Distribution in Europe – Answers provided by Mark Burr-Lonnon, vice president Europe & Asia, Mouser Electronics

Pubblicato il 30 settembre 2013

EONEWS: What is your opinion regarding this year electronic market trends (electronics means not only semiconductor but also passives and electromechanical) globally and in particular in the European region?

BURR-LONNON: The trends in the market in 2013 are very much the same as ever – miniaturisation, performance, power – and ease of use. This applies to almost every application, and Mouser is active in all sectors: LED lighting, energy harvesting, sensors and the so-called ‘internet of things’, medical, smart grid, alternative energy, automotive, harsh environment…to name just a few (see our Applications and Technologies section at http://uk.mouser.com/applications/).

Time to market is even more critical than it was a few years ago, so it is vital to have a design ecosystem. Since Mouser primarily services design engineers, our goal is to enable design engineers to try out new semiconductor technologies which will differentiate their end equipment by delivering extra performance and increased functionality. Semiconductor vendors have vied with each other to support their microprocessors, microcontrollers, DSPs, FPGAs etc. This is because they know that if a designer can get to market simply and quickly without huge investment in expensive tools that will only work with one device family they stand a very good chance of securing the design slot. At Mouser, we understand that designers need the full technology ‘ecosystem’ – device itself, software development system, development board, design ideas and documentation – so that they literally ‘have the tools to do their job’.

As well as offering hard and software tools from our partner suppliers, we have also created our own online tools – most recently adding  our unique BOM tool and Search Accelerator which speed up the complex process of building BOMs and ensuring that the most appropriate component choices are made.

EONEWS: Do you think that Europe could play in the short-medium period a key role in the global electronic market? If yes: in which sector?

BURR-LONNON: Absolutely. Even in difficult economic times, companies develop new products and Europe is still the world’s design powerhouse. Mouser focuses entirely on supporting the design engineer during product conceptualisation, development, prototyping and low volume introduction, giving them access to latest components to give their new designs a competitive edge.

It will come as no surprise to hear that Germany is the strongest single country market. But other regions are also performing well, including Italy. And all regions have their distinctive requirements, which is why we have dedicated local offices (including Milan) with customer-service operatives which speak the local language, understand the local business culture and can trade in the local currency.

EONEWS: What are the most important events that have influenced the electronic distribution in Europe this year?

BURR-LONNON: This year has been relatively quiet – thankfully no events like the Tsunami in Japan or the floods in Thailand of recent years – so the supply chain has been relatively secure. The European economy is still fragile and uncertain, but there is growth out of recession in many areas and our sales figures would lead us to believe that electronics design activity is strong. As proof, Mouser enjoyed its best ever sales performance for the first quarter of 2013. And the company’s International (Asian and European) businesses are contributing significantly to the company’s strong performance. At the current run rate for 2013, International sales will represent 42% of the company’s revenue and EMEA is the top performing region again in 2013 with over 24% growth on the back of similar growth last year.

EONEWS: What are the strategies you implement to support your future expansion in Europe?

BURR-LONNON: Our simple strategy is to support the design engineer in the best way we can. This means local offices in all key and emerging countries, and best-in-class development tools to support key new franchises such as Intel Embedded and Altera. Also, we work in partnership with our suppliers to try to make the design engineers’ lives easier. As an example, recently we have partnered with Power Integrations, so users of that company’s popular power supply design software, PI Expert Suite 9.0, can upload the BOM from their auto-generated schematic layout to our system, enabling them to access not only the PI power supply chip but also all the required supporting components. This simplifies the ordering process and reduces design time. In addition to this our Bill of Materials tool helps all to simplify their quoting and purchasing process and our Third Party Design Development partners aid new customers in greater depths of design.

But above all it means having ready availability of stock of the latest new parts – which are the lifeblood of any new design, enabling end-product differentiation and a competitive advantage.

EONEWS: From a general point of view, in your opinion, are there still key barriers today to overcome, to improve the ecosystem (logistics, supply chain of vendors, distributors, dealers, etc.) of electronic distribution in Europe? If yes, what are them, and what are the solutions?

BURR-LONNON: Distributors such as Mouser have proved that it is routinely possible to ship components from a central warehouse (in our case, based near Dallas, Texas, USA) to customers worldwide in two or three days. Therefore, most of the logistics, supply chain and financial concerns have been met. However, this has not been a trivial task and we have had to put in place many systems to enable the smooth operation of many functions such as, for example, payments in different currencies.  But if – as a logistics company which is what distributors are – you are prepared to respect local cultures and norms, then it is perfectly possible to operate globally.

Overall most barriers have already been overcome in the global supply /logistics chain as Global Support is now seamless, both into Europe and from Europe to the rest of the world. The market is currently pretty solid, but as always the supply chain will be stretched in the future as shortages occur due to large market upsides, manufacturing issues or unexpected take up of a new technology. This is part of the constant excitement of being at the leading edge of technology; we get surprises that even those who are close to its heartbeat still cannot predict.

EONEWS: Do you envision a particular shift in the evolution of this business model for the next future?

BURR-LONNON: The short answer would be no, however, although we are committed to our overarching business model of satisfying the design engineer, we are always looking at ways to improve the services we offer. Currently we are focusing on providing not only the component, but also all the information and tools engineers need to gain full advantage of working with leading-edge technologies.

Continual changes, both enabled and demanded by the internet, also mean that our business model evolves. This has occurred exponentially over the last few years and I would expect many further enhancements – information, design support, purchasing – that will revolutionize the market in the future.

Read the article on EONews 567-September

Edited by the editorial staff

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