As the electronics industry begins to bounce back from the travails of the pandemic, Mouser Electronics has reported a record sales month in October.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in demand,” reports Mark Burr-Lonnon, Senior Vice President of Global Service, EMEA and Asia at Mouser. It’s in Asia as well as Europe and north America.”
This year has seen demand accelerate and slow at different times.
“In Q1 Asia was tough, in Europe and north America business was good, that was followed by a global slowdown,” said Burr-Lonnon. “Then business in Asia, post lockdown, started to go crazy, and now Europe and north America are coming back.”
“It’s not just the dollars,” he continued, “the number of customers is up 10%, the number of buyers is up 6% and overall out business is up 8% on last year. As we are seen as the distributor that takes new products to the market, those numbers make our suppliers happy too.”
New products make up 23% of Mouser’s total inventory.
“We will continue that focus,” confirms Burr-Lonnon. “Our policy is to stock wide not deep, we bring in new products from all our suppliers. That means we need bigger warehouses.”
That in turn has led Mouser to make heavy investments in its warehouse capacity to process orders efficiently and accurately.
Mouser employees operate 55 vertical lift modules (VLMs), the most at any company in all of North America. VLMs — essentially giant vertical filing cabinets, complete with shelves and an automated elevator — store tens of thousands of electronic components. The VLMs deliver the parts directly to the employee workstation, vastly increasing efficiency and floor space.
Several I-Pack machines — a sophisticated automated packing and boxing system that can process up to 14 orders a minute – have been installed.
The use of I-Pack delivers several operational advantages – reducing time, materials and ‘air’ waste (valuable space on trucks and aeroplanes), and also brings benefit in terms of sustainability. The automated process results in less bubble wrap usage, equating to the reduction of more than 1.5 million square feet of material each year.
“We can process an order in 15 minutes,” says Burr-Lonnon.
Neither have external logistics caused a problem. “FedEx, UPS, DHL have all been flying out of Dallas-Fort Worth airport normally,” explains Burr-Lonnon. “the only sticking points have been one or two local lockdowns in Europe.”
One of the constants over the past two years has been Mouser’s signing of suppliers, some known, some lesser known.
“It’s about the technology and filling any holes in our linecard,” adds Burr-Lonnon. “We have virtually all the big brands, except, maybe, AMD”
AMD’s recent acquisition of Xilinx which is already on the Mouser linecard may open a door there.
“Mergers and acquisitions usually offer an upside to us. We’ve been in the position of having the acquirer and the acquire, and it has worked out well.”
Filling the holes explains Mouser’s espousal of companies offering technologies new to the market.
Says Burr-Lonnon, “We have about 20 companies a day contacting us to talk about getting their products into Mouser. If we sign them, there is a small risk, but we owe it to engineers to bring them the latest technologies.”