September proved another sparkling month for UK distributors as billings grew 14% up compared with August and 13% up year on year. The only caveat is lengthening lead ties which will extend into the foreseeable future. By product group, semiconductors increased by 16%, Passives grew 12%, Electro-mechs rose by 8%, Component Assemblies increased by 21% and Other products were up 11%.
These figures from authorised distributor (afdec) members of the professional supply chain community the Electronic Component Supply Network (ecsn) confirm the Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI findings that manufacturers are continuing to experience solid growth in new orders, output and staffing levels.
September also saw overall Bookings (net sales entered) increase by 23% when compared to August ’17 and increasing by 23% on the same period last year, however the Sales by Month ‘three month moving average’ for all electronic components suggests a slowing of growth into Q4.
According to ecsn chairman Adam Fletcher the Book-to-Bill ratio in September ‘17 increased by 8 points to 1.04:1: “A recovery in the B2B ratio is always welcome but it needs to be sustained,” Fletcher said. “The B2B still appears weak given the underlying electronic components market conditions.”
“Extended manufacturer lead-times for electronic components are likely to continue, certainly throughout 2018 and probably beyond,” continued Fletcher. “UK customers must continue to increase their order cover for electronic components to match extending manufacturer lead-times in-line with this new reality. Failing to do so is – on the balance of probability – likely to lead to supply problems towards the end of the year and on into 2018. ecsn’s afdec members will continue to invest carefully in additional inventory to support their customers and provide a vital link in balancing the supply and demand needs in the UK electronic components market “, he concluded.