Communications Power

Attracted by the Large Turnout Distributors Digi-Key, Mouser, Future and EBV Elektronik all made Significant Announcements at Electronica

The 25th electronica came to a close with more than 72,000 visitors. With so many OEM customers in one place, major distributors from around the world converged on the show to demonstrate their commitment to the European electronics industry. Digi-Key and Mouser announced significant increases in their investments in Europe. Future announced the formation of a specialist division called Future Power Solutions focused on power components and modules. EBV Electronik unveiled a new division, EBVchips and its intent to, “offer its customers competitive advantages, as they will now receive exactly the products and technologies they require for their individual applications.”

On the evening prior to the opening of Electronica, Digi-Key hosted its Industry Media Press Conference in Munich, Germany and broadcast online via a worldwide webcast. The event was hosted by Tony Harris, Chief Marketing Officer at Digi-Key, and featured participation by Mark Larson, Digi-Key President and COO; Dave Doherty, Vice President, Global Supplier and Product Operations; and Chris Beeson, Vice President, Global Sales and Business Development. Mark Olson observed that Digi-Key was the first and only catalog-free distributor.

PowerPulse.net asked: Why make the change to being catalog-free and what was the impact? Mr. Larson responded that the effect was of course less paper and costs, but that the impact on business was imperceptible. Also it was “greener” and it’s far better to update on the web because catalogs go out of date so fast (like news in magazines!). This way, Digi-Key can provide a better service and quality of information to their customers.

Digi-Key is making an investment in Europe. All the regions of the world are supplied from Digi-Key headquarters in Thief river falls. The company will continue to have one center, no duplication with a rock-solid worldwide logistics network. The company doesn’t see a need for regional warehouses. They are however setting up regional support services in Europe and investing in staff to serve customers. “Europe is a dynamic market within the electronic component space, and electronica has allowed us to gain a better understanding of how we can best serve this market by meeting with our customers and suppliers on a more intimate level,” stated Tony Harris.

On the opening day of the show, Mouser Electronics, Inc. reported strong and continued growth, plus a positive company outlook for 2013. This is in despite of economic uncertainty, Europe’s ongoing debt crisis, and China’s recent economic slowdown.

“With continuing innovation revolutionizing the electronics industry, we believe demand for the newest semiconductors, optoelectronics, and low power, greener solutions will continue to spearhead new design in Europe and elsewhere around the globe. Mouser has positioned itself as the leader in introducing new products and technologies first, and we plan to continue to lead the industry in this area,” expressed Mark Burr-Lonnon, Mouser Electronics’ Vice President of EMEA Business. “We are optimistic about next year and plan to continue our investment in growing our business in the European market.”

In 2012 to date, Mouser has posted further sales gains of 20% overall, with France up 23%, Spain up 20%, the Benelux up 54%, U.K. up 19%, Italy up 21%, and Germany up 16%. These 2012 figures build upon Mouser’s 2010-2011 growth of 43%, seeing three-year sales figures soar to 450%. In addition, Mouser.com has accounted for 75% of all new accounts and close to 50% of sales volume, marking a three-year increase in European customers of more than 260%.

A key driver behind the growth in Europe is the establishment of nine local European Customer Support Centers. Furthermore, Mouser’s European headquarters in Munich has provided a tremendous advantage in supporting the company’s market-driven operation when it comes to launching campaigns that better meet local needs and in fostering closer working partnerships with Mouser’s expanding network of European suppliers. It has also been the key benefit in being able to deliver best-in-class localized service — providing customers with personalized technical support and service in 17 different languages and currencies.

Also on the opening day of the show, Future Electronics promised to bring new higher standards of technical and supply-chain service to OEM buyers of power components and modules with the launch of its latest specialist division, Future Power Solutions. Future Power Solutions has been organized to offer in-depth, specialist technical and market understanding of power technology, while drawing on the global supply-chain capabilities of its parent business, Future Electronics. It will sell a broad range of discrete power components, power modules, and standard and configurable power supplies to customers, starting immediately in the EMEA region. It will also develop and produce custom power solutions via its System Design Centers.

At launch, Future Power Solutions has a comprehensive line-up of franchised suppliers of discrete components, modules and brick power supplies. In line with Future Electronics’ policy of investing in inventory, extensive stocks of franchised suppliers’ products will be available for next-day delivery from distribution centers in Memphis (North America), Leipzig (EMEA) and Singapore (Asia).

Andy Gales, VP of European Sales at Vicor, a franchised supplier to Future Power Solutions, said: “Vicor is delighted to be a launch partner of the new Future Power Solutions. Through Vicor’s FAE Certification Program, Future Electronics has demonstrated its breadth and depth of technical knowledge and understanding of power electronics and strength in understanding advanced power architectures and topologies. We are confident that Vicor customers will benefit from an informed and highly responsive service through this new organization.”

Steve Carr, Technical and Vertical Markets Director at Future Electronics commented: “The market for OEM power supplies, both in terms of distributors and device manufacturers, is highly fragmented. That means there is space for Future Electronics, a global distributor with world-class capabilities in applications engineering, inventory management and logistics, to match small specialist suppliers’ technical capabilities while providing superior supply-chain service and global reach.”

Under the new name EBVchips, EBV Elektronik (an Avnet company) is defining its own semiconductor products, which it is developing with and for its customers. This is another example of a distributor providing an added value to the traditional distribution model.

These products are manufactured by EBV suppliers, fulfilling special requirements of customers not covered by products already available. This makes EBV the first semiconductor specialist in the world to offer such a service. With EBVchips, EBV can offer its customers competitive advantages, as they will now receive exactly the products and technologies they require for their individual applications.

EBV provides a function on its website for customers to select individual filters to find exactly the EBVchip for the customer’s design. Customers can also browse through forthcoming devices or provide EBV with their individual specification and by doing so, participate in the definition of the next EBVchip.

A distribution industry veteran commented that many catalog distributors are moving towards providing the customer with extra services to help engineers to design in parts. With designers stretched to make shrinking deadlines, distributors are also looking to manufacturers to support them in their quest to gain business by making the part easy and fast to get working. The move by Digi-Key to use the web to promote their catalog is seen as a good one and there is speculation on whether others will follow. The cost of compiling and distributing paper catalogs is becoming prohibitively high and with designers using the web in their everyday work, is seen by many as old-fashioned un-green and unnecessary.

Mouser Electronics Inc. , Future Power Solutions , EBVchips , Digi-Key Corp.
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