A large part of 2020 and 2021 in the world of technology was marked by a shortage of various goods, which in the case of some sectors (graphics cards, among others) contributed to even higher prices. Supply chains in disarray, pissed off customers – because we had few problems, if only because of a pandemic. It turns out that the culprit has been found – and this is … a company you probably know from the production of calculators.
Unfortunately, practically the entire world of new technologies has noticed that something is wrong with the availability of devices and their prices. Low supply rocketed prices quickly, all due to problems at the supply chain level. For these to work properly, manufacturers must have the components necessary to complete the goods. It happened, however, that virtually the entire range of the largest companies lacked very specific parts, without which it is impossible to introduce goods to the market – and if they were already available, then at higher prices. So it is possible that if you tried to buy a new car or, say, a graphics card, you hit a wall. This is not the result of collusion between the producers, but … difficulties on the part of Texas Instruments.
The global semiconductor crisis has been “worked out” by companies in Taiwan. This is one of the biggest buyers of such parts, and it was they who pointed Texas Instruments as the main culprit of all unfortunate accidents. Some of you may be a bit surprised – how did it happen that a calculator manufacturer started a global crisis in the supply of parts necessary to complete devices such as smartphones, cars, tablets, graphic cards and many others. It turns out that without Texas Instruments it would be very difficult to get anything to the market.
Taiwan companies point out that Texas Instruments is a company without which most technological devices cannot exist. Well, it is a manufacturer of primarily analog integrated circuits, which are designed, among others, voltage regulation. The indicated chips and their poorer availability is a bigger problem than in the case of digital, advanced chips performing other tasks. It turns out that there is no substitute for the Americans. If such a TSMC had problems keeping its supplies, someone could be in their place. With Texas Instruments, it’s not that simple.
It turns out that Texas Instruments’ main problem is that when demand increases, they are unable to upscale their production capacity. In fact, they are constantly working at the limit of their capabilities to meet the expectations of the companies that buy the chips mentioned above from them. Okay, the culprit has been identified and hopefully it doesn’t happen again. Because, unfortunately, it may happen again and become the cause of a new global crisis in the semiconductor supply chain once again.
If Texas Instruments’ guilt is fully acknowledged, the anger of the entire industry will be focused on the Americans, and they will be expected to take steps to prevent similar situations from happening in the future. The US government and people associated with the chip manufacturing industry in this country have repeatedly stated that the dependence on entities incarcerated in China should be prevented. I wonder what rhetoric these people will use after the allegations are confirmed. It is not enough to pump money into domestic companies so that the next crisis in global supply chains does not occur – what is needed is a detailed plan and reliable analyzes of the production capacity of enterprises and grouping of types of manufactured systems.
The Americans will be pressured not only by Asia, not only Europe, but also … America. The production of Tesla cars by Elon Musk has also suffered from difficulties in accessing the chips. It is possible that in the near future we will get to know a slightly updated policy of officials in this area. Only one question remains: why are we finding out so late?