Delicate balancing act
Market researcher iSuppli has published a report revealing that many key electronic components are now in critically short supply. This is greatly extending lead times on orders and inevitably raising prices.
Among the types of component feeling the pinch are: analogue, standard logic and memory integrated circuits, as well as low-voltage MOSFETs and tantalum capacitors. The report says these are effectively on allocation status and suppliers don't have the ability to respond to unforecasted demand.
Lead times for these sorts of components are normally between ten and 12 weeks, but they are now up to 20 weeks for things like power MOSFETs. The reason for this big jump must be a delay between the increase in consumer demand and the increase in manufacturing capacity to accommodate it.
"When lead times enter the 20 week range, they indicate a major schism between component supply and demand," said Rick Pierson, senior analyst at iSuppli. "Supply constraints for electronics and semiconductor components might not come as a big surprise amid the present market rebound. However, specific market and pricing trends are spurring varying degrees of short supply depending on the component market."
This imbalance is expected to continue for the rest of the year, resulting in potentially even longer lead times and a consequent increase in average selling prices. While the memory market doesn't seem to be suffering from the same imbalances, iSuppli reckons the NAND flash market could be headed this way shortly.