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WinGD, a leading developer of marine propulsion energy systems has, like others, had to confront potential component shortages as a result of supply chain difficulties. However, the company has been proactive in dealing with this challenge and continues to work in close cooperation with its suppliers to mitigate the situation.
Supply chain issues are impacting industries across the globe. In particular, there is a shortage of semi-conductor chips, a key part in engine control systems. The underlying reasons for the shortage are manyfold, with the steep increase in global demand accentuated by Covid-19 related effects, being seen as the primary cause.
WinGD recognised the potential impact this could have on engine production and their in time delivery, and has carefully monitored component deliveries while, at the same time, anticipating production requirements. This allowed them to place orders early for semi-conductor chips and other vital components, thereby providing an important hedge against delays.
“Chip supply shortage is affecting engine builders across the board. We are well positioned at the moment because we took immediate action in close collaboration with our engine builders and suppliers. In recent years we have prioritized localization as well as design improvements for certain components to improve flexibility in our supply chain, which is proving to be an advantage right now. But the situation remains dynamic and we continue to carefully monitor it so as to take action as needed,” commented Rudolf Holtbecker, WinGD’s Director of Operations.
A modern industry challenge
The maritime sector has for some years been undergoing a rapid transition towards the application of smart, digital-based, solutions. This has undoubtedly raised propulsion efficiency levels, while making a positive contribution to the lowering of operating costs.
It has, nevertheless, involved supplies of electronic components that are also required by a host of other industries. Consequently, the exponential growth in global demand for such supplies during the past 2 years, combined with various unanticipated political and health-related factors, has led to the current supply chain crisis.
As Holtbecker points out: “Digital technology advances have been enormously beneficial to our industry, enabling improvements in both efficiency and emissions, with further improvements still to come. Having to rely on popular in-demand components, such as semi-conductor chips, means that marine equipment manufacturers are now competing with other industries for these essential components. Our focus remains on supporting our customers, whether engine builders or ship operators, whatever the circumstances, so we are doing our utmost to manage the situation effectively.”
WinGD’s close collaboration with its own supplier base, along with its proactive actions, have certainly helped to mitigate the company’s exposure to this challenge. Consequently, delivery delays have thus far been minimised. However, Holtbecker points out that close collaboration with business partners is essential to stay on top of the situation and plan accordingly. “Careful management is the key. By forecasting potential needs and ordering early, deliveries can be largely safeguarded, which will relieve the pressures imposed by possible component shortages.”