The Volatile Electronic Component Supply Chain: Take Advantage of a Moment of Calm
Distributors whose businesses depend on electronic components know a thing or two about supply chain uncertainty.
In recent years, skyrocketing demand has bumped up against scarcity of raw materials to produce a painful parts shortage. Lead times that had been a week suddenly stretched to 12 weeks – or more. That, in turn, prompted some distributors’ customers to double- and triple-order, and the result was higher prices and even longer lead times.
The scarcity that marked 2018 has eased, and product is more reliably available now than at any time in the past year. But volatility remains the one thing you can always count on in the electronic components market.
That’s why it’s important for distributors to take advantage of this period of relatively smooth flow within the electronic components supply chain to strengthen relationships with customers. Now is the time for your customers to lock in prices and purchasing plans – and you can do that and make your customer’s life easier with an automated inventory replenishment system like eTurns’ TrackStock.
With a manual ordering system, a drop in inventory levels means a customer has to call the supplier, get a price quote, possibly shop around for a better price, and then finally place the order.
But the eTurns TrackStock mobile inventory replenishment app alerts your customer when supply levels are low and triggers automatic re-ordering. The TrackStock system accomplishes replenishment up to 10 times faster than traditional methods, and gives your customers the security of knowing they’ll never run out of inventory.
That’s not all an automated inventory replenishment system can accomplish for your customers. It offers other advantages, including:
- Reducing procurement costs by up to 95%
- Reducing cash in inventory by 73%
- Calculating correct min/maxes from actual usage analytics
- Providing email alerts based on 30+ inventory metrics
An automated system provides plenty of advantages for distributors, too.
When a customer can rely on you for consistent supply at a steady price, they have no reason to shop around. And nothing strengthens loyalty like making your customer’s life easier.
In addition, reports generated by an automated inventory replenishment system give the distributor insight into the specific product the customer uses, how much they use, and when. Having that kind of data on hand helps you and your customer plan and stay ahead of the game the next time lead times stretch in the electronics supply chain.
Things change on a dime. So the time to act is now – strengthening those relationships can help get your customers through bumps in the supply chain in the long run, and assure you that customer won’t be looking for a new distributor the next time the going gets rough.
By Ron Schroeder
Ron Schroeder, eTurns’ vice president of supply chain solutions, has extensive experience as an architect and developer of technologies that make replenishment more efficient, particularly within the electronics supply chain. Before joining eTurns, Ron served as vice president of supply chain solutions at Future Electronics and TTI, electronic component distributors.