3 Major Trends For Electronics Supply Chains in 2021


While 2020 is a year that will stand out in history, global electronics supply chains will need to make history again in 2021 to bounce back from a year rife with challenges, but also one that lead to inspiring victories as engineers, designers, and procurement professionals did what they do best and innovated to assist shortages across the medtech industry.

Looking to the coming year, every decision will carry more weight and offer more potential impact. The acceleration of digital transformation is an undeniable trend, but how will companies evolve and change both internally and externally? A look at industry trends and expert predictions could give a window into the coming months.

3 Trend Predictions For 2021 From Industry Experts

The disruption of 2020 will undoubtedly lead to major shifts and changes in global supply chains. Things that have been held off or pushed aside are now at the forefront. Here are three predictions from industry experts that could signal these larger shifts in 2021:

Expanding Supply Resiliency Will Become a Major Focus

In his article on SourceToday, Michael Dehoyos brings up an excellent point about the need to diversify and expand supply chains in the wake of COVID-19. Working with a single source for materials can be a simple and cost-effective approach, but as we’ve seen, no country or region is immune to disruptions or delays.

Supply risk mitigation will be a topic of discussion long into the future, part of which involves identifying alternate sources of supply, and vetting new opportunities in the pursuit of greater resiliency in the face of current and future challenges.  We anticipate that the scope of risk assessment will expand to more dimensions than just multiple sources of supply, expanding into supplier financial health, geo-location specific risk event patterns, trade, and multi-tier supply lead times.

Broad Adoption of CX Platforms Will Occur in B2B Sales

According to Brad Ruzicka, Senior Director of Strategic Accounts at Supplyframe, the growing need for customer intelligence will drive forward the adoption of customer experience (CX) platforms in the electronics industry business-to-business (B2B) space in 2021. The focus for this adoption will be on platforms that provide a 360-degree view of customer intelligence for design engineers and procurement professionals, as well as empowering customers with more self-service, intelligent quote and order management capabilities.

While many distributors and component suppliers have invested in enhanced digital marketing capabilities like audience management and web analytics, the true goal of these efforts will be to pinpoint sources of demand and design cycles that can capture the entire “digital footprint” across syndicated web properties and account-based campaigns. Ultimately, those who innovate towards a real time understanding of the customer design cycle journey will be able to influence design and purchase decisions with tailored engagement, technical content, or value-added services further upstream in their engineering design process.

Automation and Prescriptive Analytics in Strategic Sourcing

Rob Aronow, Senior Director of Business Development at SupplyFrame, notes a priority-focus on digital transformation for companies as we leave 2020 behind. Many procurement and supply chain leaders had these efforts on their radar, but the events of the year have accelerated adoption of their roadmaps.

Specifically, he notes that the trends we’ll see in 2021 are an acceleration towards automation of strategic sourcing events that can increase productivity and reduce expense, along with new prescriptive analytics that enable commodity managers to become more proactive in their management of supply market volatility. Focus on these capabilities will directly impact how global manufacturers will manage successfully their supply chain and sourcing efforts in the coming year.

Much of the manual activity we still see has the potential to be automated, and while implementation will require both effort and time, Rob predicts that companies will feel the need to move quickly after the first quarter of 2021 as they seek to grow without adding back in expenses that were reduced in the prior year.

Closing Thoughts

In October of 2020, we introduced Design-to-Source Intelligence alongside a brand new suite of solutions powered by the ability to surface actionable insights across the largest network surfacing billions of supply, demand, risk and intent signals from the global electronics value chain. In 2021, Supplyframe will continue to provide an ecosystem-wide view of market activity that gives design engineers and procurement professionals a trusted and non-biased way to find the information they need to make informed decisions, ultimately allowing for greater agility, profitability, and competitive advantage.

We look forward to evolving and growing our capabilities in 2021, alongside our customers who are leveraging this new form of intelligence to navigate a highly complex year with minimal impact to the business. Learn more about Design-to-Source Intelligence at Supplyframe.com.

Bradley Ramsey
Bradley Ramsey
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