Monday, 25 November 2013

Investing in Inventory is Not the Liability it Once Was

In a recent article in the CIE magazine, Adam Fletcher, chairman of Afdec and ECSN, talks about how the opinion on investing in inventory needs to be rethought as it's not the liability it once was.

It's a well known fact that excess inventory is a financial drain on any business. What's not as well known is that moving inventory (turning stock or consumed materials), is a real business asset for the electronic component supply network industries.

Commonly, manufacturers' inventory is measured as being below, on, above or grossly above target levels based on forecasting, results which purchasing departments then need to answer for. The disaster scenario is a 'stock-out' (no inventory) situation, generally caused by unforeseeable technical or supply problems or an unusual increase in demand. 'stock-out' situations have a knock on effect on sales targets and leaves managers wanting to know what went wrong and how quickly it will be removed.

Just-in-time, lean manufacturing is used in an effort to hold inventory in the range between 'below' and 'on' target levels. This approach works best when forecasting is accurate and stable and component lead times are low to stable. 

For the last decade lead times for a wide range of electronic components have been low, typically under two weeks, but this has not always been the case. In 2011, when a natural disaster occurred, lead times rapidly increased from 6, to 12 and then to 16 weeks and remained at that level for several months.

During this time, companies reliant on lean manufacturing had to reduce their output in line with availability and faced a huge loss in revenue. Some even had to temporarily close down plants altogether.

Fletcher goes on to explain that authorised distributors support over 95% of electronic component requirements. One of the important but little recognised roles of a distributor is to aggregate multiple customer demand and put the necessary inventory in place to effectively buffer the customer from lead time fluctuations.

Cyclops Electronics, an independent stocking distributor also offers a free Scheduling Service which gives you complete piece of mind, improved productivity and cost savings.

To read about all the benefits of our Scheduling Service, please visit our website.

Or alternatively, give us a call on +44(0) 1904 415 415 to talk through the options we offer.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Face Ever-Increasing Challenges

In a recent article, SGS report that we are on the 'tip of an environmental iceberg' when it comes to implementing processes to effectively manage the collection, risk assessment, and quality assessment of material data across the supply chain.

Electrical and electronics manufacturers around the world are facing an ever increasing demand to be held accountable for every molecule of material contained in their products which may impact the health of the environment, consumers and individuals responsible for manufacturing, recovery, recycling and disposal of end of life products. 

The Challenges faced by electrical and electronics suppliers and product manufacturers today include:
  • An ever increasing growth of global regulations: Back in 2002, there were about  25 regulations for substance restrictions globally, compared to around 200 presently in 2013. The products in scope of the regulations have also grown due to the impact of legislation such as RoHS and REACH.
  • The complexity and volume of material identification and reporting: Materials and substances need to be identified and the data stored and be accessible to the company as well as consumers.
Steps To Help Overcome These Challenges

If you are a supplier of materials, you will need to identify and report the chemical composition of your supplied materials to the capacitor manufacturer. 

If you are the manufacturer you must obtain material composition disclosure information from your suppliers to pass on to your customers. If your material supplier cannot or will not provide the information you will need to take further actions such as removing the supplier from your Approved Manufacturers List (AML) or if that is not possible, having the material analysed by an accredited materials testing laboratory.

If you are an original equipment manufacturer you will need to have a system in place to store, manage and make available, the data you received from your suppliers, and linked to your product bill of material. These data records, in the case of RoHS II would become part of your Technical Documentation File for your product and must be kept on file for ten years and made available to an EU member state enforcement officer when requested.

To read this article in full, please visit the SGS website, or alternatively visit the Cyclops Electronics website to learn more about RoHS and REACH regulations. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Join Us In Donating To The Philippines Typhoon Appeal

Millions of people have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines on 8th November 2013. 

Typhoon Haiyan was 300 miles across and was the strongest tropical storm to ever make landfall. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost everything and are in urgent need of emergency shelter, food and clean water.
Photo courtesy of DEC
The Disaster Emergency Committee’s (DEC) Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said “The public’s reaction to the sheer devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan has been quite simply remarkable. We are so grateful for the huge volume of donations, which are vital to fund the work done by our member agencies’ emergency teams.”

Cyclops Electronics will be holding a dress down day on Friday 29th November in aid of the Philippines Typhoon Appeal. All proceeds raised for the appeal are being used to deliver food, water, household items and tarpaulins to those affected by the typhoon. 

If you would like to make a donation please visit the DEC website and click on the red 'donate now' button.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Hazardous Chemicals Now Banned in Medical Devices

On October 22nd 2013, the European Parliament voted in favour of the European Commission's proposed ban on the use of hazardous chemicals in medical devices.

The ban applies to chemicals that are CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic to reproduction) and EDCs (endocrine disrupting chemicals) that are contained in medical devices that come into contact with the body of patients or are used to administer, transport or store medicines, body fluids or other substances, including gases in concentrations above 0.1% by weight.

The use of CMR and EDC in devices used to treat children or pregnant/nursing women, should be phased out within 8 years of the regulation going into force. That is, unless the manufacturer can prove there is no suitable or safer alternative to a device containing these substances.

As well as this new proposal, there are many other laws relating to hazardous substances for medical devices, please see an overview in the table below. 

Please visit the SGS website to read the article in full or find out more about medical device non-chemical EU-laws.