Although 2001 was a lean period for component distribution in general, Electrocomp once again experienced good growth in a very static market.
After the tragic events of 11 September 2001, which literally forced the entire world to a global standstill, it seems almost unbelievable that we find ourselves at the end of the first quarter of 2002, making a slow but encouraging recovery from the aftermath of the rand plunging to record lows against all major currencies, and the staggering increase in the cost of electronic components that ensued.
Electrocomp attributes growth over 2001 to our strong policy of holding stock for our customers, which enabled us to keep price increases to a minimum. The last 18 months have also witnessed a change in the electronic supply chain. OEMs have turned increasingly to contract manufacturers for their production, completely out-sourcing their manufacturing requirements.
Trends indicate that almost certainly the next move to combat rising costs will be to shift their production offshore. In order to accommodate these trends, distributors must adopt a new approach that dictates the way they go to market and the service/partnerships they are prepared to offer their customers.
In line with Electrocomp's policy to provide a 'complete supplier solution', we have added two new manufacturers to our already strong agency stable. The first is the STMicroelectronics range of products, via a value-added distribution agreement with Avnet Kopp. ST offers a very comprehensive range of components and has in recent times become one of the world's major suppliers of electronic products.
Electrocomp has also been appointed sole distributor for Integral Research and Production Corporation. Integral is a new name to the local market. Based in Belarus, one of the former Soviet republics, the company has ten manufacturing facilities with the main IC and semiconductor plants located in Minsk, the capital. The company's range consists of the following, standard logic (4000, 74AC, 74ACT, 74VHC, 74VHCT, 74HC, 74HCT, 74lV, 74LS and 74ALS), memories (NMOS dynamic RAM, CMOS static RAM and ROM), microcontrollers and peripherals, consumer electronics, standard analog (timers, comparators, op-amps, power electronics and voltage regulators), semi-custom (CMOS and biCMOS gate arrays). Discrete semiconductors include a wide range (BC, 2N,BD, BF, MPSA, MJE, TIP, IRF, IRL, BAV, BZX and BZV). The company offers both conventional and SMD packages. A delegation from Integral will soon be visiting Electrocomp to get a feel for the local component market.
As demand for components is on the increase once again, leading to an escalation in lead times, we are in no doubt that 2002 looks set to be a tough year for those in electronic component distribution. However, Electrocomp with its motto of 'maintaining distribution excellence' feels more than equal to this year's market challenges, and intends to maintain its position as one of the 'big five' in southern Africa.