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  • Writer's pictureEdTeach USA

Prowise tackles global supply chain shortages through in-house software and hardware development

Due to COVID-19, there is a worldwide shortage of chips, components, and raw materials for the production of touchscreens. Since Dutch market leader Prowise writes all software and firmware for its touchscreens itself, teachers and students will not notice any changes 'under the hood' of the digiboards. "The needs of our end users are always the main focus, even during this great pressure on the supply chain," assures Hans Ahrens, Product Director at Prowise.

Globally, we are facing major shortages in the supply chain, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The production of raw materials has come to a standstill and there is also a great scarcity of chips and other components. As a touchscreen supplier, we face a unique challenge; we are doing everything we can to ensure that our customers notice as little as possible. "First of all, the main focus is on our end users. That is why we do not compromise on quality and safety. A Prowise Touchscreen always includes all of the functionalities you expect. For example, we do not produce screens without certain connection ports, because that is more convenient in terms of available components," says Product Director Hans Ahrens.

Added value of own colleagues In China, where practically all worldwide digiboard production takes place, we also work with our own Prowise colleagues. This team of specialists is responsible for our extensive quality control, among other things. They speak the language, know the market inside out, and can respond to changing circumstances and available components like no other. A good relationship and personal contact gives us a preferred position together with international players such as HP or Apple.

Own firm- and software Due to the global shortage, we may have to replace certain components on the motherboard of our touchscreens. Such a hardware change logically also affects the firmware and software of the display. We always make sure that teachers and students do not notice any changes 'under the hood'. Since we develop the software and firmware entirely in-house, we can respond quickly to changes and guarantee stability to our end users.

Independent decision making Prowise has grown into a major player in the touchscreen market. We own our technology and can therefore never be forced out of business by a factory. We always decide what choices we make. Is a component not available? Then we can never be presented with a fait accompli by the factory. We have a back-up supply of panels on reserve, to name an example.

Responsible transport Once the screens have been produced, we do everything in our power to get them to Budel in a fast, responsible way. Transport costs have exploded in recent months. "We normally choose sea freight, but now we also transport touchscreens by train or road. Because our CO2 impact is central, we only use air transport when there is no other option," says Ahrens.

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