Happy Holidays. With winter fast approaching and the year winding down, it's time to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to 2005.
It's been a good year for the electronics industry compared with what came before. It began with strong growth and, while activity has slowed, the net result has been positive. As for 2005, a persistent component inventory buildup in some sectors is worrisome, and projections of a slowdown have prompted many companies to review budgets. But when considered in the grand scheme of things, it's not so cataclysmic. It's the business cycle, and opportunities are out there for smart companies to seize.
Capitalizing on them requires insight. We launched Electronics Supply & Manufacturing in April to provide insight-in supply chain and design chain management, in manufacturing and supply base issues, and in business coverage. In September, we held the third annual Supply Network Conference, arguably the best conference we've held to date. In ESM and on the conference podium, we explore best practices and new business models. We cover the global challenges and provide analysis ahead of the curve.
The December issue is no exception. The page 26 cover story by senior editor Crista Souza on tracking component design wins-together with a real-life example on page 34 by contributing editor Jennifer Baljko-addresses one of the most serious issues facing suppliers and their distribution partners: If they can't track a design win, they don't get paid. By association, this is a problem for OEMs and EMS providers with a vested interest in maintaining a healthy supply chain ecosystem.
The profile on World Peace Group on page 38 by contributing editor Drew Wilson offers insight into the changing landscape of distribution. If you don't deal with the $1.6 billion Taiwanese component distributor already, you may do so soon, if CEO Michael Chang has anything to do with it.
In 2005, we'll offer expanded coverage of environmental issues, as regulatory compliance deadlines loom in Europe and elsewhere. We will bolster coverage of Asia, in particular China and India, with profiles of the companies and people reshaping the industry. And we will report on best practices in evolving business models, such as lean supply chains, and on technologies like RFID, to help you with your own business strategies.
But perhaps the most important theme will be a quarterly look at the changing role of the OEM. Stay tuned.