Utilizing a Valuable Supply Chain Resource

Over the years and through many advances in technology, an increasing amount of semiconductor choices and packaging styles have evolved.
The industry has provided a wonderful array of offerings, enabling equipment makers to provide solutions which have afforded tremendous advances in science, technology, and consumer goods.
Throughout the years, manufacturers have had a “silent partner” helping them navigate the changes, peaks, and valleys of parts availability across shortage periods, allocation, and end of life scenarios.

This partner is the Independent Distributor.

Independent Distributors come in different shapes and sizes. Some are experts at simply tracking pockets of inventory for when they are needed, others purchase large blocks of inventory no longer required by equipment manufacturers, thereby freeing up warehouse space and inventory dollars. In between there are hybrid models that do some of each and may carry an authorized line or two.

In any case, experienced industry professionals will attest to the fact that having a selection of good, responsible, and trusted professional independents is a key component to a well-rounded and comprehensive supply chain.
Certainly in a perfect world one would wish that orders could be placed to meet demand and all parts would arrive on time and without incident. However, this is not often the case, so a good independent or two can mitigate supply issues, particularly when faced with additional unanticipated demand, or in cases where a part is no longer supported and no replacement is available.

What has changed, however, is the criteria by which an organization evaluates their independent partner. Increasing demands have been placed on today’s manufacturers, including compliance issues with customer constraints, the counterfeit part issue and the increased need for screening and inspection of parts, safe ESD handling, and MSL requirements. An independent these days must be measured against the plethora of requirements faced by the customer and the independents’ ability to provide those services.

Overall, balance in the supply chain can be achieved by choosing wisely from the pool of quality independents with a new and improved skillset.