At the start of 2021, as the world began to emerge from the immense difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic and the global lockdown responses, we all knew that there were going to be many challenges that would need to be overcome in the months and years to follow.

What few people anticipated, however, was that one of these challenges would be a global shortage of semiconductor chips that has the potential to bring many industries, ranging from healthcare and communications to transport and computing, to their knees.

Semiconductors are essentially the brains of all modern electronics, including computers, so the worldwide shortage of these vital technology “internal organs” is causing an understandable amount of concern among businesses of all shapes and sizes, especially given the increasing demand for premium technology to enable productivity in increasingly remote workspaces.

Ironically, it was the arrival of this remote world of work, due to global lockdowns, that played a significant part in creating, or at least accelerating, the semiconductor shortage. As demand for electronics soared, global shutdowns brought production to a halt, effectively draining what stock there was at the beginning of 2020.

As demand for electronics soared, global shutdowns brought production to a halt, effectively draining what stock there was…

Unfortunately, the complexity of semiconductor chips means they take a long time to manufacture, and chip delivery lead times have been steadily increasing in 2021, with Bloomberg putting the average lead time at around 17 weeks in April this year. This is obviously causing a ripple effect through many electronics supply chains, especially where semiconductor chips need to be ordered and built according to unique specifications.

Beat the shortage

The good news, however, is that while the shortage was largely unavoidable, the challenges it presents can be managed through a combination of effective partnerships and wise technology choices.

Digital Generation (DG) is working closely with all its suppliers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to manage expectations and optimise technology supply chains for its clients. So, while these increasing manufacturing delays have the potential to impact on personal and business computer builds, DG has always operated on an active stocking model, using rolling demand forecasts and ordering cycles, as well as a well-stocked PC inventory.

DG’s well-established relationships with leading brands, like Microsoft, also allow them to manage the chip shortage to ensure it has less chance of becoming an issue for their clients. DG’s ordering cycle with Microsoft ensures that devices are manufactured in advance of demand, which allows them to harness a more favourable three-week estimated chip manufacture lead time, for lines that are not already held locally.

Microsoft Surface range

Microsoft first launched its Surface range in 2012 and, over the past nine years, this innovative and flexible suite of premium devices has expanded and evolved into a sought-after world leader in Windows-based hardware. Today, the Microsoft Surface family includes a full array of hardware to suit every need, from flexible tablets and laptops to ultra-powerful desktops. Current models that are available for order from DG are (subject to stock availability):

  • Surface Pro 7: Original design tablet/laptop hybrid
  • Surface Laptop 3: Good blend of speed and portability
  • Surface Go 2: Smallest, most affordable
  • Surface Laptop Go: Portable and stylish

And the South African range will soon be further enhanced with the launch of the much-anticipated Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ for business – an ultralight and mobile 2-in-1 device that’s faster than ever, has an extended battery life, and comes in Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 versions.

In addition to offering very stylish, professional and well-thought-out design, the Microsoft Surface range offers excellent speed, long battery life, user comfort and all-round excellent performance. More importantly, thanks to the strong relationship between DG and Microsoft, with its forward-thinking supply chain management processes, the range is readily available to South African businesses — if not immediately, then within a relatively short delivery period.

To find out more about the Microsoft Surface range, or to place an order for these market-leading devices for your business today, contact DG at info@dg.co.za.

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