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© lavitreiu dreamstime.com Business | September 11, 2014

Converge and SiliconExpert team up on obsolescence management

We are all looking to be successful, regardless of what part of the electronics industry we’re working in. To be successful, however, every journey has its own road.
Companies designing and building electronic products need a combination of services to keep their business running smoothly and achieve success. This includes everything from component supply partners, database management, supply assurance and counterfeit protection, all the way to distribution services, such as engineering and innovative financial support. The list can be quite extensive.

Another detail to keep in mind when striving for success is the need for accurate and timely information. Organisations need to juggle information about component needs and arrange for protection against any potential threats to the supply chain, such as component obsolescence, lead-time fluctuations, or counterfeiting. These provisions need to be in place throughout the product lifecycle not just when producing, from project initiation to end-of-life when the product is no longer supported.

In the middle of managing the supply chain sits Converge, an open-market distributor of electronic components and SiliconExpert, a provider of electronic component data and intelligence. Converge has been successful in developing a set of services to provide risk mitigation and protect customers against threats that can derail even the most sophisticated supply chain. As part of their model, Converge manages the inconsistencies of the supply chain so their customers can focus on what’s important. SiliconExpert provides visibility and control throughout the supply chain to users of electronic components, helping to remove wasted time and mitigate the risks associated with incomplete data. Converge and SiliconExpert are working together to provide an integrated, end-to-end approach to obsolescence management to the industry. Eric Checkoway, VP and GM of Converge and Phil Boucher, Global VP of Sales at SiliconExpert discuss the idea behind the offering.

How did you refine this idea, and how important is this service to the industry?

“We believe - and feedback from our customers consistently confirms to us - that this planned approach is an important and innovative service offering to the industry. We provide customers with an integrated solutions offering of data management, a full portfolio of franchised solutions, and the secure sourcing of obsolete and hard-to-find components. This end-to-end suite of services utilizing the services of SiliconExpert and Converge is unique in the marketplace and considerably reduces the time spent on managing the obsolete component question during a product’s lifecycle,” explains Eric Checkoway.

How many different variables do you offer with this service?

“This depends entirely on the customer requirements. Some customers choose to outsource the majority of their supply work to outside agencies, which removes enormous overheads from their organisation. Others prefer to work in stages, with data being handled in-house, manufacturing is contracted out and component supply is handled by distribution partners. There are so many variables in the marketplace, and across company business segments that effect how the services can be applied. Our customers are in the position to tailor and scale the size of the engagement to be as focused or as broad as their business dictates,” says Eric Checkoway.

Are you concerned that other companies will look at your business model and compete with you? How do you separate yourself from the competition?

“Competition is the lifeblood of any industry and we genuinely welcome it because it’s what keeps us improving and at the front of our industry. Other companies already offer similar services, however Converge is the only touch-point where customers can access all of these services, supply options, and tools in one single place. That’s already our competitive advantage – simplicity and consistency for the customer,” Eric Checkoway explains.

Within this service suite Converge is cooperating with SiliconExpert, how does that cooperation work practically?

“Generally speaking, customers’ needs don’t start when they’re trying to buy obsolete parts, and they don’t end when they put a finalized design into the marketplace. There’s a whole series of activities and challenges in between which we can help with in serious and practical ways. By co-operating transparently and meeting together with the customer, we’re able to suggest and implement methods to handle issues at both ends of the design process. SiliconExpert is able to provide market leading data to support design and sourcing, while Converge can physically source components, ensure the avoidance of counterfeit, ship on time, and provide a reliable, traceable service to all customers. SiliconExpert can then work to maintain the customers’ parts lists with PCN and EOL notifications to enable users to stay on top of their supply chain,” explains Phil Boucher.

What are the true benefits of combining data-related services and component purchasing and verification?

“One of the real benefits of combining these vital parts of a customer’s business is supply chain security. By working directly with Converge and SiliconExpert, users are able to leverage not only their internal experience and preferences, but also rely upon hundreds of data engineers within SiliconExpert, and a team of people worldwide with 30+ years’ experience in sourcing, supplying and verifying millions of components. To directly employ that sort of resource in-house would be impractical to do – trusting our organization and network has been shown to bring immediate, realistic improvements to any size of organization,” Eric Checkoway concludes.
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