We’ve come a long way, baby…
When it comes to technology and innovation, 33 years is quite a long time.
Over three decades ago, before IBM launched its first PC and Apple launched its first Macintosh, the early beginnings of Converge had already started to take root. In 1980, a company called New England Circuit Sale was founded. Later renamed NECX, the company developed a unique database system for tracking and pricing electronic components. A few years later, its first proprietary electronic parts tracking system was released, thereby establishing the company in the industry with the first centralized electronics exchange.
The purpose of the database system and electronics exchange was to more accurately track and fulfill demands in the marketplace that up until that time had been almost nonexistent.
When the legendary parts shortage of the early ’90s finally subsided, the organization set the stage for future growth by expanding globally into Sweden, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
In 2000, an independent organization founded by 16 leading high-tech OEMs, contract manufacturers, component manufacturers, and distributors acquired NECX and renamed the company Converge. In 2004, Converge shifted its focus to trade business and launched an IT asset disposition (ITAD) division and a reverse supply chain solutions group. Also at that time, the organization further expanded its global footprint, opening offices in France, China, and Stockholm.
Not surprisingly, in 2007, Converge received media recognition by being named the largest independent distributor of electronic components in a ranking of the 10 largest companies in the industry. In addition, Electronic Business magazine listed Converge as the top independent distributor of electronic components and supply chain services in its annual “Top 25 North American Electronic Component Distributors” rankings.
In 2010, Converge became a subsidiary of Arrow Electronics. The corollary divisions known as ITAD-IT asset disposition and ReSolve - reverse supply chain division were reorganized according to service function under Arrow offerings.
Today, Converge is an Arrow Company and still a leading global supply chain partner for technology-driven companies. With Arrow’s backing and over 33 years of market expertise in shortage solutions and surplus inventory management, coupled with a rigorous 100+ quality inspection process, Converge has not only helped organizations manage their supply chain but has also reduced risks where electronic components distribution is concerned.
So when we say “we’ve come a long way,” that is an understatement.
To learn more about Converge’s global presence, history or service offerings, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 5, 2013
We’ve come a long way, baby…
November 12, 2013
What is C-TPAT?
C-TPAT stands for the Customs — Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, which is a collaborative understanding between a business and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency that involves common security requirement standards for the importation of goods or products into the United States. Although it’s an entirely voluntary certification, there are certain requirements for eligibility that a company must meet:
- A business must have a staffed office in the U.S.
- A business must be an active U.S. importer or nonresident Canadian importer with a record ID (U.S. Social Security number, U.S. IRS ID(s), or CBP-assigned importer ID).
- A business must have a valid import bond that is continuous and registered with CBP.
What does it mean to be C-TPAT certified?
Being C-TPAT certified means that a business is willing to invest in the security and protection of its products and the import of its customers’ products. For that reason, most supply chain forwarders/shippers and major OEMs/CEMs won’t do business with an independent distributor that is not C-TPAT certified.
What are the benefits of being C-TPAT certified?
A C-TPAT certified member:
- Is less likely to be subject to customs inspections and is granted frontline privileges for ocean container imports
- Will be given priority in customs lines in the event of a national emergency and/or terrorist act
- Has access to additional training to improve security within its supply chain, which can lead to increased efficiency and cost savings
- Can continue long-standing relationships with CEMs, OEMs, and forwarders/shippers
- Is more highly regarded for reputation and brand equity when securing business
As we have mentioned in our previous blogs posts, Converge is in never-ending pursuit of the best quality and security for our customers.
For more information on our certifications or memberships, please contact us directly at email@example.com.
October 15, 2013
In the electronics component, industry shortages are often unpredictable and can happen for many different reasons. Most long-standing companies tend have a backup plan in place to address times of shortage. However, for companies without a plan for the inevitable, there are several factors to consider.
Shortages can arise if...
- There is a reduction in production due to increases in manufacturing costs, a material shortage or a downsizing of workforce.
- A new technology/component is introduced into the market, making the older versions either hard-to-find, end-of-life or obsolete.
- There are seasonal demands and/or inaccurate forecasting.
- A major OEM’s production line shuts down due to a natural disaster or unforeseen event.
- Manufacturers can try to procure components in the open market on their own through brokers or distributors, but this option can be extremely risky and costly.
- Manufacturers can also compile an approved vendor list should the primary source have long lead times or no product availability to fulfill their demand. However, dedicating internal resources to this process can be time-consuming and costly.
- Another option is to partner with a reputable independent distributor, like Converge, which has an established market intelligence network in place; reliable, trusted relationships with approved vendors in the open market; a team of expert commodity managers available 24/7; a global footprint; and a rigorous quality control and inspection process.
For more information on our shortage solutions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 30, 2013
In previous blog posts, we highlighted our regional offices in Shanghai, China, and Herzliya, Israel, covering Asia and the Middle East regions, but Converge’s migration to a global organization really began with our presence in Europe.
Converge’s regional office in Stockholm, Sweden, opened in 1998, not too long before our Amsterdam corporate office was established. Stockholm, located on the southeast coast of Sweden (Baltic Sea), is the most densely populated city in Sweden, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the country’s population.
Although Stockholm had its struggles early in its history, during the later part of the 19th century it slowly began to emerge as a more modern, ethnically diverse, and technologically advanced city. Now its culture is rich in art (galleries, theaters, and museums) and architecture as well as diverse in entertainment and cuisine.
Over the past few decades, Stockholm’s economy has managed to remain steady, with the majority of the workforce employed primarily in the service industry. However, within the past decade, the high-technology industry has actually accounted for the majority of jobs created. Companies such as Ericsson and IBM have established themselves in the IT center of Kista.
Converge, identifying a need in the electronic components supply chain and an opportunity in a growing economy and industry, was the first US-based independent distributor to break ground in Europe. Our Stockholm home office is responsible for handling Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. In addition, we handle the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. Currently, it is staffed with a business development team, experienced sales and purchasing Account Managers supporting the Nordics and Baltics regions as well as overall EMEA.
Converge provides quality parts and services not only to Stockholm’s leading Telecommunications market but also to the Home Energy, Computer and Peripherals, Industrial/Embedded, and Consumer Electronics verticals from any one of our regional or corporate offices. Being a consistent and reliable provider of quality electronic components during times of shortages or surplus is who we are, and having a presence on each continent is how we have maintained strong, long-standing relationships with our customers.
For more information on our Stockholm office, some of our other global locations, or the services we provide, please contact us at email@example.com.
August 22, 2013
In today’s blog, we would like to turn our attention to our regional office in Shanghai, China.
Shanghai, sometimes referred to as “Queen of the Orient” was just a fishing port decades ago. Today Shanghai is not only one of the largest cities in the world, but also the largest and most expensive city in the People’s Republic of China. With a population of over 23 million, this major city is located in the eastern part of China on the Yangtze River Delta and borders the East China Sea and Hangzhou Bay.
Unbeknown to some of our readers, Shanghai’s famous Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower has been featured in some highly acclaimed films such as Mission Impossible and the Fantastic Four. Also noteworthy is Shanghai’s Magley train; connecting the city to its airport, it is the world’s fastest train with the highest recorded speed of 431 kmph (279 mph).
But in addition to its colorful history and tourist allure, Shanghai is considered a major financial center, generating up to 20% of GDP for China, with industrial technology being its largest contributing market vertical. With all this opportunity and an exponentially growing economy, it is certainly understandable why Converge would locate an office in this thriving city.
In January of 2003 Converge officially opened its Shanghai regional office. The goal behind the additional China location is to further increase our presence and reach in such a developing marketplace. The Shanghai office manages all supply chain business that is primarily focused in East China. It currently employs a staff of 22, consisting of 11 account managers, 7 sourcing representatives, and 4 business support staff.
Similar to other Converge regional offices, Shanghai offers a full suite of services in shortage solutions such as procurement of end-of-life (EOL) and obsolete components, and surplus inventory management options, all backed by an industry-leading quality management and inspection process.
And no matter in what region of the world you may conduct business, the bottom line is that technology-driven companies will always need to partner with a reliable and reputable independent distributor that has the global reach to ensure product fulfillment.
To learn more about Converge’s global footprint or our regional office in Shanghai, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on another regional office, see our last blog highlighting Converge’s regional office in Herzliya, Israel.
August 13, 2013
Why are we so obsessed with “Quality”? One reason may be that we have quite a bit to say about it. But mainly it’s because we are proud of our commitment to excellence in all areas of quality.
In past blogs posts, we have focused on individual areas of quality and how they impact our business and the electronics industry. In this blog, we would like to take a step back and provide our readers with a retrospective of the quality process.
If we look at the big picture it’s fair to say that “Quality” is one of the most common buzzwords in the electronics components industry today. Any independent distributor, broker, or franchise distributor you talk to will within minutes bring up the topic to either boast about their quality achievements or discuss the challenges that may face them.
Quality is essentially engrained in every aspect of the business, whether it’s providing quality customer service or quality components, or even just in the quality processes. And quite frankly, there is no tolerance for inefficient processes.
So what are the reasons Converge’s quality is so recognized in the electronic components industry?
- Converge has a global commodity management team that utilizes their individual market expertise to provide insight on shortages, surplus inventory, and procurement opportunities in the marketplace.
- Our vendor management program, which is a strict vendor screening and management program, identifies, qualifies, and approves suppliers while monitoring their performance throughout every transaction.
- Our continually evolving multi-point quality inspection process now includes over 101 checkpoints.
- Our component quality engineers are trained and certified to the IDEA–ICE 3000 standard and recertified every 2 years.
- Our global facilities contain the latest testing equipment and technology, including baking ovens, XRF guns, X-ray/decapsulation machines, and an identification tool for CPU testing.
- We have also adopted and implemented the 5S (sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain) workplace organizational method to optimize workflow efficiency.
- And finally, our in-house reporting, monitoring, and annual customer satisfaction survey provides us with critical feedback on how we are performing and helps us identify areas for continual improvement.
For more information on Converge’s quality processes and procedures, please drop us a line at email@example.com.
July 23, 2013
When you think of a global operations team, you might envision a tactical military operations team preparing for a mission that includes various functions such as: strategizing, reporting, analyzing, researching, and/or observing.
At Converge, our Global Operations Team works in a very similar fashion, but in a business operations sense. Our Global Operations Team consists of three global leaders: Cannie Kok, Director of Commodities for APAC; Bobby Ireland, Director of Global Business Trade Operations; and Spence Huffstetler, Manager of NA Trade Operations. Each of them has a background and expertise that complement the team and provide operational diversity.
The Global Operations Team’s function is essentially to take a step back from the day-to-day electronic components sourcing and surplus management activities to measure the overall business objectives and establish specific goals for completion. By utilizing available tools to measure the current business objectives, the team is able to strategize on further market penetration and other growth opportunities. The team also ensures that the focus of the managers and directors is where it needs to be, relative to the market conditions.
The team is constantly monitoring and reporting on opportunities, sales, vertical penetration, and operational processes. One of its goals is to ensure that there are reliable procedures and consistent measurements in place to guarantee the integrity of the information being reported. Standardization of all business functions globally, across all our offices in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC, is the ultimate goal. The team’s reporting provides the regional managers and directors with real-time information to guide the account representatives, traders, and account executives in various aspects of the business.
By leveraging the strengths of and capturing ideas from other regions, the Global Operations Team can implement specific ideas to assist in growing the business. This encourages an ongoing and open line of communication between regions and within departments.
Some of the other areas the Global Operations Team specifically manages are:
- IT initiatives – reporting tools, updating and developing software
- Business metrics – reporting and tracking
- Training – education and reorientation of processes and procedures that may not be seen on a daily basis
- Vertical market penetration and opportunities
We are confident that having the Converge Global Operations Team in place will ensure Converge’s mainstay, reputation, and recognition for years to come.
For more information about Converge, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 2, 2013
Over the past several years Israel has become a lucrative marketplace for some major high-tech companies, especially those in the telecommunications, medical and military industries – and many of these companies have been longtime business partners of Converge.
Converge saw opportunity in the Middle East long before this migration began and has been building relationships in this region since before 2003, which is one of the reasons why in 2007 the decision was made to officially establish a regional office in Herzliya, Israel.
Herzliya (population of just over 80,000) is a city located along the beautiful northern coastline of the Tel Aviv District in the industrial sector, only a 15-minute drive from downtown Tel Aviv. Most recently the area near the marina has become an increasingly popular tourist attraction, with its pristine beach, vibrant nightlife, and a variety of restaurants and shops providing this small city with some economic benefit.
Converge’s Herzliya office is currently staffed with Middle East Regional Manager Oren Gadel and Account Managers Ziv Rosen and Israel Biton. Our Herzliya office is primarily responsible for business in Israel, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus.
Some readers might be wondering if conducting business in the Middle East is any different than in other regions.
There is still that one-to-one personal approach that is preferred primarily due to the country’s size and culture. In this small city/industry everyone pretty much knows everyone, so if a distributor has not established a good reputation like Converge has it might be faced with some difficulty securing business. Customers in this region are educated about the technology in the marketplace and therefore expect the highest level of quality parts and services the first time around. Second chances are not common in this highly competitive market.
Converge is able to offer the same quality parts and services from our Herzliya office as we do and always have worldwide across all our corporate and regional offices. This is due to our secure vendor base, quality processes and integrated systems, not to mention our extensive market knowledge. Specializing in surplus inventory solutions and end-of-life, hard-to-find, and obsolete components is what makes us “best in class.”
Converge has been a consistent provider of surplus management solutions and electronic components shortages year after year, regardless of market condition or region. For us, we know that getting it right the first time saves you, our customer, both time and money.
Before we conclude, there’s one last piece of technology history that may not be common knowledge and that we would like to share with our readers. Did you know that the technologies of flash memory (disk on key) and instant messaging actually originated in Israel?
For more information on our regional office in Israel and the services we provide in that region, contact us at email@example.com.
June 20, 2013
In a previous blog post, we discussed what it takes to provide services to some of the largest electronics industries. One of the larger industries we mentioned was telecommunications, which continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. This market is ever-changing and innovative, with consumers driving demand by insisting on better services and added features, especially in the mobile/tablets markets. As a result, technology innovators need to stay ahead of the demand curve and their competitors if they plan to stay in business.
If we take a look at the telecommunications industry, we see that it is typically viewed as being split up into two sectors: services and equipment. In 2012, according to several different industry research companies, revenue from the equipment sector (which refers to the manufacturers and technology innovators) reached close to $2 trillion, and the services sector (online platforms) revenue was supposedly just under $1.5 trillion.
Wow! That is certainly impressive.
However, this growing industry has had its growing pains along the way, no doubt. For example, in 2011, the overall global economic downturn – or, as many have called it, the “recession” – resulted in manufacturers having to slow down production and cut costs in order to protect their profit margins. This also had a trickle-down effect on the distributors supplying parts to these manufacturers.
This economic downturn turned consumers into smarter and more frugal shoppers. Retailers had no choice but to respond with more sales, rebates, and free introductory services/products to secure revenue and inventory.
Despite the economy, the demand for these electronics products (HD TVs, smartphones, and tablets) remained considerably high, although it certainly was not increasing at the exponential rates that we had seen in previous years. Consumers began to be much more cautious when deciding on whether to use disposable income for electronics products.
Global economic uncertainty is still prevalent, but Converge is no newcomer to the telecommunications industry or to the challenges faced by those in the supply chain.
Converge has been supplying components for the latest products for more than 30 years – meeting the demands of this evolving industry and manufacturers’ design requirements during the most critical times. We know that not having the right parts at the right time can be detrimental to manufacturers’ production and their bottom lines.
We specialize in procuring electronic components, whether they are hard-to-find, obsolete, last-time buys (LTBs), or end-of-life (EOL). We also provide surplus remarketing solutions, value-added services and deliver quality components guaranteed through our multi-point inspection process. No matter what your telecommunications and data communications needs include, you can depend on Converge.
For more information on the industries we provide solutions for, visit our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 28, 2013
Technology has come so far so fast it’s now hard to imagine any industry or product that does not have a need for some type of electronic component. Everything we seem to touch and utilize in our modern day contains some type of board, processor, chip, sensor or switch. With the ongoing advancement of technology, the need for suppliers/distributors becomes obvious.
Although some suppliers have established a reputation and have been around for decades, not all independent distributors are the same. Some specialize in certain components for specific industries, and others may supply parts only for a particular finished product. But no matter what type of component, product or industry they supply, all distributors have one thing in common; They all must procure their parts from manufacturers or vendors somewhere in the world.
Procurement of a part requires a company to have a reliable source — a vendor that has been vetted, approved and has established an ongoing relationship. That vendor must be depended upon to provide the highest-quality parts regardless of the industry or product.
And it doesn’t stop with having just one trusted and reliable source. A distributor with global reach in a supply chain is expected to have a variety of approved vendors across all industries. This provides customers with the best surplus remarketing solutions and with the most options for the timely fulfillment of parts, especially in a shortage market.
Managing a list of reliable and approved vendors across all major vertical markets is no easy task; a distributor should have some type of vendor management or quality control processes in place to maintain a database of approved vendors, monitor vendor performance and track orders.
Converge not only has the established global partnerships and standardized processes in place but we also have over three decades of market intelligence experience procuring components in industries such as Computers and Peripherals, Consumer Electronics, Home Energy, Industrial Automation/Embedded, and Telecommunications as well as some of the higher-reliability markets. These industries represent some of the fastest-growing segments of the electronics industry, with demand fluctuations that are most often dependent on existing market conditions.
For example, the Telecommunications market may have a history of high demand for network processors and modem chips, whereas the Computers and Peripherals market may have had a higher demand for CPUs and LCDs.
But no matter how the specific demand or requirement varies depending on the product, volume, end user or regulations, Converge understands that our customers need the latest parts quickly to continue meeting the challenges of these growing markets and evolving technology.
Regardless of the part or industry, we are the trusted sourcing partner you can depend on.
For more information on the industries we service and/or the components we supply, contact us.