Advertisement

Blog

‘Tis the Season for Reflection, Speculation

With New Year's Day around the corner, members of the electronics supply chain are naturally curious about the promise and perils that 2014 will bring.

Clearly, no one can say with certainty what lies ahead for our industry, but as Shakespeare once wrote, “what's past is prologue.” I decided to take a look back at the blogs posted on EBN Velocity over 2013 to see what the standout topics were. Through an entirely unscientific process, I identified the five most frequently addressed issues: counterfeiting, conflict minerals, big data/supply chain analytics, risk management/supply chain security, and manufacturing strategies (outsourcing, offshoring, onshoring, and nearshoring).

Let's take a quick look at the current state of affairs and what we can expect in 2014 for each of the top five topics.

Counterfeiting
Current: The counterfeit threat is no longer being swept under the rug, and members of the supply chain have become much more proactive in their efforts to ensure part authenticity. Industry initiatives include DNA marking technology and standards and certifications such as the IECQ Anticounterfeit Certification program and SAE International’s AS5553A Fraudulent/Counterfeit Electronic Parts; Avoidance, Detection, Mitigation, and Disposition standard.

2014: The war on counterfeits will definitely continue, but members of the supply chain now have better weapons in their arsenal.

Conflict minerals
Current: In July, a federal court rejected a legal challenge to the controversial Dodd-Frank conflict minerals law. Ambiguity remains on some of the law's finer points, but a number of resources are available for supply chain members, including the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition Global e-Sustainability Initiative Conflict Minerals Reporting Template, IPC's Conflict Minerals Due Diligence Guide, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.

2014: With the clock ticking on the May filing deadline, we can expect this issue to reach a fevered pitch. In addition, the growing slate of environmental, trade, and customs regulations are forcing members of the supply chain to become increasingly aware and proactive in their compliance efforts.

Big data
Current: Big data was a big topic of conversation in 2013. However, in terms of actual implementation and impact on the supply chain, its influence is still fairly limited.

2014: I think we will see business applications of big data analytics continue to expand from demand-related sales, marketing, customer service, and manufacturing into more supply side areas like procurement, inventory management, and supply risk management. More slow but steady progress is my prediction.

Risk management
Current: Risk management continues to generate a lot of chatter but not nearly enough action. Time and again, we hear about research that indicates a growing awareness of supply chain risks and the importance of mitigating it, but these studies show a disappointing level of implementation.

2014: I'd like to believe that, as margins for error in the supply chain become slimmer, more organizations will realize they have the power to mitigate the likelihood and impact of many supply chain disruptions.

Manufacturing strategies
Current: In 2013, I think we saw a bit of buyer's remorse among companies that jumped on the offshoring bandwagon without considering the total cost of this strategy. There was a lot of discussion about reshoring and nearshoring, but there was also widespread hesitance to make another major change.

2014: I think we will see more of this talk turn into action as manufacturers use technology, like supply chain analytics, to manage their supply chains better across multiple regions.

This is, of course, just a sampling of the diverse issues that impact the supply chain every day. Please share your thoughts on these or any other topics that you think will play a major role — for better or worse — in the supply chain in 2014.

Finally, I would like to wish all our readers and bloggers health, happiness, and prosperity in the new year.

15 comments on “‘Tis the Season for Reflection, Speculation

  1. SourceIntel
    December 3, 2013

    Eliminate the ambiguity of Dodd-Frank by attending our webinar tomorrow which tackles your companies conflict minerals filing challenges, including how to prepare your report and streamline your compliance program for the May filing deadline.

    Conflict minerals compliance experts Michael Littenberg, Patricia Jurewicz and Jordan Groves will answer questions submitted by your colleagues.

     Register HERE

  2. Daniel
    December 3, 2013

    Lynn, as a person working in electronic sector for more than a decade, I hope 2014 will be good for both industry and supply chains; if it's free from natural and man made calamities. Hope for the best.

  3. Daniel
    December 3, 2013

    “Eliminate the ambiguity of Dodd-Frank by attending our webinar tomorrow which tackles your companies conflict minerals filing challenges, including how to prepare your report and streamline your compliance program for the May filing deadline.”

    Sourceintel, about which webinar you are mentioning? So far we didn't received any info about it .

  4. SourceIntel
    December 4, 2013

    Jacob,

    The webinar is at 10am PDT today. You can check it out at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/552625047?utm_source=V.5+Q4+Webinar&utm_campaign=Q4+webinar+&utm_medium=email.

    We will cover cross-industry best practices to craft a streamlined process and implement a conflict minerals program for reporting and beyond 

  5. FLYINGSCOT
    December 4, 2013

    I hope this year we see some loosening of the purse strings by banks and big corporations to fund and support  the SMEs to reallly get this “recovery” on to a solid footing.  All the best for 2014 to everyone, families and friends.

  6. Daniel
    December 4, 2013

    SourceIntel, thanks for the link, but unfortunately I had missed the time.

  7. Daniel
    December 4, 2013

    “I hope this year we see some loosening of the purse strings by banks and big corporations to fund and support  the SMEs to reallly get this “recovery” on to a solid footing.  All the best for 2014 to everyone, families and friends.”

    Flyingscot, you are right about the cost factor. Most of the customers, including corporate are concerned about this purchasing power due to lucrative and flexible market.

  8. SourceIntel
    December 5, 2013

    We just posted it in our library if you want to check it out or share with your colleagues. 

    http://www.sourceintelligence.com/webinarlibrary

  9. _hm
    December 5, 2013

    We also wishfully await reshoring or bringing back manufacturing and also design back to USA.

    This will enhance the middle class person's quality of life and USA will look much healthier.

     

  10. _hm
    December 5, 2013

    @Lynn: Thanks for this retrospectives. It is nice to do summarise the year make goals for new year.

    What are new challenges and do you anticipate for 2014? Do you need better qualified supply chain force to be ready for new boom.

     

  11. jesse_securecomponents
    December 5, 2013

    I just returned from the DMSMS Conference in Orlando and feel really good about the steps industry is taking to address the counterfeit issue. The first step to fixing a problem is to acknowledge that a problem exists. I think we've finally reached a consensus that this is a serious issue and as a result substantive conversations re: mitigation plans are taking place. By no means is the problem solved, but I am encouraged that the supply chain as a whole is working towards a solution.

  12. Daniel
    December 5, 2013

    “We just posted it in our library if you want to check it out or share with your colleagues. “

    SourceIntel, thanks. That's very helpful

  13. Daniel
    December 5, 2013

    “We also wishfully await reshoring or bringing back manufacturing and also design back to USA. This will enhance the middle class person's quality of life and USA will look much healthier.”

    -hm, everybody is talking about that, but whether they really have the skilled manpower for that?

  14. _hm
    December 6, 2013

    @Jacob: For these jobs, it may need training for two to three weeks only.

     

  15. Daniel
    December 8, 2013

    _hm, impossible.  if that's the case, most of the countries can create a pool of talented skilled labors.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.