GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — From cars to computers to toothbrushes, microchips are found just about everywhere, and the COVID-19 pandemic has created a shortage of this piece of technology.
“Everything has a chip now," said Karl Reischl, director of technology at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. "Even on your little watch.”
The small piece of technology is causing big problems around the world.
“It’s a bunch of problems and challenges anywhere from lack of availability of people to ship products to make the products, and then even people to assemble the products," he said. "So it’s a supply chain issue from top to bottom.“
NWTC is feeling the impact of the microchip shortage, said Reischl.
“It’s been very close," he said. "We are rolling out some new programs that are going to be virtual reality-based, and we were scrambling to get the proper laptops with the right chips in them to run the higher end software.“
In hardware labs, students need to understand every component that makes up a computer.
“They’ve done their part to hustle in the background so that the students can have the latest technology to work on," said Molly Vollrath Security Analyst at NWTC. "Which is exceptionally important in a field where you have to stay at the cutting edge all the time.“
Recovering from the shortage just depends on what each country decides, in terms of shutting things down again, said Vollrath.
“Unfortunately it’s a patience thing at this point," said Vollrath. "With supply and demand, you have to be patient that the factories are going to keep pumping things out in the industries that you work for that they are going to keep an eye on the supply chain and where they can get things from to help support you.“
Despite somewhat of a return to normal over the past few months as more and more people get vaccinated, with the delta variant leading to growing numbers of COVID-19 cases globally, these experts say the future of the microchip shortage, is still unclear.