Department of Biology Staff

Global shortage of microchips presents challenges for AU’s IT webshop

Major supply problems in the world market for microchips gives delivery problems for e.g. computers, telephones and tablets in AU’s IT webshop.

What looks like the perfect storm has hit the supply lines to AU’s IT webshop, which right now is having trouble getting tablets, phones, headsets and other IT equipment delivered. Employees therefore experience a longer waiting time than usual for the products they order. Deputy Director of AU IT Peter Bruun calls for patience.

“It is frustrating for employees to have to wait for their IT equipment, which for the most is a necessary work tool in everyday life. At AU IT and in the purchasing department we are doing everything we can to get the equipment, but we are up against a global problem, ”he says.

Chris Ellegaard, professor at the Department of Management at Aarhus BSS, explains that it is due to many factors, but it is basically due to a global shortage of electronic components such as microchips, which today are included in far more products than just a few years ago.

Increasing demand of electronic products

“We have recently seen a surprisingly large increase in the demand for electronic products. At the same time microchips today are found in a lot more products than most people imagine. So there is a huge demand, but the production capacity cannot keep up, ”says Chris Ellegaard.

He explains that it is difficult to increase production capacity from one day to the next.

“It takes some very large investments to be able to produce microchips, and it requires that you build some expensive factory plants, so it is difficult to increase production from one day to the next. We have seen a shortage of this type of electronic component before, but this is extraordinary. ”

When the demand for goods is greater than the supply, the chip manufacturers also start to choose who they will supply to and who they will dedicate production capacity to, Chris Ellegaard explains.

Pressure on the suppliers

A number of employees have wondered why they can´t buy a work computer in an electronics chain. However, it is not possible to achieve the necessary IT security if the employees themselves acquire a computer outside the IT webshop.

Purchasing manager Mogens Toft says that it is still important to order via the web shop, so that the purchases are made via the purchasing agreements. The purchasing department constantly puts pressure on the suppliers in order to procure the necessary equipment.

“We have held meetings with our suppliers to keep them up to date with our agreements, and we have a special focus on obtaining PCs, where in some cases we have purchased models other than those for which we have agreements. This has enabled us to solve acute problems, but not all, and we will continue to put pressure on suppliers, ”says Mogens Toft.

Knud Møller, IT support manager at Nat-Tech, says that they are doing everything possible to obtain equipment, but that it is a tough nut to crack.

“We prioritize that new employees get first hold of equipment when we have something in stock, and then we explore the possibilities of buying leftovers in collaboration with the purchasing department. We have also had older equipment that employees have borrowed, but I am afraid we now have nothing left. Computers are usually replaced approx. every four years, but we have paused this practice. So if you have a computer that works and still lives up to the security requirements, we prefer you don´t change it, and it actually seems to help, ”says Knud Møller.