Getting to a Sustainable Future

Earth Day 2015 offers us a time to reflect upon the thin biosphere surrounding the planet, that most important niche that we depend upon for our existence. At Smith, we realize the significance of the challenges that we face, and through our actions, we support many efforts to create a sustainable future, including renewable energy,…

Managing Risk Along the Global Semiconductor Supply Chain

Most of us have experienced that sense of alarm or disbelief when we see the reporting on the severity of the California drought. How could such a vibrant market find itself in such a predicament and why have the headlines become so grim, so quickly? Unfortunately, California is not alone in addressing the challenges of…

Arrow's Alan Bird

Distributors ‘Building’ Expanded Customer Base

As the electronics industry continues to respond to demand for more energy-efficient technologies, the supply chain has adapted its service model to support a broader range of customers. Amidst all the hype surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT), electronics distributors have begun aligning their linecards and human resources to support a subset of the IoT:…

Compliance Squeeze: The Polluter Pays

Countries around the world are struggling to deal with environmental degradation, resource scarcity and waste streams. As a result, they are issuing more and more regulations around environmental sustainability – covering areas such as waste stream control, packaging, greenhouse gas emissions and extended producer responsibility. “Legislative and cost imperatives are pushing companies to think about…

Reliance on Compliance: Evolving Industry Standards

The variety of product labeling standards set forth, or under consideration, by organizations such as the Electronics Components Industry Association (ECIA), Electronics Components Association (ECA), Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JDEC), Government Electronics and Information Technology Association (GEIA), now part of TechAmerica, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) present additional labeling challenges.…

Important Regulatory Developments from the EU and California

I have been helping an increasing number of clients track and understand their options regarding the expiration of all RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU) Annex III exemptions for products in all RoHS categories—except 8 and 9—as of July 21, 2016 (see Article 5, paragraph 2). A few European Union-based industry associations are managing working groups (some of…

Essentials of the Green Supply Chain

Growing public concern for the environment is driving companies to pay more attention to their ‘green’ footprint – not just in the products they manufacture, but also in the supply chain that carries them. What first started as an image improvement effort has evolved into a business imperative and, in the most advanced companies, a…

REE Prices Spike Following China Embargo

Rare earth elements (REEs) differ significantly from conflict minerals in all but one aspect: their availability—or lack thereof—has the potential to disrupt the electronics supply chain. REEs are exactly as they sound: compounds that appear in nature that are scarce or difficult to mine. Conflict minerals – also natural elements – are concentrated in regions…

Semiconductor Vendors Turn to Vertical Integration

While global supply chains continue to expand and extend their reach, tighter margins and intense competition challenge OEMs to improve processes and streamline operations across the board. Taking a page from the solar industry, we are seeing a real movement in semiconductors to vertical integration, particularly among the service and component distribution channels. Vertical vs.…

Smart Grid: Part of a Bigger Opportunity

A few years ago the smart grid represented an opportunity for electronics companies to tap into a rapidly growing market. Thanks to new energy standards, increased public concern for energy savings; volatile gas and oil prices; potential government subsidies and advanced electronics technologies, the grid and its offshoots looked ripe for the picking. Has the…