Amidst ongoing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, Apple supplier Quanta Computer is exploring options. The supplier is considering whether it would be feasible to relocate its production elsewhere. It produces MacBook Pros for Apple in Shanghai,. Quanta is looking to move that process to its factory in Chongqing, China. It hopes to increase MacBook Pro production to ease supply constraints.
Hopes of Shortening Extended Delivery Times
The COVID-19 lockdowns in and around Shanghai have caused a severe shortage of new MacBook Pro computers. Consumers have seen delivery times for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro configurations estimated as far out as early August.
The supply constraint is because of ongoing plant closures in areas with elevated COVID-19 cases. The Chinese government implemented a zero tolerance policy for COVID-19 infections. This policy requires lockdowns whenever new cases of the novel coronavirus exceed a certain threshold.
Some suppliers, notably iPhone assembler Foxconn, have been able to avoid supply constraints by using closed-loop models. These keep employees from becoming exposed to others by maintaining housing on-site or using buses to transport workers directly to and from the factory.
Sole Supplier of MacBook Pro Looks at Options to Increase Production
According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Quanta is the sole supplier of high-end MacBook Pro models. These are the configurations facing the most significant supply constraints. During its most recent earnings call, the Cupertino-based tech giant said supply constraints would disrupt its revenue for 3Q22 by as much as $4 to $8 billion.
To help alleviate these problems, Quanta is investigating the use of other locations for production. Since its factory in Chongqing is unaffected by the lockdowns, Quanta could resume MacBook Pro production there and shorten the lengthy lead times.
According to industry sources cited by DigiTimes (via MacRumors), the problem is staffing and logistics. Most of the major manufacturers in Shanghai are only operating at 10 to 20% capacity because of insufficient labor resources and other supply constraints.
This situation is unlikely to improve with a production move, since Quanta can’t just take its Shanghai workers to Chongqing. Furthermore, the global chip shortage continues to be an issue. Still, it’s possible that relocating the MacBook Pro production to another plant could shorten delivery times, even if only by a few weeks.