The companies in the electronics sector expect COVID-19 to impact their operations. We’re already seeing these grim expectations become a reality in the sector, amid manufacturing slowdowns and supply chain bottlenecks. The pandemic is already ushering in a host of challenges to supply chain maneuverability worldwide. Mark Burr-Lonnon, Senior Vice President, Global Service & EMEA and APAC Business, Mouser caught up with ELE Times to discuss the magnitude of the challenges and Mouser’s effort to overcome the problems. Excerpts.
ELE Times: In the COVID-19 time, how do you manage your services and support to the customers?
Mark Burr-Lonnon: Against the headwind of a global pandemic, we remain cautiously optimistic, still focusing on our customers and investing in inventory which in over $820m. We’ve just completed a major expansion at our global corporate headquarters and distribution center in Texas, where we stock the industry’s widest selection of products, with over one million different SKUs. One key decision was to maintain our inventory levels. We continue to focus on the breadth of inventory from all of our supplier partners to offer the right parts to purchasing professionals and design engineers.
ELE Times: What expansion plan do you have to cater to global audience?
Mark Burr-Lonnon: In 2019, we opened offices in Brazil, Philippines, Vietnam and Poland. We now have 27 locations worldwide, positioned to provide local language, currency and same-time-zone support. Mouser believes in being global — that’s global with a local presence — to offer our customers best-in-class service. Our focus is on providing our customers service excellence. We strive to do this every day.
ELE Times: What is Mouser’s growth modus operandi to stay ahead in the challenging atmosphere?
Mark Burr-Lonnon: We are just finishing up a major expansion at our 1 million square-foot global headquarters and distribution center in Texas, USA, where we added a new Customer Service Center and additional state-of-the-art automation. Investing in automation systems allows us to expand capacity and efficiency in our warehouse. We are excited to have the largest installation of Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) in North America, a testament to our belief in working smarter.
VLMs — essentially giant vertical filing cabinets — can store up to 120,000 parts, helping our distribution teams greatly expedite orders for our 630,000 customers worldwide. We continue to invest in inventory with the widest selection of stock in the industry (more than one million different parts from over 800 manufacturers).
Mouser is strongly poised for the digital future with our industry-leading website, available in 63 country subdomains, 20 languages and 27 currencies. Over half of our business today comes via the internet, so we continue to expand Mouser.com with search enhancements, buying tools and technical resources for buyers and engineers. Ordering is faster and easier than ever.
ELE Times: Tell us about the impact of pandemic and your solution to cope up with the problem.
Mark Burr-Lonnon: It’s too soon to tell what the full economic impact of the global pandemic will be on manufacturing. But even with the sudden economic downturn, the use of electronic devices and systems seems to be strong worldwide. We are still shipping hundreds of thousands of components weekly. Once market stability returns, the biggest challenge will be keeping up with demand. Product delivery lead times and shortages on certain components could become an issue again as demand ramps up. We saw this with MLCCs last year.
ELE Times: What benefits a purchase manager has while dealing with Mouser?
Mark Burr-Lonnon: There’s never been a more important time to buy from an authorized distributor. Purchasing professionals will discover many benefits from doing business with Mouser, like the efficiencies, security and convenience, for starters. We are a Top 10 global distributor and have everything for buyers’ BOMs.
Whether customers are buying online or through one of our trained customer service representatives, we have the professionals and procedures in place to ensure an effective and efficient supply chain, free of counterfeit or gray market products. Some sources are very limited in their component offerings. With Mouser, customers can source their entire bill of materials from us; it’s easy, one-stop buying. We strive every day to achieve a strong balance of speed and efficiency to consistently provide our customers with best-in-class service and a full suite of online buying tools, like our new Price & Availability Assistant.
ELE Times: Considering the new technology trends, what is your focus currently?
Mark Burr-Lonnon: The digital revolution is driving global demand for semiconductors and electronic components. There’s 5G, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, robotics, industrial automation and transportation — all propelling demand.
From the product and market trend perspective, 5G will continue to drive consumption. Government investment in 5G deployment as an economic stimulus package may happen at some point this year, creating even more demand. It is no surprise that our RF product lines are experiencing significant demand across the board, including RF power transistors, RF filters and specialist RF interconnects.
Going into 2020, we expected to see growth coming from microprocessors and microcontrollers, analog, and interconnect. Those categories are up this year, and even some passive areas such as resistors and inductors are doing well, as are engineering tools. The industry continues to make it easier for design engineers to design in new products, so engineering boards and evaluation kits should continue to show strong sales.
ELE Times: Which sectors are the potential growth drivers and how Mouser is fairing for its demands?
Mark Burr-Lonnon: The digital revolution is accelerating, and the expansion of IoT will continue to fuel the global need across all industries for semiconductors and electronic components. With 5G, artificial intelligence, robotics, industrial automation, transportation — all will be propelling our industry for the next decade and beyond.
Mouser specializes in the newest products and we stock the widest breadth of inventory in the world. We are seeing new sensor technologies from our manufacturers, as well as the latest in power management and, of course, advancements in microprocessors. Automotive, factory and home automation also will continue to be emerging markets as more technologies are introduced to make buildings, homes and vehicles smarter and safer. We will also see an increased need for components for wireless, mobile- and telecommunications-related devices.
ELE Times: How do you mitigate the counterfeit components to supply the genuine ones?
Mark Burr-Lonnon: Mouser received accreditation to AS6496, making us the industry’s first authorized distributor to be accredited with the aerospace industry’s high standard for anti-counterfeit measures in authorized electronic component distribution. The AS6496 aerospace standard sets requirements for the avoidance, detection, mitigation and disposition of counterfeit products in the authorized distribution supply chain.
During pandemic period Medical sector has come up well. How do you see the demand emerging from medical electronics?
Medical has always been a good sector for us, but unsurprisingly we’ve seen an increase in demand, particularly across all types of sensors. Microcontrollers, analog, LCD displays, and pretty much anything that goes into medical equipment is growing. Demand has been well above normal and maintaining our high inventory levels has meant we can deliver from stock and ship Globally every day .— something that we are particularly pleased to be able to offer considering the intended purpose and urgency of these components.
Even with the pandemic we are fully operational at all our locations worldwide. The entire team is working to provide the world’s broadest selection of electronic components in stock and available for immediate shipment. We have partnered with customers all over the world who are adapting and innovating with solutions.
ELE Times: What are the infrastructure development and future plans of Mouser?
Mark Burr-Lonnon: We have just completed a massive expansion of our global headquarters and distribution center in Texas, USA, which now stands at 1 million square feet of building space. We have added a new Customer Service Center and additional state-of-the-art automation technologies. Strategic expansion and implementation of automation systems enables us to improve capacity and increase efficiency in our warehouse. Mouser also enjoys the largest installation of Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) in North America, a testament to our belief in working smarter.
These VLMs can store up to 120,000 parts, which helps our distribution teams greatly expedite orders for our 630,000 customers worldwide. We continue to invest in inventory with the widest selection of stock in the industry (more than one million different parts from over 800 manufacturers).
We’re well-positioned for a digital future as our business continues to see increased ordering through the internet. Mouser strives to give our customers around the world a fast and easy ordering experience through our industry-leading website, which is available in 63 country subdomains, 20 languages and 27 currencies. Plus, with continually updated buying tools, search enhancements and technical resources for buyers and engineers, Mouser.com provides a unique experience of online buying.