When the chip shortage became clear, Sharp Electronics started working on mitigation plans as soon as possible. We are pleased that this has enabled us to make some moves that we think are worth describing to industry watchers.
The chipsets used in the wireless interface for Sharp workgroup models were particularly hard-hit by the global chip shortage. We quickly realized that while wireless connectivity to printing is critical, most MFPs are hardwired into the network, and are still accessible to users via the corporate WIFI network. Direct wireless connectivity to the device is actually not often leveraged, though it can be a default inclusion for many buyers.
Decisive action from our engineering team was able to implement circuit redesigns for some products and roadmap changes for others to minimize the impact to Sharp dealers and customers.
New Advanced Series A3 models will be phased in with the wireless interface as optional. The new models, which have been redesigned to accommodate this change will include the letter S in the suffix and will begin shipping this month and throughout the first quarter. The S suffix will appear on the serial number plate, webpage, and packaging, but not on the front cover. Our dealers that require direct-wireless connectivity for a customer can order a Wireless LAN Adapter at a very discounted price.
New Advanced Series A4 models will be launched in March with a new standard wireless interface that supports WPA3 encryption, which is the latest generation of wireless security. Basically, Sharp moved up (earlier) implementation of this wireless capability in advance of future A4 machines it was planned for to make sure customer could still get access to A4 wireless direct connect, as these chips have a better global supply situation.
While no company is fully immune to the changes in the global supply chain, Sharp has done what we can to aggressively pivot our engineering and manufacturing teams to stay ahead of the global chip shortage as best we can. We are proud that by our acting fast, these efforts will help both our dealers and end-users stay productive during these challenging times.
SOURCE Sharp Electronics