As we head into the new year, EPSNews looks back at the top 10 stories of 2018. For the second year in a row, the most popular topic were the shortages in the electronic components industry. It’s not surprising that four out of the top five articles focused on shortages thanks to a wide range of components from capacitors and resistors to discrete semiconductors and memory devices in tight supply or on allocation in 2018. The top 10 articles are based on the highest page views in 2018.
It was another tough year for procurement in terms of supply and pricing. What started in 2017 – tight supplies of passive components, power and discrete semiconductors, and memory devices – continued into 2018. Buyers faced persistent long lead times and allocation for passive components, particularly ceramic capacitors, well into the year.
As a result, buyers also faced rising prices as component inventories dwindled. In a normal scenario, component suppliers would typically ramp up production capacity when demand exceeded supply but that’s not what happened in 2017 or 2018. Many component manufacturers, particularly passive makers, took a wait-and-see attitude, to ensure that there was long-term demand to support the increases. There were also concerns that buyers were double ordering.
In addition, suppliers said they were putting more resources into newer products and discontinuing older parts, which caused some additional tight supply for some legacy components.
Some of these issues – shortages, extended lead times and capacity constraints - will linger into 2019 as demand remains high in several market segments including automotive, industrial and the internet of things (IoT). However, there are signs that supply and pricing issues will ease for DRAM and NAND flash memory devices in the first quarter. But new challenges including tariffs will likely put another huge strain on the supply chain in the new year.
Here are the top 10 most popular articles of 2018.