Planning for a volatile flash memory market

Flash memory supply can be volatile at the best of times, with fluctuations in availability resulting in price variation or even making it impossible to get the memory you need. We are not currently in the best of times.

The pandemic has already had a terrible human cost, and has also wreaked havoc for supply chains, causing production bottlenecks, transportation issues and more.  As the human cost continues to grow, and living with Covid-19 looks like being the normal state into the foreseeable future, organisations need to give thought to their supply chains.

The perils of the spot market

For some, the spot market might seem like a viable source of flash memory. But it is fraught with difficulties. It is true that product might be available on the spot market if your usual suppliers can’t deliver, but there is no guarantee that what you are looking for will be available today, and if it is, no guarantee that it will also be available next week, next month, or in three months’ time.

Even if the same product is available today and next month, there is no pricing guarantee. The spot market relies heavily on unallocated inventory or cancelled sales. In the case of cancelled sales, a manufacturer might pass their products on to another customer rather than dump them onto the spot market. The best products might get snapped up and not appear on the spot market.

Another problem with using the spot market is that it is difficult to guarantee the quality of flash memory. By its very nature a relationship with a manufacturer can involve clear and precise specifications and quality thresholds that the spot market just can’t support. The danger is that quality issues aren’t discovered until a product is in manufacture or even in the hands of the end user.

The benefits of a trusted supplier

Rather than relying on the spot market, the better choice is to work with a trusted supplier who can provide assured delivery and keep the supply chain functioning as it needs to.  A trusted supplier will have strong links with key flash memory suppliers, and they will be able to access information about potential supply variance and help their customers plan ahead.

And a trusted supplier will do more. The world of flash memory is complex, with each maker implementing their own quality standards, and no accepted international standards. Product planning and design is complex, and design engineers might benefit from the advice of seasoned flash memory specialists in specifying exactly the right memory for their products. Sharing plans with a trusted supplier can result in high quality advice which can prevent serious product issues that only reveal themselves in manufacture or after-sales support.

At Cardwave we provide high quality advice as well as sourcing flash memory for our customers. We have a proven track record of helping firms specify the right flash for their products. We have, for example, helped a leading automotive manufacturer specify the right memory for its navigation system, steering it away from consumer grade memory and towards a more robust product.

When it comes to establishing a reliable supply chain of appropriate quality flash memory products it really does pay to find a trusted supplier with extensive experience, a detailed understanding of the technicalities of flash and excellent relationships with a broad range of suppliers. Make a trusted supplier your partner, and your products – and your reputation – will benefit.