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What can we do better this year?

At EDS 2010 in Las Vegas last month, electronic components industry stakeholders came together to celebrate excellence and enjoy face-to-face time with customers and colleagues.


“We know that EDS is where the electronics industry gathers together to do business, and participants are telling us that they want more face-time with colleagues and customers to maximize the conference experience,” said Gerald Newman, EDS executive vice president.

Awards were presented to Digikey for most user-friendly website, to Grayhill for manufacturer who provides the best overall support, to TTI for national distributor known for best overall support, programs, product knowledge and employee training, to Hammond for regional distributor known for best overall support, programs, product knowledge and employee training, and to Arrow for most favored national distributor.

“Orders are slightly up, and things are looking better,” according to Robert Willis, president of Electronic Components Association (ECA). He noted that shortage of raw materials caused in part by unstable political climates in some export nations remains an issue for many manufacturers and expressed hope that it will be mitigated in the best possible way.

Gary Smith of Yorba Linda, CA-based GL Smith Associates said that despite many obstacles, his company is determined to work harder and smarter this year to earn business.

“Long leads times will become reality, expediting will become a way of life, and the question will be how we respond to these challenges,” he said. “The principals that step up will be successful and those that try to dictate to the marketplace will perish. I am going to be very demanding and forceful in doing what is necessary to achieve our customers’ needs.”

Many at EDS 2010 were wondering, “what can we do better this year?” The question doubled as a theme for an industry networking reception.

Clearly part of the improvement equation involves striking partnerships and even consolidation to take advantage of shared resources and economies of scale.

A good example of consolidation announced at EDS 2010 was that the National Electronics Distributors Association (www.nedassoc.org/) and ECA (http://ec-central.org/) have agreed to merge. A merger transition team has been created to finalize details, the two organizations revealed.

Pending completion of the due diligence process, the new association, to be named the Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA), will commence operation in January 2011.

The mission of the new association will be to promote and improve the business environment for the authorized sales of electronic components. The merger is designed to enable the industry to speak with one voice for the manufacturers and distributors of electronic components on issues of critical importance to the authorized channel. The combined membership, resources and leadership will incorporate the necessary elements to provide enhanced member benefits and services while reducing duplication of efforts and decreasing costs.

“NEDA and ECA have been united with respect to their fight against counterfeit product and in support of the authorized channel,” said Robin B. Gray, Jr., NEDA executive vice president. “It makes good business sense to combine our efforts for maximum effectiveness.”

The two organizations, combined with the Electronics Representatives Association (www.era.org/), have also agreed to take over management of EDS for 2011 through to 2013.

James Kaplan, president of Cornell Dubilier and EDS Board president, stated: “We plan to maintain the standards of management excellence sustained by EDS over many decades, while infusing the show with new ideas and programs based on direct input from the electronics distribution community.”