February 27, 2014 
Editor's Note 

Business of all types are striving to find out more about their customers-that's one of the reasons companies are harnessing social media. The next step, of course, is interpreting information once you have it.

Electronics Purchasing Strategies this week released its first-ever survey of electronics procurement professionals. Some of the data should be of particular interest to distribution. For example, buyers source more than half (54 percent to 63 percent) of their semiconductors, passives, interconnects and electromechanical devices through franchised distribution. In power, that proportion is slightly lower: 49 percent is purchased through authorized distribution.


The other sources of supply in the survey include supplier-direct, independent distributors and "other." Buyers source between 22 percent to 29 percent of their semiconductor and IP&E products directly from suppliers and 34 percent of the power products. Independent distribution claims roughly 13 percent to 14 percent of purchases across all product categories.


A couple of notes on the customers surveyed: they are largely based in the Americas and are considered small to midsized OEMs/ EMS. EPS plans to take its next survey global.


The channel data wasn't particularly surprising: we know small to midsize companies buy more through distribution than do larger OEMs/EMS. Suppliers generally don't support this mid-tier directly. What we found interesting was the roughly 13 percent of spend directed toward independents. For decades, independent distribution has been associated with the spot market - buyers turn to independents when they fall short of something or a product is hard to find through other channels. If nothing else, we'd expect the portion of spend in the independent channel to differ between semiconductors and, for example, interconnects.


As a reality check, I reached out to several sources in the industry. While they were hesitant to draw any solid conclusions from the data, they made some educated guesses: Buyers aren't just using independents for the spot market; some place scheduled orders with independent distributors. Other buyers frequently shop for advantageous pricing through the independent channel. In other words, independents appear to be a regular stop in the electronics procurement process. At the same time, sources warn because of spot-market buying, a solid share of spend in the independent channel is likely an estimate.


Independent and authorized distributors continually battle for a bigger share of the buyer's pocketbook. A few more years of data will be necessary to identify a trend or shift  in buying patterns. We do think, however, the overall survey provides insight into today's electronics procurement professional. You can download the survey here. 


Barbara Jorgensen

Featured Articles 
Today's electronics procurement professionals play a critical role in their corporation's product development and supply chain management, according to the findings of a survey just released by Electronics Purchasing Strategies. Link

The global electronics supply chain is riddled with risk, a phenomenon that won't go away anytime soon and which companies must respond to by proactively identifying challenges within their operations. Link

Arrow Electronics Inc. in the fourth quarter hit all of its business objectives, closing the year with sales and profits well ahead of analysts' average estimates and promising continuing expansion in the two operating divisions as demand across all regions continued to improve.  Link
Supply chains move goods, but they run on information. The global, interconnected and technology-enabled supply chain operates like a giant neural network, carrying 'signals' at lightning speed throughout the network. Link 
Digi-Key Corp. has added several new suppliers in response to customer demand for Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Link
The global flash memory market reached $28.8 billion in 2013, up from $23.7 billion in 2012, according to a new report from IHS Technology (NYSE: IHS). Link

With a few notable exceptions, lead times and prices in electronics components have stabilized since December, according to Avnet Electronics Marketing's Market & Technology Trends report for the month of January. Link  

Logistics Providers: ITDS Will Cut Red Tape
Major logistics services providers UPS and FedEx have publically applauded the adoption of the International Trade Data System (ITDS), a  "single window"  through which businesses can electronically transmit  the data required by  U.S. Government agencies to import or export cargo.s. Link
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