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October 15,  2013 
Editor's Note 
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There's Death in Those Counterfeits 

Counterfeiting is a big subject in the electronics industry today and for many it is more than a business issue. It is very personal. Companies that are victims of counterfeiters don't like to tell anyone their products or supply chains have been compromised; it can be the kiss of death for an entire product line, including parts that had not been duplicated and sold by counterfeiters. The dangers extend well beyond damages to corporate reputation and bruised executive egos, though.

 

Counterfeits threaten not just supply chains but human lives too and this fact should be a concern to everyone in the electronics industry as I noted in a recent blog from which I took the title of this newsletter (See: There's Death in Those Counterfeits). Editors and contributors will continue to address this topic in articles and blogs because it is critical to the industry and the larger economy, not to mention people impacted. (Also see: Military, Aviation Markets More Vulnerable to Counterfeiting).

 

Since the last EPS News+Plus newsletter went out we have continued to cover developments that are important to electronics component procurement experts, the supply chain, financial experts, senior management and other industry professionals. A financial analysis article by London-based Colin Barnden of Semicast Research caught the eyes of EPS executive editor Gina Roos and we quickly got permission from the financial analyst to publish it on our site. Barnden gracefully agreed and the article should be a compelling read for anyone trying to understand the dynamics of the competition between intellectual property (IP) company ARM Holding and Intel Corp., the world's biggest semiconductor vendor by revenue. It's doubtful anyone can accurately predict how the war between the two competing ideas championed by these two companies will play out but as the skirmishes moves on to the "Internet of Things" Barnden provides some valuable insights into what the industry can expect. (See: Intel vs. ARM War Moves to 'Internet of Things').

 

On the distribution front, we continue to watch the jostling for stronger market positions by the big companies and their smaller rivals. Being small doesn't mean you can rumble with the big guys as Jameco Electronics has shown in a report filed by managing editor Barbara Jorgensen, a long-term watcher of the market. Jameco, according to Barbara, is determined not to be left behind in the industry and has crafted a niche in the market that it is trying to address with specialized offerings. (See: Jameco: a Different Approach to Distribution).

You'll find something to pique your interest in this issue of EPS NewsPlus and if you don't please let us know how we can do a better job of providing the tools and resources you need to do your job better. Drop me a line at bolaji.ojo@epsnewsonline.com.

 

Speaking of serving the industry, I would like to enlist your assistance with a survey EPS has launched as part of our efforts to gain a better understanding of the electronics purchasing and procurement community. If you buy or specify components for a manufacturer, we would like to hear from you. The survey won't take more than 15 minutes and we will provide an executive summary of the reports to respondents in addition to entering them into a drawing to win one of two mini iPads.

 

Simply click on the following link to get started: http://survey.beacontech.com/2328/cgi-bin/ciwweb.pl?studyname=2328&p=3

 
Please be assured that all answers are completely confidential and will be used only in combination with others we receive. Your candid response is critical to the success of this research. 

To sign up for the News+Plus newsletter please click here.  

 

See you online soon!  

 

 

Bolaji Ojo 

Editor in chief & publisher

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Feature Articles 
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Intel vs. ARM War Moves to 'Internet of Things'  

September saw the launch of the Z3700 series of Atom processors from Intel Corp.,  the supplier's latest assault on the smartphone and tablet processor market. While its market share in applications processors remains small today, Intel continues to aggressively mount a challenge and has firmly parked its tanks on. Continue Reading . . . 


What RoHS 2 Means for Buyers and the Channel       

Now that the EU's Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) has been around awhile, manufacturers have a pretty good idea what's necessary to comply with the directive. Now RoHS 2 is on the horizon, and the role channel partners play in environmental compliance efforts will be expanded.  Continue Reading . . .  

  
The global aviation and military markets have become even more vulnerable to counterfeiting challenges today as companies channel higher portions of their product development resources to the consumer electronics segment, leaving lower volume sectors to utilize unsafe channels for filling urgent and difficult component procurement needs, industry sources said. Continue Reading . ..  

Top Component Picks in October 

This month's selection of hot product picks focuses on technology advances for high-reliability applications, ranging from medical devices to industrial equipment. The unifying factor here is their high performance specs. It's also a nice mix of product types, including an op amp, motor driver, MCU, cable, rocker switch, oscillators, data converter, and mixed-signal control processor.  Continue Reading . . .

Any electronics distribution company that is still conducting business in 2013 has something unique to offer its customers. Following the industry's massive consolidation during the 1990s were several market downturns that severely challenged the channel and forced many companies to consider their strengths and weaknesses. Now in its 38th year of business, Jameco Electronics has decided its strength lies in being "different." Continue Reading . . . 

Delph: Avnet aims to be even Bigger in IP&E     

Avnet Inc.  prides itself on being a broadline distributor that's able to supply all the components needed by its thousands of customers globally. That hasn't stopped the company from trying in recent years to stamp its imprint on the interconnects, passives and electromechanical (IP&E) market, a segment where it has an understated position despite being one of the top distributors. Continue Reading . . .

  

Intel Foundry: Leveraging Process Edge for Profit  

The endorsement couldn't be any sweeter. Intel Corp. is at least five years and "probably" more ahead of the competition in process technology, says John Daane, chairman, president & CEO of FPGA vendor Altera Corp. That's why Altera will be sourcing semiconductor wafers from Intel starting in 2014, shifting wafer sourcing for high-end products from long-term foundry partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., to secure a technology edge against key rival Xilinx Inc. Continue Reading . . .    


Plexus Hits the Refresh Button   

It's not often that a CEO admits his company's sales strategy needs a complete overhaul because it has "stalled" but that was the blunt message Dean Foate had for Plexus Corp. shareholders recently. Foate, president, chairman and CEO of the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider, then launched into a detailed outline of how he expects to revive the company and spark growth again at an enterprise that once was the world's biggest EMS company. Continue Reading . . .    

 

Who's in the iPhone 5s?   

The tear-down analysis for the latest iPhone 5s is in and it shows a list of components suppliers who successfully got their products designed into the new handset from Apple Inc. Toshiba, Samsung, Qualcomm, Elpida and Murata were the top component suppliers for the iPhone 5s in dollar value, according to IHS Inc., which estimated the total bill of materials for the device at $191. Add in the $8 manufacturing cost and the total production cost for the device rises to $199 versus $197 for the previous version of the product, IHS said. Continue Reading . . .   

 

Commoditization & Consolidation: Scourge of IP&E Market    

There are numerous challenges ahead for interconnects, passives and electromechanical (IPE) components manufacturers, component distributors and equipment makers. Commoditization - the rapid erosion of pricing and profit margins - isn't a problem for just suppliers. It poses a challenge for distributors and, in the longer run, OEMs too; what they gain in lower pricing for commodity components is promptly in higher prices for proprietary parts. Continue Reading . . .     

 

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News 
With every new technology comes the opportunity for supply chain partners to tap into new customers or markets. Market research firm Gartner has identified the top technology trends it deems strategic for most organizations in 2014. Continue Reading . . .   

It has been tough times in the PC market over the past several years with teh PC shipment volumes contracting since early 2012 and pulling down shipments of most PC vendors. Nevertheless, a few local heroes are finding ways to grow their business despite the challenging conditions and sometimes volatile monthly trends. Continue Reading . . .   

Counterfeits and counterfeiters can kill and may already be responsible for the loss of countless human lives worldwide. So far, though, the human toll of the damaging impact of counterfeiting has been lost in the din of words over how fake products are hurting the electronics industry supply chain and damaging the reputation of companies involved. That's where we all need to refocus the attention of all stakeholders because a lot more than just money is at stake; lives are being needlessly lost. Continue Reading . . .    

SMTC Corp. said it has signed an agreement to provide contract manufacturing services to communications equipment vendor SpiderCloud Wireless in North America, helping to boost sales at the EMS provider. Continue Reading . . .     

LED Pricing Continues to Fall in Double Digits

Prices for mid- and high-power LEDs continue to fall in the 10 to 15 percent range, according to LED suppliers. Pricing for mid-power LEDs has been falling at a faster clip, around 20 percent, primarily due to an oversupply in the market over the past few years. Contributing to the price declines for mid-power is weakening demand from TV manufacturers and a large number of competitors. Continue Reading . . . 

LCD Milestone Isn't Good News for Suppliers

The fourth quarter of the year could be a buyer's market for any company in need of TV-sized liquid crystal displays (LCDs). For the first time ever, reports market research firm IHS, the global market for LCD TV panels declined in Q3 from the prior quarter. Continue Reading . . . 

The Lure and Deception of Pricing Secrecy

Pricing secrecy is rampant in the electronics industry, governed by a strict regimen where suppliers are forbidden to disclose how much particular customers paid for their products and OEM and EMS provider procurement and purchasing experts consider pricing a "competitive weapon."   Continue Reading . . . 

Benchmark Acquires EMS Division of CTS

Benchmark Electronics Inc. said it has bought the electronics manufacturing services unit of CTS Corp., paying approximately $75 million for the division. The business services the industrial, aerospace & defense, medical and communications market, according to a statement issued by Benchmark and CTS. Continue Reading . . .

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