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Top European Industrial and Electronics Distributors Look Ahead

March 31, 2020
As they work to address the immediate and long-term impacts of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, European distributors continue to serve their customers’ needs and look to a brighter future ahead.

As COVID-19 continues to take its toll on human life, economies and supply chains around the world, the top European industrial and electronics distributors are doing everything they can to keep their customers well-supplied while also ensuring their own longevity during these uncertain times.

“Our number-one priority remains providing quality service to our customers,” says Pari Mah, marketing manager at Chip 1 Exchange, whose headquarters are in Neu-Isenburg, Germany.We have invoked long-planned procedures that allow our employees to remain safe and healthy while delivering uninterrupted support to our customers around the globe.”

The Best of the Best

For its 2020 Top European Components Distributors list, SourceToday ranked the top companies by sales volume. Populated by organizations like Chip 1 Exchange, HN Electronic Components, Inductron Inductive Electronic Components, MRC GIGACOMP, RM Components and SENKO Advanced Components, these rankings represent the “best of the best” in European industrial and electronic distribution.

Asked to share their current challenges and outlooks for the remainder of the year, most of the companies on this year’s list were grappling with economic challenges and geopolitical tensions even before COVID-19 became a mainstream, worldwide problem. Despite these roadblocks, most of the companies say they’re focused on growth—both geographical and in terms of new customer segments.

“We’re focused on providing brilliant design tools, products and services to inspire great ideas,” said one respondent. “We’ll continue to ensure designers have access to the newest innovative products.”

When it comes to challenges, the company was bracing for shortages in MLCCs, inductors, discretes, logic, NAND flash and DRAM during the second half of 2020. It also continues to grapple with the ever-changing tariff regulations. “Uncertainty in the global economy gained in complexity with the Coronavirus outbreak, which will have an impact on the first quarter and beyond.”

Better Information-Sharing, Please

Focusing on capturing maximum market share for microwave/plasma products and the network communication industry, another company representative said it’s currently dealing with a lack of supply of coaxial tunnel diodes/RF connectors, both of which are in high demand right now from industrial customers. It’s also trying to work through a lack of information-sharing across manufacturers and distributors, and particularly when it comes to product discontinuations.

“Because the information isn’t being transferred to industries on a timely basis,” the respondent said, “it leads to supply shortages and more counterfeit parts (namely because customers can’t afford to make any last-minute changes).”

No Rearview Mirrors

With companies around the world operating remotely or with reduced staffing, Mah says communication is “a little slow” right now. “Uncertainty may cause some production to be scaled back or delayed at least for the interim,” she adds. “Having disparate, geographically dispersed sources allows us to minimize the impact of a single regional outage.”

On a positive note, Mah says supply chain interruptions for manufacturers create opportunities for distributors to step up to the plate and provide a valuable service. “We’re already seeing an increase in demand for components,” she says, “especially in industries deemed essential such as medical, aerospace and defense, among others.”

Looking ahead, Mah expects the nimble, resourceful companies that planned in advance to emerge stronger and as leaders in 2021. “This is not a time to be looking in the rearview mirror.”

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About the Author

Bridget McCrea | Contributing Writer | Supply Chain Connect

Bridget McCrea is a freelance writer who covers business and technology for various publications.