Smith and Associates Survey Reveals Top Concerns for the Global Electronics Supply Chain in 2013

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Survey explores impact of counterfeiting, the role of independent distributors, and component demand and growth

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Smith & Associates, the largest independent distributor of electronic components, today announced the results of a survey of over 175 respondents from the electronics industry who provided insights into key issues affecting the semiconductor and electronics supply chain. The survey focused on top supply chain challenges faced by respondents; issues included counterfeiting, climate change, and various supply chain impacts. Also included were expectations around component demand and business growth, as well as the expected role of independent distributors in the supply chain. Climate and supply chain technology results will be announced in subsequent press announcements.

Detailed survey results are located at this link:

Survey Population

All major industry sectors were represented in the survey: Distributors, Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS), Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs), and Contract Manufacturers (CMs). A range of company roles were represented by respondents: purchasing and sourcing, distribution, market forecasting and planning, logistics, engineering, and design.

Key Challenges and Concerns for the Supply Chain

The survey asked respondents to rank the top challenges confronted in regular supply chain forecasting and planning. The findings underscored the importance of economic fluctuations, demand fluctuation, supplier consolidation, margin pressures, and inventory management. Concerns varied somewhat based on respondents' company type; details are provided in the full report.

Among the issues of greatest concern, or of potential negative impact to respondents’ business, were the following:

  •     Component or device recalls
  •     Consumer safety issues
  •     Government regulations/legislation
  •     Counterfeit parts
  •     Reverse logistics
  •     E-waste
  •     Competitive/shortened device cycles

The survey results underscored the predominance of consumer safety as a leading concern. ODMs ranked consumer safety highest, while distributors ranked consumer safety among their top three concerns. Recalls were the second most concerning issue, with EMSs ranking recalls in their top three concerns, followed by similar rankings by OEMs and Distributors. Government regulations were the third most concerning issue for respondents, followed by counterfeiting.

Role of Independent Distributors

This survey explored the expected role of Independent Distributors (IDs) in the supply chain, and found an emphasis on supplying low-cost components, sourcing support, and inventory management solutions. A majority of respondents indicated that IDs’ roles should be to supply components at the lowest cost. This was most important to CMs and ODMs. The value-add role of IDs in inventory management was important to a significant percentage of respondents. Respondents, especially CMs, also indicated that IDs play an important role in actively filtering counterfeit parts from the global supply chain and notifying authorities of irresponsible supplier practices.

Best Anti-Counterfeit Measures

Counterfeit electronic components have become a globally-recognized threat to the supply chain. Respondents evaluated the industry sectors most vulnerable to counterfeiting. consumer electronics and aerospace and defense were ranked as the most vulnerable to counterfeiting, while automotive, medical, industrial equipment, and energy sectors fell significantly lower.

Asked what the most effective anti-counterfeiting measures were, the vast majority of respondents indicated that authenticity testing was the best anti-counterfeiting measure. Respondents underscored the importance of utilizing accredited testing laboratories and qualified service providers in the semiconductor industry. Respondents also indicated that RFID tagging and government regulation could play important roles in counterfeit prevention.

About Smith & Associates

Founded in Houston in 1984, Smith & Associates is a leader in the independent distribution of semiconductors and electronic components to electronics and high-tech manufacturers. Smith offers shortage sourcing for commodity and obsolete parts, innovative purchasing and inventory management solutions, redistribution of excess inventory, and component stocking for warranty and repair programs.

A privately held company, Smith & Associates employs more than 350 people worldwide, with annual revenue in excess of US $450 million. Smith's regional hubs in Houston, Hong Kong, and Amsterdam are ISO certified. In addition, sales and purchasing offices are located in Silicon Valley, Guadalajara, New York, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, and Denver. For more information, see or to reach a Smith representative 24 hours a day, please call: 1.800.HOUSTON or +1 713.430.3000.

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For more information, contact:

Mark Bollinger
Smith & Associates, V.P. of Marketing
+1 713.430.3000
mbollinger (at) validmgt (dot) com

Ashley Wilkinson
BOCA Communications
+ 1 415.738.7718 x4
Ashley (at) bocacommunications (dot) com

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Mark Bollinger, V.P. of Marketing

Ashley Wilkinson
BOCA Communications
+1 415.738.7718 x4
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