Coming Home to a New World

Have you ever gone back to the hometown you knew well after a long time away? I've been away from the electronics supply chain for a decade or so and the new landscape is amazing.

Nearly a quarter of a century ago, I began my career as an associate editor of Electronics Buyers News, what we now know as EBN. After a few years of being steeped in evolving semiconductor technology, component lead time worries, purchasing manager interests, distribution trends, and more, I went further afield to write about computers, software, security, and other segments of the electronics industry. For many years, I focused on where all those components end up.

Now, I'm coming back home to be the managing editor of EBN. What I've found is that, while many of the landmarks are the same, the supply chain has transformed itself. The well-known organizations that I knew then have continued to grow and reinvent themselves as many other familiar brands disappeared through business alliances and closures.

The world has gotten bigger, the partnerships have moved farther afield, and many organizations are using technology in smart and sophisticated ways to both manage and predict what's happening. That's a good thing, because the supply chain has also grown exponentially in terms of complexity.

I was chatting recently with Victor Allis, chief executive at supply chain vendor Quintiq, who said it this way:

It's been a steady trend over many years that the pieces of the puzzle are getting smaller. The picture remains the same, but size of the pieces is shrinking. In manufacturing, batches are getting smaller, delivery times are getting shorter, and, as a direct result, the number of moving parts in the supply chain keeps rising. What was good enough last year isn't going to be good enough next year.

It's an exciting time to be part of the global supply chain conversation. Mobile devices, automation, big-data, and a host of other technologies and trends keep things fresh and exciting.

At least at first, it's pretty overwhelming. But there's one thing that is certain: It's good to be home.

17 comments on “Coming Home to a New World

  1. Marianne
    July 2, 2013

    Welcome back to the changing world of Supply Chain!

  2. elctrnx_lyf
    July 3, 2013

    There is lot of changes that transformed the entire way supply chain works. I belive there will be much more with the advent new technologies in handling the data. Overall there is a lot more to come.

  3. ehcaneda
    July 3, 2013

    I agree on that. I consider my self young to this industry but I do agree that there are alot of things changing and keeps on upgrading too fast. For me its a good things, enough to keep us moving too.

    July 3, 2013

    I agree the pieces of the puzzle are aplenty and moving at a much more rapid pace these days.  It is fun trying to stay on top of it all.  Welcome home.

  5. Daniel
    July 3, 2013

    “Now, I'm coming back home to be the managing editor of EBN.”

    Hailey, hearty welcome to our community site and wish you all the best for your new assignment. Hope we can do excellent work with the community.

  6. Daniel
    July 3, 2013

    “I agree on that. I consider my self young to this industry but I do agree that there are alot of things changing and keeps on upgrading too fast. For me its a good things, enough to keep us moving too.”

    Ehcaneda, technology is developing so fast and at the same speed it's getting productizing for the public welfare and hence the changes are in fast mode.

  7. Ariella
    July 3, 2013

    @Hailey well, you're certainly a veteran in the field! I'm sure you'll be able to fit the many pieces of the puzzle together. 

  8. Ashu001
    July 3, 2013


    Welcome back to EBN!

    I am sure you also will notice that as Supply Chains has gone more Spread out ;The World of Supply Chain's as we know it has become more and more uncertain.

    Seemingly Innocous Issues in far corners of the world have the potential to Swing the Supply Chain entirely in Ways we can't even imagine today.

    Right now,I am tracking the Mess in Egypt-They look Set to Shut the Suez Canal as well as in Syria with the Greatest of Interest.



  9. Suzanne.Deffree
    July 3, 2013

    It is, indeed, as you say, an exciting time to be part of the global supply chain conversation. Glad to have you back at EBN!

  10. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    July 3, 2013

    @elctrnx_lyf: I agree, and it's good news to me. In the 80s, it was all about cool technology for the sake of cool technology. Now we are firmly planted in an era when technology is closely tied to business outcomes and goals. That's nothing but good news for the supply chain.

  11. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    July 3, 2013

    @Jacob, thanks for the warm welcome… i look forward to getting to know you all.

  12. Lavender
    July 4, 2013

    Technology development accelerates component obsolescence, which gives opportunities to counterfeit and brings more challenges, which poses requirements for analysis of global supply chain. 

  13. prabhakar_deosthali
    July 5, 2013

    One of the major transformation of the Supply chain that was say 25 years ago, is , in my opinion, that the supply chain is no more a one way operation as was earlier.

    With so many regulations coming into force from various governments – the reverse logistics is becoming an integral part of the supply chain where the huge inventory of the fast becoming obsolete products and components has to flow back to their origination and get recycled in the environment friendly way.

    This in my opinion is the supply chain challenge of this generation.

    Welcome aboard!

  14. SP
    July 8, 2013

    Homecoming is mostly peaceful and gives one a satisfaction that is much needed in the changing times. Supply chain has gone through lots of technology changes. The whole world is coming together. Use of RFID is one thing thats amazing. The cloud technology has done wonders. And of course Fedex, UPS and other logistics supppliers have also reinvented with time. The advancement in internet surfing, information availability is awesome. And the way common man uses internet and how easily and fastly one has access to internet is revolutionary. And last but not the least Smartphones.

  15. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    July 23, 2013

    @prabhakar, I think you are right… a couple of decades ago i don't remember reverse logistics being a concept that anyone talked about. I'm glad that we're talking about it now, and thinking creatively. It's going to be a critical thing going forward, both for the good of organizations and more importantly the world.

  16. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    July 23, 2013

    @SP, all good points. It never ceases to amaze me that smart phones have revolutionized just about everything we do. That technology seems to have “reached out and touched” more than we could have imagined.

  17. SunitaT
    July 31, 2013

    Supply chain management has changed a lot. Now the SCM system is fully automated and a new term has been added 'reverse logistic'. Welcome back @Hailey. I think you will enjoy like before in the industry.

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