Digi-Key is one of the fastest growing distributors of electronic components in the world. Digi-Key is an authorized distributor of electronic components for more than 750 industry-leading suppliers. Jim Ricciardelli, Vice President, Digital Business, Digi-Key Electronics spoke to Electronics Maker about components business, challenges and shares how Digi-Key uniquely finds the ways to handle.
1.What is your outlook about electronics components market and its growth in India recently?
India is an exciting market due to the number of engineers entering the workforce every year. Also, a 2017 study found India to be one of the top 3 “startup ecosystems” in the world, which plays very well into our high mix/low volume model and our move into the Maker Movement.
We’ve seen great growth through our website in India, and we’ve served the region nicely with our digital platform and self-service model. The recent addition of local currency has had an immediate impact, and we will continue to pursue additional opportunities to make it easier to do business from this high-growth market.
2.What are the topmost challenges if any you observed in recent years?
There have been a number of challenges which are actually opportunities for our business model, mostly surrounding speed and availability. There is a high demand for shorter engineering cycles, quicker time to market, mass customization, and more. Recently we have been facing the dynamic nature of the industry and the impact and opportunity of digital solutions to better serve our customers. Also, the industry has been dealing with challenges around inventory and shortages. Lead times are getting longer and we’re not able to accurately predict when that will change.
Fortunately, Digi-Key’s model is well positioned to handle speed and availability as we have a strong foundation and long-time proven track record on which to continue building.
3.Is the counterfeit a challenge for electronics components business? How the distributors can take the lead in tackling this issue?
Since Digi-Key only sources direct from franchised suppliers we do not have a problem, but counterfeiting is a huge challenge for our industry overall. As a distributor, we need to make sure we’re working closely with our partners to combat the many different methods used by counterfeiters. Luckily, many of our manufacturers are looking into new techniques that can make their products more difficult to copy and easier to verify.
One group trying to help stop the rise in counterfeit components is the ECIA. The organization has put several initiatives into place such as the Advocacy and Industry Promotion Council, which includes distributor members such as Digi-Key Electronics. The council is intended to promote awareness of the issues that can arise with counterfeit components. The ECIA is also acting as an advisor on legislation that will try to stop the supply of counterfeit parts. Services such as ECIA authorized.com are designed to assist distributors and provide resources to support a counterfeit-free supply chain.
4.What do you think about the Amazon as electronics components distribution business?
Amazon has obviously been a disruptor in other industries. Digi-Key was very much an original disruptor of the electronics component industry. Digi-Key is keenly aware of competitors and disruptions and we see it as challenge and an opportunity to focus on improvement in digital engagement and customer needs. That being said, Digi-Key and other authorized distributors have a strong value proposition in regards to product authenticity, technical product information, breadth of coverage, and value added services.