Heard in the Channel: Top 50 Distributors anticipate a solid 2013

April 3, 2013
Manufacturing growth slowed in March, but top distribution executives still anticipate an up year in 2013

Purchasing managers surveyed for the Institute for Supply Management’s recent Manufacturing Report on Business gave mixed reviews on the sector’s outlook amid slowing conditions in March. ISM’s Purchasing Manager’s Index registered 51.3 during the month, a 2.9% decline compared to February, but still above the 50-point mark indicating growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Computer and electronics representatives surveyed for the report pointed to a more promising second half of the year—an outlook that echoes comments from electronics distribution executives interviewed for Global Purchasing/SourceESB’s upcoming Top 50 Electronics Distributors report, to be published in May.

Future Electronics’ executive vice president Lindsley Ruth points to an up year compared to 2012, for example.

“At Future, we’re very optimistic about this year. Last year was a year of investment, and we’re beginning to reap the benefits of that investment,” Ruth explains. “We’re seeing an uptick in demand, so we’re gaining confidence as we go. We’re looking at a year in the supply chain that will be up in the high single digits to low double-digits.”

TTI’s senior vice president for the Americas Michael Knight agrees that 2013 is likely to turn out well, but says he’s cautious about the longer term outlook.

“We may have an up year as an industry … but the actual underlying demand, I suspect, is going to be a lot softer than we experience,” he says. “That calls into question what 2014 will look like; 2014 has got me a little nervous, but this year I think we’re going to be okay.”

In other industry news:

  • Avnet, Inc. announced in March an agreement to acquire RTI Holdings Ltd., a value-added distributor of wireless, optical, telecom, data communications and industrial components in Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Avnet will also acquire the shares of three related entities, RTI Technology China Limited, Eastele Technology China Limited and DSP Solutions Limited. The deal expands Avnet’s wireless, optical, communications, industrial and digital home application product lines and strengthens the distributor’s presence in the region.
  • Avnet was also recognized recently for having some of the healthiest employees in the Phoenix area. The distributor was named to the Phoenix Business Journal’s “2013 Healthiest Employers in the Valley List,” in the large-company category. The list highlights Phoenix-area employers that are committed to creating healthy workplaces. Avnet, which ranked number nine on the list, was recognized for its Healthy Steps wellness program for employees in Arizona and throughout the United States.
  • Newark element14 recently doubled the size of its custom kitting facility in Plano, Texas. The facility customizes a wide range of kits for design, production, field repair and maintenance applications and also offers fabrication and assembly of printed circuit boards. Labels and packaging for kits can be customized as well, and the distributor can hold stock at the facility and ship to a customer’s schedule.
  • Farnell element14, Newark’s Britain-based parent company, was recently named High Service Distributor of the Year for 2011-12 by HARTING Ltd., a major manufacturer of connectors for the electrical and electronics industries.
  • Distributor TLC Electronics announced the addition of Chris Humting as Product Marketing Manager. Humting has more than seven years of experience in the electronic component distribution industry, specializing in product management of electronic components. Most recently, Humting was a product manager for Top 50 Electronics Distributor Arrow Electronics.

Other companies announced the following new distribution agreements:

  • Allied Electronics' sister company, Britain-based RS Components, announced availability of the upgraded KQ2 Series of one-touch, general-purpose fittings from world-leading pneumatic provider, SMC.
  • Mouser Electronics announced it is now stocking Power CSP MOSFETs from Panasonic that provide a 5% improvement in thermal dissipation and a dramatically reduced size compared to conventional solutions.
  • Newark element14 is offering the new EMC-compliant interface design tool for RS-485 circuits co-developed by Analog Devices and Bourns. The product is the industry’s first evaluation board to offer electromagnetic compatibility protection.
  • Newark element14’s European counterpart, Farnell element 14, is now an authorized distributor of Panasonic semiconductor products.


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April 18-19, 2013
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April 28 - May 1, 2013
Dallas/Ft. Worth (Grapevine), Texas

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May 6-9
Las Vegas

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About the Author

Victoria Fraza Kickham | Distribution Editor

Victoria Kickham is the distribution editor for Electronic Design magazine, SourceESB and GlobalPurchasing.com, where she covers issues related to the electronics supply chain. Victoria started out as a general assignment reporter for several Boston-area newspapers before joining Industrial Distribution magazine, where she spent 14 years covering industrial markets. She served as ID’s managing editor from 2000 to 2010. Victoria has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree in English from Northeastern University.