Engineers have reached a sense of optimism around acute issues such as the shortages of available components caused by supply chain disruptions, but the long term outlook remains uncertain as they plan for 2024, according to an industry survey from Avnet, a global electronic components distributor based in Arizona.
The firm’s third annual “Avnet Insights” survey found that despite feeling better about availability, engineers are reevaluating how they approach the supply chain following the disruptions of the past few years.
When it comes to supply chain tactics utilized to navigate lack of component availability, the top three tactics for 2023 respondents were: seeking alternative sources for parts (32%), increasing buffer inventory (19%), and increasing the timetable of demand forecasts (17%).
That shows a shift from the 2022 survey, when “seeking alternative sources” remained the top solution, but the second go-to tactic was to go beyond the current approved manufacturer list. The decrease in those going “off list” in favor of adapting inventory or forecasts suggests engineers are now looking for longer-term solutions to navigate disruption, Avnet said.
Further, distributor relationships are proving of greater importance. While last year, improving relationships with distributors came in as the third most popular supply chain strategy for managing the chip shortage, the 2023 survey placed it at number one.
“Our third annual Avnet Insights survey underscored that while many may be feeling more positively about getting access to the necessary components, there is a trepidation about the future. As such, many are looking at what they can do to set themselves up for greater success,” Rebeca Obregon-Jimenez, Avnet’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Engagements and Supplier Management, said in a release. “One thing has become certain, and that is the desire to implement long-term strategies that will help ease the impact of any unforeseen disruptions and ensure flexibility in both sourcing and design.”
Other takeaways from the 2023 survey showed that:
The Avnet Insights survey was conducted in September among 316 global respondents based in the Americas, EMEA, Asia, and Japan.