Electronic Component Distributor Solves Supply Chain Problems For Customers

The global coronavirus pandemic has had a disastrous impact on most businesses, but electronics distributor Smith has turned the crisis into an opportunity.

The 37-year-old Houston-based company, which sources, manages and distributes electronic components for businesses around the world, has done well in helping customers overcome supply chain disruptions associated with pandemic, said Smith, Americas President Todd Burke.

“Smith has never been so busy,” said Burke. “Whenever supply chains are disrupted, this is when Smith tends to be busiest, because that’s when our customers will come to us looking for parts, which otherwise would not be available in the normal supply chain. “

Smith was founded in 1984 by brothers Robert and Leland Ackerley, as an independent distributor to serve the rapidly growing market for semiconductors and other electronic components created by the personal computer industry.

“Being in Houston has provided local access to major players in the tech industry,” Burke said. Around the same time as Smith’s founding, two of the largest PC makers were just starting out in Texas, Compaq in Houston and Dell in Austin.

From its humble beginnings, Smith has grown into a global company, with 16 offices on three continents. Houston remains the company’s global headquarters, with a workforce of approximately 200 people.

Houston is also home to one of Smith’s three distribution centers, where the company receives and inspects products and takes certain components to test labs to ensure functionality and authenticity, Burke said.

Going forward, Burke said he expects Smith to continue to adapt his business model to accommodate the ever-changing nature of global electronic supply chains. Geopolitical tensions with China are leading some suppliers to move their manufacturing activities to Mexico, India or Vietnam, to avoid a “Made in China” label.

The surge in production of electric vehicles is expected to increase the demand for semiconductors and electronic components in the automotive industry. The continued deployment of 5G networks and the expansion of cloud technology and artificial intelligence are also expected to be great catalysts for electronic component markets in the future, he said.

“We absolutely need to stay on top of these industry trends and understand what is driving these moves,” said Burke. “It’s a big part of our business, of knowing the market and understanding the drivers of the market. “

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Richard V. Johnson