Greetings and happy New Year. I held off on reviewing the memory market until the dust settled after a chaotic rush to replenish inventory, pipeline in products, and forecast buys for the coming quarters. Yes, I’ll be the first to comment on scheduling through Christmas. Quote and order levels were very high since the calendar turned to 2015.
I’ve seen a significant increase in quoting activity on the 512-Mb SDRAM series. There was a quiet rush when the end-of-life notice and last-time buy dates were announced. Since those dates have all passed, OEMs and CEMs that were unaware of the last-time buy / last-time ship dates have been hitting the open market to source, while running opportunities to Alliance Memory, Micron’s strategic partner on the entire 512-Mb SDRAM series. Alliance agreed to supply and extend availability of the three part numbers in the series.
Another line that I am seeing pick up for are the x16 DDR3 parts, particularly the 1.35v. We’ve seen quote activity increasing from the CM channels and order activity pick up from the OEM side. This leads me to believe that many of the top CMs are pushing harder on cost savings and supply chain continuity. The confirmations are coming in quicker on alternate sourcing solutions than I have previously seen. I’ve typically seen the sample approval process take nearly six weeks. However, I’ve been seeing the approval process take as little as two weeks. OEMs are getting educated on the memory market, realizing that even the shortest of delays in ordering could affect pricing and delivery quotes which ultimately can lead to a negative impact on their bottom line.
One area to pay closer attention to is the NAND flash market. Consumer prices for SSD drives continue to move lower and lower. Mobile and automotive demands continue to flourish. This has put added pressure on the many factories that produce NAND. Inventory levels were extremely lean and production yields were very low, which led to a rough patch for investors of these companies. It will be interesting to see how much pressure the stakeholders in these companies put on increasing revenue and reporting positive earnings to the street.
Joe Stern is the memory product manager at America II Electronics. With more than 15 years’ experience at the company, Joe has spent the majority of his time on the purchasing and supply chain side of the business. Joe started his career at America II in 1999 in sales. He then transitioned to the purchasing team in 2001 as the memory commodity buyer and was soon promoted to senior memory buyer. During his time on the purchasing team, Joe became a subject matter expert in the memory field, leading new hire and product training, analyzing market conditions, and identifying opportunities to increase profitability all while continuing to support customer supply chains. In 2013, Joe was promoted to the product management team. In his current role as memory product manager, Joe works closely with his global sourcing team and is responsible for inventory position, internal marketing and promotion of key component manufacturers for global sales and purchasing.