This dialogue occurred on Wednesday, December 18, at 2:00 p.m. EST.

We've invited James McGregor, director of supplier management for Newark element14, as our guest as we consider what 2014 might hold for the electronics supply chain. We'll be gathering here at 2:00 p.m. EST (11:00 a.m. PST) on Wednesday, December 18.
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Merry Xmas James!

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It was a pleasure. Thank you.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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@James, don't get us started on 3D printing or we'll be here until next year! I'm sure we'll be chatting about that. Thank you so much for joining us today! As you can see, we are a rowdy bunch with wide-ranging interest. You were a great guest...

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By all means continue any questions via the element 14 engineering community www.element14.com.

 

In termns of ideas for the new year I think the possibiities 3D Printing offers to the domestic manufacturing base are extraordinary - and thats certainly a trend to watch.

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Thanks, everyone!

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Also, this is our last chat for this year...any topics you want to throw out for the new  year? WHat''s got your attention?

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I notice we are past the half hour mark. Any last questions or comments for our guest?

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@James, i guess even your crystal ball gets cloudly at some point! It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

 

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I've used both Surface and iPad and if not for the number of apps available for the iPad, I would have opted for the Surface.

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@Hailey - re Government grants - thats a hard one to answer. We have lots of customers who have research projects funded year to year and project by project. The uncertainty about debt ceiling and possiblepublic funding cut backs are very real, but impossible to predict right now the impact on what may or may not happen

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@james, I think you are likely correct, at least for the next two years.

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@Rodney, my nephew just started at high school at a charter school adn all the kids were given Surface tablets. He loves it... and says high school is way cooler than 8th grade. :)

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@Hospice, I haven't used either enough to judge them on productivity, but I do like Win 8 Surface as a mobile OS. It really shines on tablets and smartphones. On laptops and PCs, not so much.

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I think you ar right on the Surface, @hospice. It's pretty slick. They MS guys just forgot their installed base in their entusiasm..Really it should have been a separate product!

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@James, IHS recently said GaN-on-Si will be 40% by 2020. They are an outlier opinion clearly.

@Rodney, you better have the patience for an extremely long bet...

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@Jim - I agree with you, but I really don't see the very high volume consumer products like iPhone's ever shifting from a low cost region. I think high mix/ lower volume manufacturing is where US manufacturing will win.

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@Keith, I am holding out for graphene. :)

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In my opinion, Windows 8 on Surface is not a bad idea. I have come to believe that Surface is even a better productity tool than iPad. Anyone agrees with me?

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@james, I see the biggest gap in component insertion onto boards. We do't do enough to pick up say iPhone volumes yet.

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Point taken... Speaking of US concerns, you had mentioned to me that research folks are concerned about losing goverment grants. What are the prospects in that sector?

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GaN-on-sapphire is pretty well established and from the LED manufacturers I've spoken to I'm not hearing an expectation that will change in 2014 at least.

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I think the Distribution sector has the infrastructure to support a spike in domestic manufacturing. Where I was going with my comments earlier is that although the reshoring has had some high profile examples, I think there is still a lot of questions as to how big and quickly the impact will be, relative to a sizeable mfting base that is already here.

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Although standard iMacs and MacBook Pros are powerful enough nowadays that it's hard to determine who the Mac Pro is for. 

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@James, got any insight into the very geeky question of whether GaN-on-sapphire will continue to dominate in LED production, or will GaN-on-Si gain ground? How about dark horse GaN-on-GaN?

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James_McGregor - Different situations entirely. The iPad was a new class of device. The Mac Pro is just an update of, well, the Mac Pro: An extremely powerful, extremely expensive workstation. Not many people need it. Unlike the iPad, MacBook Air, and iPhone, it is not designed to be a mainstream product. 

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@Hailey, can you blame Apple after the complete failure of the Newton?

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I don't think there will be wenough of a change in 8.1 to wash away the pain of 8.

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@Jim: This is not the first time that MSFT gets its OS wrong, I am sure this will not be the last time. 

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@James, is the distribution channel ready to support US manufacturing? What has newark been doing to get ready?

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I was at a talk recently and the speaker was Apple's Steve Wozniak. He said even Apple was shocked by how big the iPad was!

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JimO, since Ballmer took over we've had 3 MS OSs -- Vista (horrible), Win 7 (ecellent) and Win 8 (painfully stupid). Not a great track record. Good thing it had so many wins in the server sector.

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@Jim, it'll be interesting to see if you get anyone arguing you in favor of Win 8 !!

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Microsoft should have called 8.1 Windows 9. Win 8 is forever tainted.

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re Mac Pro - I need to confess I'm not a big Apple user, so I'm not sure how niche it will be. But people did say that about the tablet when it was launched!

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@Rodney, I read one opinion that the next Windows OS will be a tacit admission that Win8 was the entirely wrong direction. (Preston Gralia I think it was.)

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Win 8 was a stupid move...Ballmer's legacy!

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Hi Hailey - the supply chains built up to support the massive manufacturing capacity in low cost regionas are very complicated and extensive. replicating that in North America is possible, but reques some detailed planning. I see the distribution segment of the supply chain playing a key part in supporting that migration, just as it currently supports domestic manufacturing.

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A "token gesture" may be a good start - at least people can still believe in the US manufaturing industry

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JimO, I teeter on the edge of wiping my laptop and going back to Win 7 every time I use it. Cramming a mobile OS on top of a useful production-focused OS is still a stupid move on Microsoft's part.

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James — "Mac Pro is a niche product" — how many of thm will they sell in your opinion?

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As a sign of the times in onshoring, several big Chinese ODMs are opening up integrator and end-user operations in the US. I think that means they expect onshoring to pick up.

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Hi Hospice - the touch screen world is fast moving, so I'm sure we'll see some advances in 2014. I've not heard of any specifics but the new capacitance products that will drive touch screen enhancements from firms like Atmel and TI are kept pretty tightly under wraps until launched.

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Mitch, I almost added that point to the question -- if you only nedd to make a few thousand of a device, making it in the US still makes sense, even for Apple.

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@James, what are the biggest supply chain pressures behind this reshoring trend?

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Rodney - That Mac Pro is a very niche product. Even developers are not likely to need it. 

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@James, I sesne people want to stay with Win XT or Win 7

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There are some pretty high profile reshoring examples we could point to this year, like Motorola partnering with Flextronics to manufacture the first USA built smartphone. It certainly is a trend that will continue as manufacturing gets more high tech and efficient, and labor costs continue to increase in China's regional areas.

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There is no evidence to suggest Windows 8 or 8.1 is driving significant PC demand. 

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Good question, Hailey. Didn't I just read that the new $3,000 Mac Pro that looks like R2D2 that went on sale today is built in the US?

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@James: Are we going to see better touch screen technologies coming up in 2014? 

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Hi Jim - I think the Gartner guys have called it correctly on this one. I think the days of each new Windows release driving a big uptick in PC sales may be behind us.

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@Mitch, glad you could be with us! Now, I want to go to mexico for christmas.

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@James, i'd love to hear more about what you are seeing in terms of reshoring/onshoring. Iknow there are some high profile examples, but do you think 2014 will make it a broader trend?

 

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@james ignore my last message... I wrote it in teh delay!

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Hi Rodney - I'd be betting on continued price decreases on most display technologies, and the volume of uses will continue to explode.

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The PC pundits at Gartner ar still in denial. They predict flat sales as Win 8.1 arrives, but I think the decline will continue at a good pace in 2014...any thoughts???

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@James, so folks are wondrering about solid state drives/hard disk drives and display techologies (AMOLED screens). Any thoughts on those?

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James_McGregor - The projections I've seen have PCs flat or down. Tablets and phones are where the action is. 

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Hailey, I just had lunch and now you are making me hungry again.

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Hailey - I suspect not "Mexican" but rather "New Mexican." We visited New Mexico for five days in 2008. I gained eight pounds. :)

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Re Hard drives and SSD's, I'm a little removed from that but PC shipments are not forecast to grow materially in 2015.

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@James, you know what they say "Expect the worst, never be disappointed..." :)

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@Rodney, good thought! I used to go to this one mexican restaraunt that offered "christmas burritos" featuring both tomatillo and tomoto salsas....but i digress.

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Yes, DRAM will remain in short supply, but the feared disruption from the fire at SK Hynix's facility in South Korea has not been as major as expected.

 

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Hailey, I will cover the chips with salsa beforehand to get the needed red component.

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Happy you could make it Hospice... Plenty of Guacamole to go around.

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@Jim, glad to have you hear, Jim... you are definitely our SSD adn HDD expert...

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James, will 2014 see any decrease in price and increase in availability of display technologies, like AMOLED screens?

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Welcome Rodney... Pull up a chair. Have some guacamole...it's green. the chips aren't red but it's still festive!

 

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Hello, everyone!

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Howdy folks.

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Do you see trends in hard drives and SSDs?

 

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By all accounts, DRAM will remain in short supply for sure.

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Not across the board, but in pockets that are hard to describe a trend. Electronic test quipment and semiconductor products have shown a particular pick up in demand, but most product areas saw an increase in demand in the second half.

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Is it across the board on component types or particular types?

 

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In terms of trends we're seeing, the second half of the year has seen some nice growth in our industrial OEM customers, and we feel pretty strong that will continue through into the first half of next year.

 

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Sure. As we close out the year and get into planning for next year, we're noticinga good many customers have reduced their on hand inventory of components, and whilst we haven't seen widespread lead times stretch yet, it would only take a mild accelertion in demand for us to see that in Q1.

 

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Hi James, glad to have you with us. Pull up a chair... and i'm sure people will be hopping on shortly. In the meantime, maybe you'd like to lay out some of the trends you are seeing. Tell us a little more about potential lead time stretches...

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Hi Hailey - James is here.

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And always, please announce your arrival so we can give you a warm EBN welcome and offer you some virtual  guacamole. :)

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Questions, theories, ideas, real world experiences and even friendly rants are welcome here.

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This will be a fun, fast, and friendly conversation, so please do not hold back with your comments or questions.  There are no dumb questions and we value everyone's point of view.

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Second, if you have problems posting, we suggest trying a different browser.  IE9 is a popular choice, but sometimes find Firefox, Chrome, or Safari work better.

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We will be starting at 11:00 a.m. PST/2:00 p.m. EST sharp. First, though, there are two housekeeping notes:

First, please make a copy of your post before hitting the "post" button – just in case.  If the system "eats" one of your carefully crafted thoughts, please hit "Ctrl-Z" to recover it.

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Hi Adenji, welcome! We'll be starting in about 20 minutes

 

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Hello everyone

 

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EBN Dialogue enables you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Open to the entire EBN community of electronics supply chain experts, these conversations see ideas shared, comments made, and questions asked and answered in real time. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats. Stay tuned and join in!
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