If you ask manufacturers what’s shutting down their supply chains and driving market-wide silicon shortages, 9 out of 10 will point to COVID-19-based factory closures. But parts are delayed for 52 weeks while factories were closed between 2–6 weeks, so what was the real reason? A deeper investigation shows that a growing combination of trends seen in the past, like tight lean raw material inventory management and the bullwhip effect, are largely to blame.

In 2018, something strange began to happen with MLCC capacitors, a commoditized and extremely common type of ceramic capacitor used in most electronics. Prices began to…

Controversial, I know. As businesses were hit by the semiconductor shortage, the world has continued to feel the shock waves. Now 12 months into major supply shortages, consumers haven’t been able to buy their favorite electronics, and businesses can’t sell. However, by increasing raw material inventory buffers and setting up excess component trading with other manufacturers, the electronic industry might just come out greener and more resilient on the other side.

Like what you see? For most, it’s likely to be months before Sony’s inventory recovers enough for it to end up in your hands.

As quarantine set in, demand for many electronics skyrocketed. …

Visualize exactly 300,000 whales stacked on top of each other, flailing in their confusion. Combined, they create a weight of around 55 million tons, enough Newtonian force to crack a hole in the surface of the earth. According to dosomething.org, in the aftermath of 2020, the worldwide generation of E-waste totaled 55.5 million metric tons. Understandably this amount of e-waste is initially not as worrying as it should be, because few have a pre-existing understanding of the measured impact of e-waste on the rest of the world. …

E-waste “paradise islands” are now everywhere. Why hasn’t the issue been fixed yet?

Shoot! The last TV you had in inventory didn’t sell, even with the 30% off markdown on store shelves. Donating it would require transportation costs, shipping it would result in shipping costs, and keeping it in inventory would lead to outlandish storage costs. In a moment of despair, you put it outside to be picked up by waste collectors. What happens now? Most likely, it very soon will end up in the landfill.

As your TV breaks down in due time, it will begin to leak mercury and other harmful chemical contaminants into the nearby environment. While making up only…

Walk through any city district, and eventually your eyes will catch it. You’ll look on in awe, as you see racks of refurbished clothing and used shoes packed neatly into Nike’s refurbished stores, available for far cheaper than initially bought, in near the same condition you would find them new. You could cross the street and see Apple’s refurbished outlet, with stacks of like-new computers on sale for hundreds of dollars less than retail, because someone opened them before. …

Mobius Materials

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