Inbound Logistics | May 2022

New research from Supplyframe confirms what we already suspected: The electronics supply chain continues to face high risk and is not likely to shed its woes in 2022. Thanks largely to the never-ending increase in demand for semiconductor chips, coupled with supply chain hangovers from pandemic-related disturbances and new raw materials challenges relating to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the grim outlook is here to stay for the foreseeable future, says the Supplyframe report. It also predicts three top risks for the electronics supply chain in 2022: 1. Component price increases due to materials shortages and manufacturing disruptions. 2. Longer lead times due to buffer inventory depletion. 3. Geopolitical rivalries between China and North America. Electronics RISKY BUSINESS BREADBOARD RAISES THE DOUGH Breadboard, a timely startup providing software that digitizes the supply chain for electronics manufacturers, recently secured $1 million in funding from Bienville Capital. The new company, founded by CEO Zachary Feuerstein and CTO George Balayan, has created a solution that enables electronics manufacturers to generate instant quotes for their customers—which automates and speeds the lengthy RFQ process—and then organize the internal manufacturing and sourcing process. The software helps manufacturers streamline RFQ delivery, automate bills of materials, calculate labor estimations, generate instant quotes, and process payments—and it is all customizable for each business. It also enables the manufacturer to seamlessly connect with suppliers and other supply chain partners. As a result, Feuerstein and Balayan say, Breadboard users gain transparency into pricing, availability, and shipping times for all components. With the urgent need for tools that aid in tackling supply chain concerns for manufacturers, Breadboard is well positioned for growth. The fledgling firm has also partnered with venture studio Fractal Software, which has supported the launch of more than 30 B2B software businesses.

CAN WE SAVE THE SEMICONDUCTOR SUPPLY CHAIN? Developing strategies to help strengthen the efficacy of the semiconductor supply chain is almost a national pastime at this point. Experts of all kinds have lent their brainpower to determining how to relieve ongoing supply chain pressures surrounding one of the most in-demand products on the planet. Renowned public policy organization The Brookings Institute is the latest to weigh in. Instead of a focus on reshoring the semiconductor supply chain—an increasingly popular approach supported by recent legislation on Capitol Hill—the Brookings Institute espouses a two-pronged holistic approach to address semiconductor availability. First, the United States should focus on deepening its high-tech collaboration with supply chain partners such as South Korea, Taiwan, or Europe. Second, the United States should amend immigration rules to permit more skilled workers to enter the country, augmenting the talent pool during a period of labor shortages and increasing the competitiveness of U.S.-based industry. The Institute says these policies would help boost domestic production from 10-12% of the global market and increase supply chain resilience while minimizing potential efficiency losses from over-reliance on local manufacturing. Its resistance to embracing reshoring as a solution centers around the excessive time it takes to build semiconductor manufacturing facilities, the likeliness that U.S. fabrication plants will not be profitable without government assistance, and ongoing labor shortages.

16 Inbound Logistics • May 2022

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