From Design to Distribution: Navigating the Semiconductor Supply Chain

From Design to Distribution: Navigating the Semiconductor Supply Chain

Semiconductor supply chain components

We live in a truly technology-driven world, and semiconductors are one of the most important components in our electronic devices. From your smartphone and laptop to fitness trackers and home appliances, these tiny components have quickly become the backbone of the modern world.

Despite its importance, many people fail to appreciate how complex the semiconductor supply chain is that transports these components from the drawing board to your device. It wasn’t until the electronic component shortage during the Covid-19 pandemic and the now infamous Suez Canal obstruction that people began to appreciate how semiconductor supply chain issues affect everything from cars to medical equipment.

Links in the Semiconductor Supply Chain

So what are the links that make up the semiconductor supply chain? Even a basic snapshot can help reveal how interconnected the processes of modern life have become, as well as how widespread the effects of a semiconductor supply chain disruption can be.

1. Design and Development

The semiconductor supply chain begins with their initial design and development. Semiconductor manufacturers rely on experienced engineers and designers to create unique blueprints before an extensive process of research, prototyping, and testing to ensure that components meet the required performance levels.

2. Production

Consumers are continuously looking for their devices to be smaller and more compact, which means semiconductor manufacturers need to factor this into new designs. Standard semiconductors might not fit the specifications for smaller or more intricate devices, so custom product designs are often required to meet product companies’ needs.

3. Testing and Packaging

Each semiconductor chip will then undergo extensive testing to identify defects before being packaged to protect it from damage while in transit. Testing requires a high degree of precision to ensure quality standards; so much so that in the near future, AI applications are likely to take the lead on this phase of the process.

4. Assembly

During the assembly stage of the semiconductor supply chain, semiconductor chips are assembled into the devices consumers will eventually purchase. This involves integrating them into the circuit boards, and depending on the complexity of the device, can be done manually or might require automated machinery.

5. Distribution

The final stage of the supply chain is the distribution of those electronic devices to the public. This might be done through a dedicated distributor, a retail outlet, or directly to the consumer via online ecommerce orders. Whatever the method, this process typically requires a mix of shipping, warehousing, and inventory management. A semiconductor supply chain disruption is most apparent at this point in the process, immediately before the finished products reach the consumer.

Navigating the Supply Chain

Semiconductor supply chain logistics

Attempting to navigate the ever-changing semiconductor supply chain can be an incredibly challenging process. As consumers become increasingly reliant on electronic devices in their daily lives, the demand for these components is only expected to rise. Given consumer demand and the complex nature of the supply chain, semiconductor supply chain issues have the potential to cause massive disruption in global markets.

The world has already seen how semiconductor supply chain disruptions can not only lead to delays in production but also an increase in costs. For businesses that utilize semiconductors in their devices, it is essential that they have a steady and reliable distributor they can trust.

At Part Locator, our mission is to help make the process of finding reliable semiconductor manufacturers as smooth and as straightforward as possible. As a leading semiconductor distributor, we work closely with our customers to ensure that they have access to the components they need to keep their operations active.

Talk to a Semiconductor Supply Specialist

Browse semiconductors using our search tool or submit an RFQ to let us know about your specific requirements. A team member will be in touch with a cost estimate and expected delivery time for your order.


  • Bill Hartman

    Bill Hartman has developed a lifetime of expertise in sourcing niche electronic parts and components required by many industries, including aerospace, military, and medical device technology. He's had a passion for the business since his first apprenticeship at age 16. Bill has worked in the industry since 1996 and founded Part