Partnering to Win in the Digital Ecosystem

| February 4, 2016 | 0 Comments

Digital_Ecosystem_Icon-DJ-04 (300x288)The electronics supply chain, particularly within the purchasing and components fulfillment environment, requires partnering with other players in the system. A company’s success today depends not just on what it can do and what it can make; it rests on the partners it is allied with. One critical question companies must ask of themselves is: do we have the right partners to solve the growing complexity of customers’ demands and will they be with us for the long haul?

The research coming from various analysts, in addition to economists, underscore that real changes are happening in the economic and business structures. These structures, in turn, inform how supply chains and business relationships are shaped to respond to market and demand shifts. As markets and demands shift, it is not just products and components that are altered; how business is conducted also undergoes metamorphosis. The number of M&A and consolidations that the industry has seen over the past year point to these larger shifts happening across supply chains and industries.

No longer is competitive business success rooted in the best product nor pricing. With more sophisticated and complex demands on companies from customers, and with differences across component options becoming more sophisticated, the rising critical differentiator is the ecosystem of partners. Partners who can ensure quality, traceability, flow-down records, and visibility are a necessity to compete today. Anti-counterfeiting measures and keen awareness of the importance of traceability has risen; the flip side of this important quality demand and expectation is the requirement on suppliers/distributors to have leading edge IT (digital) platforms that seamlessly connect with partners and enable automated (or semi-automated) ordering, tracking, and related business processes.

The growing maturity of digital business today and the slow but steady rise of IoE/Industry 2.0 (aka, The Fourth Industrial Revolution) entails increased automation of business operations and flagging when processes have the potential to be disrupted. The IT burden on the supplier is heavy and those in the best position to provide the level of sophisticated, secure, and agile partnerships are those companies with these b2b platforms already in place and backed by 100 percent warrantied and traceable part sourcing, such as

While a more diverse yet integrated partner ecosystem is becoming more normative, the IT and data security stakes are higher as we move steadily forward with IoE implementations. No longer are businesses only considering the security of intranet systems and circumscribed extranet b2b connections, but the more federated partner ecosystems and the wider and more diverse data sharing to enable automated/digital business interactions and business analytics. This, in turn leads to new, more complex IT security risks. Having a partner who is well versed and with strong roots in this emerging type of b2b digital business on a global level is truly a sign of market differentiation and leadership.

Business and supply chain partners today are facing growing challenges in a volatile global economy. Simultaneously, demands from their clients and from end-consumers are for increasingly complex solutions and devices that are not solved in-house alone. Partnerships have and will continue to take on a growing role as across the board business and social practices become more collaborative and the sharing economy grows.

Product strength and quality is mandatory, it is no longer the differentiator, nor is global reach – that is mundane now. The strategic relationships and unique services and solutions built upon these base requirements is a critical element in choosing supply chain partners.

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Category: Smart Purchasing

About the Author ()

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D., Contributor Lisa comes to EPS with a diverse background that includes 10 years of hands-on experience in IT as well as in semiconductor and electronics distribution. The majority of that time, Lisa spent in the role of Senior Market Analyst and Senior Contributor at a leading, independent distributor of semiconductor and electronics. Prior to that tenure, she was a professor of linguistic anthropology, engaged in social science research, modeling, and analysis. The skills of observing and explaining complex social patterns adds a rich framework in which to indentify and to understand the range variables that constantly affect today’s globalized marketplace. Lisa’s admixture of experiences brings a fresh eye and a contextualized understanding of the global semiconductor and electronics supply chain. Lisa’s market analyses provides readers with unique views spanning micro- to macro-level industry events, synthesized insights bridging business and economics, as well as connecting the dots between upstream to downstream industry events that affect and inform distribution strategies. Lisa has a Ph.D. and A.M. in Linguistics from The University of Chicago, during which time she was awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant. She holds a B.A. from Hofstra University, where she was Hofstra's first woman undergraduate to be awarded a Fulbright-Hayes Grant for independent research prior to attending graduate school. Lisa is currently consulting and freelance writing and can be reached at

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