With such a heavy focus on remote work over the past year or so, if you have tried to procure equipment or technology solutions during this period, you may have noticed that it is much harder than usual to do so. The global chip shortage has led to many challenges for organizations, chief among them getting the parts needed to put together critical technology solutions. This opens up a whole other set of issues, though, particularly in regards to disruption of the supply chain.
First, a little bit of background regarding this issue. With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the world so profoundly, the increase in demand for remote technology triggered a massive shortage in the global semiconductor market. So many companies and organizations rushed to purchase new technology to keep their own operations from sinking that the companies responsible for manufacturing semiconductors simply could not keep up with the demand. This demand for semiconductors has had significant impacts on manufacturers of just about all electronics, including the appliance and automobile industries.
Gartner predicts that this shortage will likely last well into 2022, a notion that has turned many organizations and businesses toward finding alternative solutions to their semiconductor shortage woes, lest they suffer from an inability to continue operations. Industry professionals, however, worry that this shortage of parts might open up opportunities for scammers to manufacture and sell fraudulent components.
According to ZDNet, the possibility for fraudsters to take advantage of this opportunity by producing counterfeit products is a very real issue that cannot be avoided. ZDNet reports that there is a precedent for this happening, like with the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan; this triggered a shortage of capacitors for medical devices, a shortage that fraudsters took advantage of by producing counterfeit products.
As for whether or not these counterfeit products are problematic, the answer is a resounding “yes,” but probably not for the reasons that you might suspect. In most cases, the counterfeit semiconductors themselves are either manufactured to appear legitimate or to imitate the real deal, or they are components that have been stripped of all branding and repackaged for resale. In both cases, according to ZDNet, these fraudulent components are not subject to the rigorous quality control procedures that large manufacturers have in place, meaning that they might pass basic quality control checks, but are simply not sustainable long-term.
Now, consider what might happen to businesses or manufacturers who procure these counterfeit products and integrate them into their supply chain and processes. Suddenly these components are actively being used in the same way that real components that have been tested are. What happens when these components fail and lead to disaster? It’s a position that no business wants to find itself in.
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