Supply Crisis Surcharge

Update: Thursday 9 February 2023

The Supply Chain Crisis has increased prices, and decreased (if not eliminated some) supplies, for the parts used to make the M!nder with.

Amongst my various responses, one has been to assemble the PCBs by hand! Ordinarily, populating a PCB with components is carried out by automated machines, allowing accuracy, speed and volume-production. In fact, many integrated circuit chips (ICs) are _designed_ for this end, being near-impossible to handle manually.

These pick-and-place machines are fed reels of components (resistors, capacitors, ICs, etc). For the M!nder’s PCB, around forty components, thus forty reels, are needed. Some of these reels are out-of-stock at PCB fabricators, and many are so over-priced that a M!nder will become much more expensive.

On the plus side, this is a new business with no visibility. I’d be lucky to find any customers! So, in the near term, I can manually assemble the PCBs–a practice that’d be far too costly for a high-volume business. This should allow me to avoid automated assembly, so long as the number of customers is manageable.

If, on the other hand, the number of customers increases, I will have to use automated assembly–just like other electronics products use–with its consequent price-rise, due to the Supply Crisis.

In such a scenario, I will have to add a Supply Crisis Surcharge to the M!nder’s price. Normalization of supplies and prices is not expected to occur before mid-2023; whenever it does happen, this Fee will no longer be charged. …Let’s hope that the proverbial ‘new normal’ will not be higher prices!

Saturday 23 July 2022
The CPU used in the current version of the M!nder might’ve been a dollar or so before the Covid-19 Supply Crisis; I managed to find some for $4 plus shipping, at some point. But, the last time I checked, it had gone up to $30 each! (Minimum $20.) Under these circumstances, I am better off selling the chips I have, than to sell the M!nder!

Thursday 23 February 2023
The shop is opening. As sales have not yet begun, there should be no need for automated assembly for a while. So, no surcharge for that has been applied. I’ve not raised the price, despite the CPU chips still being over-priced.