High-tech shippers sought for research project

High-tech shippers are invited to participate in a research project that will examine the impact of outsourced operations in design, manufacturing, logistics and other related operations in the electronics industry. The project’s goal is to understand how well current processes and systems allow companies in each segment of the electronics supply chain to mitigate the risks of this business model.

The Electronics Supply Chain Association (ESCA) and Industry Directions Inc. are seeking responses from all companies in the electronics industry to gain a full picture of the state-of-the market. An online survey will be open for industry response through September 2005, with a full report to be presented and distributed at the ESCA Winter Symposium, November 14-16, 2005.

“Outsourcing and contracting out core operations increases companies’ risk. The business model in electronics has changed so fast that the processes and systems may not be ready to mitigate that risk,” says Julie Fraser, principal analyst with Industry Directions, which is conducting the research and analysis for the project. “We believe this is a strategic challenge, and hope for a strong survey response from the industry to help everyone learn what is working and where relationships could still improve.”

“There is a need for an unbiased look at what is going on with the continuously expanding role of outsourcing in the electronics supply chain and how we are adapting and maturing,” adds Dean Strausl, executive director of the ESCA. “Uncertainty and the resulting risk and risk sharing are factors in a supply line where build-to-order is problematic due to the very long component lead times. This research will quantify business process impact and measure progress.”

The online survey will be available through the ESCA web site and Industry Directions’ web site and will be open to companies of all sizes and segments in the electronics industry. Questions will focus on both supply side and sell side including the degree of using outsourcing or contracting and resulting changes; various levels of partnership, collaboration and visibility mechanisms and capabilities; specific processes within planning, sourcing, distributed order management, manufacturing, inventory management, logistics and delivery, returns and reverse logistics and financial reconciliation; and budget.

Co-sponsor companies underwriting the research effort include: Archstone Consulting, Microsoft, RiverOne and Viacore.



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