April 24, 2013

Converge Enhances Q-Trade with Pathfinder

If we stop and think about how many programs and systems companies utilize to conduct business on a daily basis, it would make sense that they should all be working collaboratively to provide the highest caliber of service to its customers.

Procuring electronic components and managing surplus inventory in the independent market are already involved enough without having to worry about whether the systems a company has in place are accurately and effectively working together to your benefit.

Unfortunately, smaller, independent distributors and brokers may consider this type of system a luxury rather than a necessity. However, larger established independents realize that in order to maintain a competitive advantage in the global marketplace any system implemented should be accessible online in real-time, fully integrated, and in most cases, global.

In a previous blog post, we introduced readers to our Consignment Visibility Tool, which is only one component of Converge’s robust data management and analysis system, Q-Trade. Q-Trade is a proprietary, globally integrated system that provides our sales team efficient and timely data to meet our customers’ demand and supply chain needs. Q-Trade, consisting of a Global Visibility System (GVS), Master Parts Reference (MPR), Converge AutoMatchTM, and a Consignment Visibility System (CVS), has now added the benefits of “Pathfinder” to its list.

Pathfinder is a tool that identifies the best transactional opportunities in the marketplace for our customers by expanding different data sources used to match the supply and demand of electronic components. It uses automated analytics that simplify and improve our sales process while helping to identify larger opportunities and additional cost savings, increase matching probability, and provide shortage solutions and surplus inventory mitigation for Converge’s customers.

Pathfinder essentially helps bridge any gaps to form better partnerships in the marketplace between suppliers and buyers through repeat business, shorter fulfillment times, more available supply, and increased visibility to stock in the marketplace.

Pathfinder provides Converge with a competitive advantage and increased transactional velocity with our customers, which is a definite win-win.

For more information on our globally integrated systems and the services we provide, visit our website or contact us at info@converge.com.

April 10, 2013

The Ins and Outs of Global Compliance and Logistics at Converge

Compliance and logistics are often said to be the backbone of an electronics distributor, especially one with an established global presence. Without these two important functions, companies buying and selling electronic components worldwide would be unable to fulfill demand and/or even compete for business.

But all companies exporting any kind of product are bound by and must comply with strict government regulations and compliance procedures. This requires not only experienced personnel and resources but also time to prepare/verify a product for export and ensure that it’s not being shipped to a sanctioned country or restricted party.

Some independent distributors, due to their size and limited capabilities, must outsource this function because it can be quite labor intensive and cumbersome to perform in-house.

However, Converge's global compliance and logistics teams are in-house, experienced personnel consisting of a Compliance Manager, Logistics Manager, Compliance Analysts, and Traffic Specialists. Our teams follow a stringent step-by-step compliance process for all electronic components imported and exported, which can begin even before the product is actually in the warehouse. This process can include:

  • Verifying that the sales order has a value
  • Screening customer/vendor accounts (ship to, bill to, and ultimate consignee) against restricted parties lists (RPLs)
  • Identifying product classifications—obtaining the harmonized tariff schedule (HTS), local tariff number, and export control classification number (ECCN) for all line items being exported
  • Confirming a license determination for each export transaction
  • Verifying end-use certificate is on file and obtaining it if it is not 
  • Following U.S. and in-country national export regulations and strategic goods control system when exporting from distribution hub outside the U.S.
The compliance process we have in place protects us and provides our customers with security while ensuring that each transaction goes smoothly without delays.

Once compliance has completed all the necessary steps, the order is released and cleared for processing through our logistics team, which must also follow a series of steps to prepare the product for shipment. These steps include:

  • Verifying all shipping documents, including SO/PO, method of shipping (carrier/freight forwarder), agreed delivery requirements and providing compliance information to the customs broker
  • Coordinating shipments with freight forwarders and negotiating competitive rates
  • Approving additional freight-related costs (typically handled by the Logistics Manager)
  • Logging shipments into the automated export system (AES) when applicable
  • Ensuring the proper packaging for utmost protection of the product
At the same time that our logistics team is preparing for shipment, our IDEA-certified Component Quality Engineers (CQEs) and Component Quality Specialists (CQSs) are following a quality management process whereby the product is put through a standardized multi-point inspection/shipping checklist, which can include up to 102 points, before leaving our possession.

Converge’s presence with global and regional hubs located in Peabody, MA (38K sq ft), Amsterdam (50K sq ft), Singapore (26K sq ft), and Hong Kong (7K sq ft) guarantees our customers efficient deliveries, local standardized inspections (regardless of where the product was procured from), and the highest packaging standards that go way beyond the minimum industry standards.

Our compliance, logistics, and quality/warehouse teams in each region are experienced, committed, and ready to fulfill any order. That’s the kind of assurance expected from an independent distributor and one of the reasons why customers keep partnering with us.

To learn more about our compliance and logistics services or global locations, please contact us at info@converge.com.