despite prior warnings that pandemics may paralyze our supply chains, we may soon run out of many other goods, including food and critical vaccines. Deep, scattered supply chains and reliance on a few global suppliers have hindered our ability to respond quickly to changes in demand. As it turns out, a lean supply chain may not be an agile one.


Video Spotlight: Making Vaccines


This post is based on the FiveThirtyEight article, How COVID-19 Is Wreaking Havoc on our Ability to Make Things – Including Vaccines, by M. Koerth, April 15, 2020, and the YouTube video, Vaccine Manufacture: It’s Complicated, by GSK, May 4, 2016. Image source: Shutterstock/Ienetstan.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the current hurdles in the manufacture of vaccines?

Guidance: The hurdles include: ingredient sourcing (thousands of ingredients coming from factories with many tiers of suppliers; limited quantities of materials to meet surging global demand), worldwide shortage of glass since 2015, and heavy reliance on overseas suppliers and manufacturers.

2. What are Continue reading

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