Many of us call what we do or participate in “distribution.” However, given the word's meaning, describing this business as distribution has become too simplistic.
A quick search on dictionary.com offers the definition of “distribute” as: to divide and give out in shares; to disperse through a space or over an area; or to promote, sell, and ship, or deliver (an item or line of merchandise) to individual customers, especially in a specified region or area.
Sure, moving components from maker A to buyer B is how many of the best in this business started out. But that was decades ago. As electronics advanced, so have these businesses, growing with their suppliers, addressing needs and opportunities that could not be envisioned when they printed their first catalogs.
Long gone are most catalogs, but not the opportunity to connect A to B. Now, good (so-called) distributors do so much more than sling components.
They make room for design chain activities, sharing skills and knowledge that promotes their line cards, but also engineering skills.
They partner for greater efficiency and resource management in the electronics supply chain.
They assess risk, even sudden and devastating risk that comes from Mother Nature and is widely out of control, for best response.
They leverage worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand and measuring performance globally for balanced inventory.
They even manage EOL (end of life) in the face of rapidly evolving environmental compliance regulations that differ from state to state.
To say that this is simple distribution is an understatement.
As has distribution evolved, so has EBN. Many of you began reading this publishing brand decades ago when it was a print business-to-business magazine. Then, as was distribution, the magazine was very much a one-way street. Distributors moved product in one direction, from maker to buyer; the magazine shared thoughts, but only in one direction, from editor to reader.
Now, as an online community resource, EBN is flexible. We bend to the supply chain, addressing the needs and opportunities brought by members of this electronics supply chain community. We partner with the community to share content you've created and continue the conversation through the constructive comments exchanged on each page.
We've redefined ourselves here at EBN. As the incoming editor in chief of this brand, I'm proud to be part of this ongoing redefinition.
As distribution continues to progress, so will we. In the coming weeks, you will see more design chain content posted to EBN to complement the traditional supply side. You'll see us welcoming new opportunities to grow and partner, just as many distributors have.
Most importantly, this is a two-way street. We want to hear from you. If you have thoughts on EBN, share them below. Or if you have content of your own to share with the community of electronics supply chain professionals that read and participate on EBN, send us an email. I can be reached personally at .
In the meantime, you will see us use the term “distribution” on EBN, simply because we lack a better description for the people and process that goes into this business and make up this community.
But know that each time we type “distribution” or “distributor,” we mean so much more than one who disperses product through a space.
What do you think about the evolution of the distributor? Share your thoughts below.