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40 SMT007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2022 Feature Article by Michael Schindele AXIOM Aer living through more than two years of the pandemic, we are very aware of the issues facing the electronics industry. We have wit- nessed months of factory shutdowns, labor disruptions due to a reduced workforce, and country, regional, and citywide COVID regu- lations and shutdowns. I will describe some of the issues we've been facing, and then explain how we learned to be creative and look for the silver linings in these disruptions. Supplier Issues Unlike past periods of extreme allocations, we now have delivery commitments that can- not be trusted, making it very difficult to plan and meet our business commitments. For example, due to ongoing material availabil- ity fluctuations, "committed" purchase order delivery dates are moving targets; changes are Axiom Inspired by Industry Challenges happening real-time, and materials that you expected to be delivered by the committed date are now weeks or even months out. is leaves both us and our customers with stranded inventory, waiting for a few parts before we can start, complete, and ship a job from our factory. Conversely, we have seen the opposite hap- pen: We were given a commit date two years out and even aer the customer assisted in dis- cussions with the manufacturer, we were faced with placing a premium priced NCNR order with an independent distributor only to have the manufacturer come back weeks later and give us the "great news" that the parts will be shipping in 30 days. We are seeing price increases not only at the time of PO placement, but up to and includ- ing the actual ship date as the materials are ready to ship. How do you explain this sudden

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