As you may have seen in the news, many businesses are currently experiencing shortages of components and materials used to manufacture their products. These are global supply chain problems impacting many industries and companies from multi-national corporations such as Ford and GM to small specialty manufacturers such as ourselves. I know that many products are in short supply or on back order, and often we are not able to give you accurate information about when they will be available again. This must be very frustrating.
There is a shortage of semiconductor components AKA, integrated circuits, or silicon chips. These electronic components are used in everything from mobile phones, to home appliances, to automobiles and audio equipment. When these components are not available, we cannot replenish our inventory. Once our stock of parts is exhausted, we have to stop manufacturing the product until we can purchase the parts again. To make matters worse, in addition to the semiconductor shortage, there are also problems with the supply of some other materials such as wood used to make our speaker cabinets and materials used in the manufacture of loudspeakers.
Why is this happening?
Partly it’s because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the start of the pandemic many businesses expected to be closed and sales to fall. Forecasts for components were cut and some factories slowed or stopped making components. However, with shelter in place orders around the world, sales of electronics products boomed as people acquired equipment to work from home and to keep them amused while unable to go out. Video conferencing and media streaming companies also required more hardware to support the increase in service demand.
Semiconductor manufacture is a highly specialized business. A small number of large companies make the chips in complex and expensive factories that take a long time to set up. If something unexpected happens and supply cannot meet demand, it can take months or even years to get the supply reconfigured. Some other factors have made things worse. Trade disputes resulted in restrictions on exporting some parts. A fire at the AKM factory in Japan at the end of 2020, stopped production of popular codecs that are used in a large number of pro audio products. These parts are still not available ten months later. It’s likely that the manufacturer will permanently discontinue manufacturing of some components which may require some products to be redesigned using different components which can take many months.
It will likely be well into 2022 before this gets significantly better. Until then, here is a list of which Mission products are impacted and what we are doing about it.
Mission Expression and volume pedals are unaffected. Components used in these products are not currently constrained and we are manufacturing and shipping these as normal. Some component vendors are starting to quote longer lead times, and we are taking steps to place more advance orders and to keep more parts in inventory to mitigate any future problems.
Some power supplies are affected. We have secured a supply of components at extra cost in order to maintain supply. Currently all Mission power supplies are shipping but you may see some small price increases for some models.
Most Gemini amplifiers are currently on back order. We have now source parts at extra cost. We expect to have a small number of parts in the next few weeks and hope to begin limited shipping in 6 – 8 weeks. Customers with current orders will be supplied first. If we still have availability after back orders are fulfilled, then we will be able to take new orders in 10 – 12 weeks. Follow us on social media and we’ll keep you up to date on what’s happening
Mission and Stagecraft speakers
There is a shortage of Baltic birch timber used in the construction of our speaker cabinets. We have secured some material at extra cost. There may be some short term, temporary cost increases in speakers and speaker cabinets. We are hopeful that this materials shortage will be resolved in the next few months. Some speaker drivers may be on longer than normal lead times. Please check with us for the details when placing orders.
All of us at Mission thank you for your support and understanding during these challenging times. Stay safe.