Reading into the reader

Thomas Smart, special projects editor at Electronics Sourcing

Electronics Sourcing’s special projects editor, Thomas Smart, examines industry trends revealed in the magazine’s latest annual reader survey.

This year saw a consolidation of readers support for print, with 86 per cent preferring the printed publication. Only five per cent preferring the digital edition. Readers stated key benefits of print were bookmarking stories for future reference, the back catalogue of information and the ability to compare manufactures and distributors in the Buyers’ Guide section.

Another emerging trend is purchasers’ deepening relationship with design teams, with purchasers offering more input at early stages of the design process. This early involvement: helps prevent hard to find components reaching the bill-of-materials; reduces lead times and ensures preferred component manufacturers and distributors are used. On average, readers work with their design team on 12 projects per year, a 50 per cent increase on last year’s survey.

Moving away from brokers
The survey highlighted a continual move away from brokers. Readers are placing 21 per cent of their business through brokers, compared with 25 per cent in 2019 and 27 per cent in 2018. Stated reasons for this decline included: diminished stock traceability; increased risk of counterfeit components entering the supply chain; and substandard, used or refurbished components.

Biggest industry concerns
Availability, price and lead times remain the three biggest purchasing concerns. An unforeseen issue which added to these concerns was the US vs China tariff war. Other concerns included: unreliable supply chains; obsolescence; finding alternative components, lack of stock on hand; EOL mitigation; counterfeits; disruptions in the supply chain; and factory moves.

Purchasers expand preferred suppliers and stick with them
Purchasers are increasingly relying on preferred suppliers when sourcing for new projects, with 76 per cent confirming they use a preferred supplier list, up from 71 per cent the previous year. Also, 48 per cent of those saying yes are seeing their list expand, while 27 per cent see it remain static and 25 per cent are seeing it decrease.