Jordan Brompton, co-founder of myenergi, explains how her company has used R&D to circumnavigate the semiconductor microchip shortage.
Amid what Wall Street is calling the big tech boom, with revenues of the world’s largest tech businesses soaring 18% year on year, companies are reporting a global shortage of specialist semiconductor microchips. A widespread concern spanning almost every market, brands are struggling to source enough components to meet high product demand, with some providers having to cancel contracts and close production facilities just to stay afloat.
Tesla, for example, has been notably affected, with CEO Elon Musk describing Q1 2021 as having “some of the most difficult supply challenges we’ve ever experienced.” Elsewhere, consumer tech companies like PlayStation are struggling to meet customer demand, while new phones and laptops are also in short supply.
Further afield, smaller companies too are feeling the pressure, with limited supply decimating up-and-coming firms. Of course, this hasn’t been helped by power cuts closing microchip production facilities in Texas, or a fire at the Renesas factory in Japan, which has seen assembly halted until at least July.
A business at the global forefront of technology innovation, myenergi is renowned for pioneering the world’s first eco-smart EV charger. Capable of using 100% renewable energy, our smart device has been specifically designed to help EV owners achieve energy independence, minimise reliance on fossil fuels and reduce their carbon footprint.
Alongside zappi, we manufacture a wide range of eco-smart technology products, all of which harness stylish design and state-of-the-art capability to transform domestic energy use. But despite production being centralised in the UK, we are among countless tech pioneers that rely heavily on specialist imported microchips for the manufacture of our products.
While many have suggested that we should manufacture microchips ourselves, this simply isn’t an option. Indeed, production must be undertaken in ultra-clean, state-of-the-art facilities designed to eliminate both dust and static electricity. A significant investment – and a key reason behind why only a handful of these sites are operational worldwide.
So, with more than 1,500 zappi units shipped every week and demand increasing on an almost daily basis, this continued shortage has proven a significant business challenge. With no sign pressure relieving any time soon, we knew that we had to act fast to prevent a huge backlog in orders.
Rather than reducing capacity, cancelling contracts or pausing production, we channelled our entire R&D efforts into identifying an alternative solution. While this resulted in an unplanned delay to our new product development timelines, it enabled us to continue building our global market share and maintaining a healthy growth trajectory for the future.
Each product in our range has been effectively redesigned to ensure compatibility with a new, more powerful, less utilised type of microchip. Providing a whole host of features and customer benefits, the process has proven a triumph, with our products now capable of even more than before.
Thanks to the dedication of our R&D division, more than a years’ work has been delivered in just a few months. Effectively innovating ourselves out of a challenging situation, we have demonstrated the pace and flexibility needed to excel in today’s rapidly-developing technology landscape.
Now that production is back on track, we have resumed our focus on creating a comprehensive suite of new products, which are poised for launch later this year. In addition, we have been expanding our operations in the background, relocating our production facilities to a custom-built factory in North East Lincolnshire and opening a number of subsidiaries all over the world.
Turning adversity into opportunity has been no mean feat, but our team has achieved over and above expectations. I’m truly proud of our response, which demonstrates the power of innovation and benefit of strategic flexibility.
Microchip shortages may have resulted in temporary challenges for the big tech boom, but the sector is set for a bright future. At myenergi, we’re proud to be operating at the global forefront.