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(See June 12 story.)

RNR60E1301FSBSL1_Datasheet PDF

(See June 12 story.)

– The role of distribution will become more important, but will continue to evolve.

In fact, the increased role of CEMs will prompt suppliers and smaller OEMs to rely on distributors more than ever. We've already seen distributors shift their marketing and sales focus to the engineering side of the OEM business, looking to gain design wins, and thus higher margins, but their roles as fulfillment and materials-management experts will also be extremely important. Distributors will break out their value-added service offerings in order to get properly compensated for those services, but they'll have to rely on industry leaders Arrow and Avnet to lead the way. They also will find increased competition from third-party logistics providers, and they'll have to keep investing in the Internet in order to ensure their long-term role.

RNR60E1301FSBSL1_Datasheet PDF

– Procurement and supply-chain managers are finally getting the respect they deserve.

As the industry continues to focus on cutting costs out of the supply chain, the role of both the tactical and strategic purchaser is more important than ever. Top global companies have validated their high regard for the profession by promoting procurement executives into the CEO's office. And titles like director of supply-chain management and SCMO (supply-chain management officer) will become increasingly common. That's not to say that engineers won't play key roles in vendor selection and product development, but partnerships between the two camps are growing stronger in many organizations. The Internet will also change the way components are sourced, and purchasers must brace themselves for a number of cultural and technological changes over the next few years.

– There will always be a supply/demand imbalance in this industry.

RNR60E1301FSBSL1_Datasheet PDF

This despite all the investments made in information technology and supply-chain management efficiencies. The bottom line is that OEMs and CEMs are lousy at forecasting their component needs, and it will only become more challenging as companies take on more outsourcing partners. The trick for OEMs and suppliers alike is to use the Internet, create common standards, and step up SCM efforts so that forecasting merely improves. Communication, and trust, will be key. But no matter how much improvement we see, this will always be a cyclical business, with shortages like we're seeing today, and component gluts that send prices plummeting and suppliers out of business.

On a final note, I've been proud of the role that Electronic Buyers' News has played in covering this industry. As the industry and the jobs of its readers have evolved over the years, so has EBN. We've put an emphasis on business and financial coverage, and on supply-chain management and e-business. EBN also has expanded its news franchise to the Internet, posting stories all day long. The online news has forced us to change the way we deliver the news to you each week, with more perspective and insight than ever before.

RNR60E1301FSBSL1_Datasheet PDF

I will be leaving EBN for a new career in the field of equity research, where I will help cover the electronics manufacturing services sector and related industries.

I leave EBN in extremely solid hands. Andrew MacLellan, who has been running our Web site for the past year and formerly headed our Silicon Valley office, has been promoted to Editor, with responsibility for the daily operations. Publisher Steve Cholas, our supply-chain evangelist, will be working with the entire staff to ensure that EBN retains its position as the best in the business.

TIA's statistics are based on data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The title may shock a bit but it was designed to grab your attention. Also to shame the British Computer Society (BCS) into some action which it really should have already taken. Many years ago, in the depths of a dark time for Europe, many engineering innovations happened. Some were evolutionary and some revolutionary. One that was revolutionary beyond anyone's wildest dreams happened at Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes in the U.K.

Now I don't mean the oft-touted Enigma code-breaking stuff. That was evolutionary not revolutionary and apart from the British, the Poles, Dutch, Czechs, French and Germans all had a hand in that. In fact much of modern cryptography came out of central Europe.

What I am referring to is the birth of the electronic stored program computer. Bletchley Park's real legacy is that it is the home of 'The Computer'. It changed, or rather revolutionised, the world.

Bletchley Park is in need of some assistance to survive. I know you have all heard this before but this time it is very different. The actual infrastructure of the buildings is failing. If the famous huts are not renovated now, it has been estimated, they will not exist in three years. After that there will be little left to save. They need £9 million to save the birth-place of computers. In the current scheme of bailouts it is an insignificant drop in the ocean.


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