COVID-19 Is Impacting the Embedded Computing Industry and its Supply Chain

May 26, 2020 GT Hilliard

We are now living in the craziest of times, certainly the craziest of my lifetime, and likely yours. Obviously, I’m referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, and all the issues that’s it brings with it.

In the embedded computing space, it’s having an impact on the global supply chain, and not a good impact, especially in North America. You could make the argument that our economy and the component supply chains are closely tied together, and what impacts one region of the world tends to impact almost all regions, to some degree. And what affects the component supply trickles down to the embedded computing industry in general.

Here at WINSYSTEMS, we do a majority of our manufacturing in the United States. That helps us keep close control over the process and we are less affected by global events. To further that point, the company maintains a buffer of components on our shelves, placing orders far in advance, to ensure that manufacturing continues without a hitch. We take advantage of numerous global supply chains but also maintain the ability to manufacture each of our core technologies in-house.

We’ve seen an increase in customers specifically requesting products designed and manufactured in the US for government, military and aerospace, energy, and transportation markets. And with the current circumstances, there will likely be more attention to ensure that all medical diagnostic equipment and other critical infrastructure items are kept on schedule.

Our nearly 40-years of experience, and navigating through this current crisis,  underscores that it takes a coordinated effort from the entire company to make the process work. Even one process “hiccup” can cause a significant problem. Thankfully, everyone at WINSYSTEMS is following the rules and we’ve been able to keep the lines running and products flowing. But as we all know, it could be a long time before the world is in the clear, and it may never go back to the way it was. Frankly, no one knows yet what the long-term impact will be.

In many cases, however, product slowdowns can be beyond the control of the manufacturer. If the components aren’t coming in as expected, that could cause an issue. And unfortunately, we’ve seen some manufacturers experience temporary shutdowns to clean their facilities and protect their employees and clients after just one employee tested positive for COVID-19. However, our inventory management has help bridge the gap in deliveries.

The ITX-P-C444 industrial Pico-ITX SBC is manufactured entirely in WINSYSTEMS’ US-based facility. In fact, it now boasts a Made in the USA” badge to reflect that.

WINSYSTEMS recently we began adding “Made in the USA” badges to products produced at our headquarters in Grand Prairie, Texas. These include the popular PPC12-427, a fanless, 12.1-in. panel PC and the ITX-P-C444 industrial Pico-ITX single-board computer (SBC). The former features the latest generation Intel Apollo Lake-I SoC processor. With its small size, low power, extended operational temperature, and IP65 rating, it’s a great fit for harsh environments in the industrial control, transportation, energy, and industrial IoT markets.

The ITX-P-C444 SBC is designed with NXP’s i.MX8M applications processor. Combining dual Ethernet, industrial I/O, and other expansion options, it’s suited for digital signage, industrial automation, energy, building automation, and other applications in harsh environments.

At the end of the day, you can rest assured that WINSYSTEMS is here to continue to serve our essential clients, now and into the future.

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