In this Q&A, Smith’s president Americas, Todd Burke, guides readers through the company’s procurement, recycling and supply chain solutions.
Q) Smith has been appointed official distributor for various component brands over the years. Is this a growth area and do you envisage this list increasing?
A) Since our founding in 1984, Smith has been a leading independent distributor of electronic components. Sourcing from the open market gives us and our customers the advantage of procuring from an infinite line card without geographic limitations. One of the recent trends for companies in our space has been to take on franchised lines. Smith has done so, but with a little different tack than others. Right now, Smith is authorized for a few select manufacturers, like AUO, that we have strategically added to our portfolio. As our customers’ needs evolve, Smith will evaluate all partnerships with the foremost goal of better meeting customer requirements.
Q) Can you explain ITAD and how this supports electronics purchasing professionals’ sourcing requirements?
A) Smith’s IT asset disposition (ITAD) services offer a multifaceted approach to the reuse and recycling of retired equipment. We provide customers with safe and secure hardware disposal services and the unique option to recover value by selling equipment on the secondary market. For many electronics purchasing professionals, ITAD services are a value-add supply chain solution that provides an additional option for product sourcing and disposition. In a sense, we’ve been in the ITAD space for a while doing one-off programs and projects for key accounts. We’ve made significant investments in facilities, certifications and human resources. We view ITAD as a key growth opportunity as the cloud and related businesses grow and it becomes necessary for them to properly dispose of IT equipment.
Q) In addition to component procurement services, what supply chain services does Smith provide?
A) At our global hubs in Houston, Hong Kong and Amsterdam, Smith has mirrored supply chain service capabilities. Sales representatives help customers manage their inventory with our unique VMI, EOL and LTB solutions. To protect inventory our warehouses are: access-controlled; fully secured; and ESD, climate and temperature controlled. Additionally, customers have real-time visibility of their inventory management through our proprietary customer portal. VMI solutions are one of the prime supply chain services we provide to help customers manage their lines with forecast planning and projections of parts.
Q) Regarding Covid-19, are you witnessing any sourcing trends and is Smith supporting medical device manufacturing?
A) The coronavirus situation is affecting electronic component availability across the board. With many manufacturers still running at limited capacity due to plant shutdowns, supply for many key parts is either limited or delayed. We have definitely seen an uptick in demand from our medical customers. Smith is absolutely doing its part to support this critical need. Our trading force is completely mobilized around the world, and our logistics hubs have been able to maintain operation throughout the pandemic. We’re seeing a lot of passive component requirements on ventilators and other medical devices.
Q) Finally, what advice can you offer our 72,000 readers to ensure their supply chain efficiency?
A) Maintaining a strategic partnership with a qualified independent distributor like Smith is very important when the supply chain is disrupted. When direct sourcing channels are unavailable, purchasing on the open market is often the most efficient source for products in shortage. Seek a partner who meets your quality standards and who can offer you valuable market information. Understanding the supply and demand trends of products will provide customers the insight needed to stay proactive and keep lines running smoothly.