Faced with a shortage of components, the regularity of production is strongly questioned, leading to a slowdown or even a halt in activities. In order to deal with this, STANEO is mobilising to better understand the situation.
Dependence on single sources in scarcity situations :
In a shortage situation, the risk of not being able to produce and therefore deliver to our customers is all the greater as our products require specialised, non-substitutable components.
In order to secure production from the design phase onwards, components are chosen according to various criteria, and the existence of "alternative sources" is one of them. However, it has its limits, as some components are so specialised as to create an almost inescapable dependency. On an electronic board, this is the case, for example, of a microcontroller or certain analogue-digital converters.
Possible solutions for dealing with the shortage :
At the end of 2021, we were confronted with particularly long delays for two critical elements of our MICRO-CAB cabinets: the GPS receiver and the 4G GSM module.
As a reminder, the possible options to respond to a shortage situation are :
- Stockpiling is a particularly costly option, which indirectly slows down R&D since the priority will be to consume this stock, and which contributes to worsening the situation - well, not on the scale of STANEO...
- Entering the infernal cycle of a new card design at each production launch. This consists of adapting in the short term with no certainty of capitalising on the work: " Twenty times on the job, put your work back together", it's poetic, but it doesn't correspond to any industrial model.
- Anticipate when possible. This involves " multiple implementations ": we reserve the possibility of assembling this or that reference depending on availability at the time. This requires a design effort but at the time of production, we have 3 or 4 alternatives for critical functions.
STANEO, an alternative for product design:
Anticipating risks allows us to control our production. This was the strategy we implemented when we designed our GPS-GSM module for DIN rail mounting. This module now provides the dating and communication functions in our MICRO-CAB enclosures and replaces two references with uncertain supplies. The critical components, i.e. the GPS and GSM chips, are multi-sourced. This offers several advantages: we can build our module with different references of GPS receiver and modem, but moreover, we can easily adapt the modem according to the needs of our customers (area, operator, 2-4G technology ...).
GPS - GSM - DIN module