If you want to know just how much we have come to rely on electronics for our existence, just look at the current microchip shortage and how many industries have been affected. Computers, mobile devices, cars, and “smart” appliances are just a few of the many examples of how microchips have become integrated into the things we use every day. The global shortage of microchips is not just affecting big companies like Apple and Samsung Electronics. It’s having an impact on small businesses, schools, hospitals, and other organizations around the world—including many Orange County small businesses. And unfortunately, it could last for years to come.
How the Microchip Shortage Began
Like so many other complications in our world, the microchip shortage began with the COVID-19 pandemic. China is the largest producer of these tiny semiconductors, and when COVID caused widespread illness and shutdowns, the microchip plants were forced to halt production—not just in China but in other places. Even when they began to ramp up production again, the factories couldn’t get the parts to make their chips, and then the ports from which the microchips are shipped around the world were also forced to close. The combination of low supply and a disrupted supply chain has caused a “perfect storm,” of sorts, the effects of which we’re still feeling today.
How the Shortage Is Affecting Us
You’ve probably noticed in recent months that an increasing number of items you’ve been shopping for are out of stock—including computers, mobile devices, cars, washer/dryers, “smart” toasters, and even components for VoIP phone service. (Basically, anything that uses a microchip.) Older items may still be in stock, but those supplies are dwindling, too.
The second thing you might have noticed is higher prices—because both the chips themselves and the parts that go into them have increased in price due to scarcity. The auto industry has been the hardest hit because automakers have to order chips well in advance to put in their vehicles, causing long wait times for new vehicle arrivals and skyrocketing prices for used cars. But Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties (just to name a few) business owners can also expect more scarcity and higher prices with the computers and hardware that go into their IT and VoIP calling systems.
When Will It End?
It depends on who you ask. Most authorities agree that the shortage (and its effects on consumers) could last at least until the first half of 2022, but some experts believe things won’t get back to normal until at least 2023. Until then, the only options consumers have is to be willing to wait longer and pay more for these products—or put off purchasing until supplies are replenished and prices go down.
At NetServ, we’re committed to weathering this shortage with our customers and offering the best VoIP phone service for business at the most affordable rates possible. Call 1-877-NetServ to learn more.