THE QUESTION: Is there really a component supply issue from China and the Far East?
THE ANSWER: It would appear so. I contacted a number of members of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) Security Equipment Manufacturer's Section (SEMS) and asked them for their personal experience. Their responses made for grim reading.
'Chips', radio modules and other key components used in the security industry are in short supply. Lead times are now running out to 40 - 52 weeks with many component manufacturers demanding payment with order.
Supply and demand issues have seen the cost of some components rocket to 10 - 20 times their usual price. Proof if proof were needed that businesses in the Far East practice a unique blend of Confucius and rampant capitalism.
Ironically, demand for semiconductors actually fell in 2018/19. 2020 saw a modest increase in sales and then 2021 saw an explosion in demand with sales up over 25% on the previous year.
To say that COVID has exacerbated the situation is something of an understatement. But it is not the only factor affecting supply.
A drought in Taiwan left TSMC, one of the world's largest semiconductor manufacturers, short of water that was needed for the production process. Power cuts in China and fires in production facilities have added to problems. This was all pretty well topped off by some ham-fisted boat driver attempting to parallel park his massive container ship in the Suez Canal.