A survey of 185 supply chain professionals conducted by Smith earlier this year offers some interesting insights into major challenges, solutions, and growth opportunities that directly affect the entire semiconductor supply chain.
Challenges are shared
Survey findings underscored the importance of economic fluctuations, demand fluctuation, supplier consolidation, margin pressures, and inventory management. Respondents' ranking of business challenges varied somewhat based on company type. Company types included OEMs, distributors, EMS providers, contract manufacturers and component manufacturers. While no firm, statistically significant differences exist between company types, a look at the full report offers a view of the relative importance that each respondent placed on the challenges they face.
Beyond the challenges of consolidations, fluctuations and inventory pressures, respondents clearly underscored safety and recall concerns as major, persisting business challenges. Ensuring consumer safety and managing recalls vied for the top product concerns. These challenges relate directly to quality issues for components, mandating (by both management and government regulations) increased anti-counterfeiting efforts to reduce risk and ensure quality control of products.
Turnkey solutions sought
In response to these challenges, the increased need for turnkey services was underscored as a desired solution path that can alleviate the challenges posed by fiscal, quality, inventory, and overall supply chain fluctuations and consolidations.
Independent Distributors (IDs) were noted as playing an important role in supporting the full range of semiconductor supply chain sectors by providing both a range of targeted, professional services as well as the breadth of turnkey service solutions needed to meet complex, multipoint challenges. More specifically, IDs were noted as playing important roles in supplying components at low-cost, sourcing support, and critical inventory management solutions.
Beyond these services, the ability of leading IDs to provide best-in-class anti-counterfeiting measures is paramount to addressing a range of risk concerns and business challenges. IDs having accredited testing laboratories and industry certifications were particularly pointed out as essential partners in providing the turnkey services that enable companies to ensure quality, inventory and cost management and thereby stay competitive in today's tight market.