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Computrols & the Global Chip Shortage

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For the past year our team has worked diligently to combat the challenges presented to our organization as a result of the global chip shortage. There is not a day that goes by where we are not faced with a fresh issue related to the availability of the raw materials/components required to manufacture our products. Our team is continually pulling tricks out of their hats that are more reminiscent of a master magician than the typical roles that they fill as Hardware Engineers, Software Engineers, Procurement Specialists, or Manufacturing Technicians.

Years ago, when we began designing our own controllers, we were faced with deciding between investing in our own manufacturing facility or outsourcing manufacturing to a big contract manufacturer. While most of our competitors chose the latter, we chose to make the investment and do it ourselves. This decision was driven primarily for purposes of product quality, but rapid R&D prototyping and incremental improvements were also a consideration. Today, in the midst of a global chip shortage, this decision has turned out to be invaluable. With decades of design and manufacturing experience, we are agile enough to rapidly replace long-lead chips with alternate parts that are readily available. We can redesign, order parts, manufacture, test and ship to customers in a matter of weeks while still maintaining the same quality and reliability you have come to expect from Computrols.. The entire cycle is handled at our U.S. corporate headquarters with as little dependence on outside sources as possible.

While we pride ourselves on our ability to be nimble we’ve had and continue to have challenges affiliated with the Global Semiconductor shortage. As both a Manufacturing and Service organization we focus on delivering quality products and exceptional service. Delivering materials timely is a big part of that. As a result, the number of days from order placement to order shipment for the direct sale of Computrols manufactured products is a Computrols Key Performance Indicator that we routinely assess. Although our performance has slipped due to the times, our team shipped these types of orders within 4 days (on average) in the first quarter of this year. Given the daily challenges affiliated with making this possible I find this to be a rather incredible feat.

Unfortunately, there is no end in sight to these shortages and I am of the belief that we have yet to reach the peak of this crisis. As a manufacturer of Building Automation Products, historically, all of our competitors have been within our industry. In today’s world where an infinite amount of products include electronics we find ourselves competing with some of the largest organizations in the world for the raw materials used to manufacture our products. While I do not have a crystal ball I believe that this crisis will be ongoing for at least the next 18 months. 

Although we live in uncertain times, I am certain of one thing. Our team and I will continue to do everything within our power to limit product lead times for Computrols manufactured products.

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