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Unnecessary Middle Men

Posted: 26th July 2017

Unnecessary Middle MenThe rules, regulations and standards applied to the electronics industry does mean that we all need to keep track of a lot of information. From Material Declaration Sheets, product life cycle status, conflict minerals, RoHS and REACh data, it all adds up. If you are a large electronics manufacturer you will need a sophisticated database to keep track of it all.

Where there is work, there is always someone happy to offer an outsourcing service. What a great idea, you can simply pass this onerous and non-profit generating task to a 3rd party to manage on your behalf. Perhaps the best idea is for you to simply give a data dump of all the parts in your database to this 3rd party company and let them sort the whole thing out. Great!

Meanwhile down here as your component supplier we receive an enormous list from these 3rd party companies containing all the parts we have ever quoted to you, dating back many years and including parts which are obsolete, parts for projects which you have closed, parts we have sampled for projects which never took off. If you are a large multinational company perhaps we are listed as a supplier on your global database and also to one of your subdivisions, perhaps we will receive two requests for the same data.

On top of this, every one of these 3rd party data gathering services asks for the data in a different format, some have a form, some have a spread sheet, some like us to log onto their database…. So just like you we now have a non-profit generating team of people working full time servicing this data gathering industry. Only now the workload has dramatically increased since so many of the parts are not even in service.

Just when we wondered where on earth the industry was going with this one, guess what, these 3rd party data gathering services are now offering their services to us! Yes, they now suggest that, for a fee, we could simply dump all the data from our system and let them complete it. So they can make a profit from our customers and from us!

I am sure we are not alone in taking a dim view of this direction of travel in the industry. Here at IQD our first reaction to information gather from a 3rd party is to check the sales against the parts listed, our second is to provide the data in the format which is the least onerous to us and let them do the work they are charging you our customer to do.

The irony of this is that whilst all companies in electronics are constantly looking for 'cost down' from their suppliers, many of their own departments are regularly introducing policies that add costs to their suppliers thereby achieving the opposite effect! It is the customers that work closely in 'partnership' with their suppliers and discuss mutual opportunities for reducing costs that are most effective in achieving this.