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 backorder, 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 of course. 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 restriction 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 six months later.
It will likely be the end of the year or even 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 power supplies are affected, in particular the Mission 529 which is currently on backorder. We have secured a supply of components at extra cost. Mission will absorb most of this increase, but there may be a small price increase for the 529 to cover the difference. The 529 should be back in stock in about 4 – 5 weeks. We currently have sufficient stock of the 529i and 529M to meet demand for the next few months and these are still available now.
Most Gemini amplifiers are currently on back order. We are working on sourcing parts, but some components are not available at all and have lead times stretching into 2022. We are considering offering some Gemini’s without the wireless and USB audio interfaces as these contain some of the most difficult to obtain parts. 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.