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Maximizing quality-control procedures to help drive the European automotive industry and its innovations forward

The automotive industry has been experiencing ongoing supply chain challenges for the past year, and, with additional semiconductor manufacturing capacity just starting to ramp up, it is unlikely that the industry will feel relief for some time. As Smith’s President, EMEA, I oversee all trading activities in the region and support our teams to best serve customers with strategic supply chain procurement and service solutions. In this blog post, I will be discussing the growing trends in automotive procurement and how Smith’s quality-control program helps deliver customers the parts they need.

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While traditional semiconductor-sourcing methods like just-in-time (JIT) procurement programs serve their place during less unprecedented times, partnering with a trusted open-market distributor is a safety net that will provide vital adaptability in uncertain times and more flexible, beneficial options in calm ones.

As the imbalance between supply and demand carries on in the global electronic-component supply chain, Smith has grown our customer base by 44 percent worldwide over the previous year. Our teams in Europe have been supporting numerous regional tech giants, including automotive and healthcare manufacturers and their sub-suppliers, to contribute to the company’s overall growth. Many automotive companies, especially those in the electric vehicle space, are navigating the open market for the first time in search of crucial components.

At the onset of the global shortage situation, Smith started working directly with a large Swedish automotive and transportation manufacturer to help them secure enough parts to keep their production lines running. Since then, we’ve helped them procure over a million semiconductors –largely ICs –to put inside their product.

Smith requires automotive orders to go through a diligent procurement- and sourcing-documentation process to meet full traceability requirements from authorized suppliers. Product without full traceability undergoes in-house testing services at one of our global hubs, each with mirrored capabilities, to confirm authenticity across six different levels. The authenticity-testing process begins with a visual and x-ray inspection of packaging and product, followed by XRF analysis to ensure parts meet manufacturer specifications. More invasive processes, such as part marking, heated-solvent testing, and decapsulation/die analysis, are then carried out to further confirm parts’ authenticity.

Diligence, processes, and attention to detail are at the core of our business, which makes delivering quality components one of Smith’s most foundational business practices. Our operational framework is built on the 4Cs – comprehensiveness, consistency, continuousness, and certification – that underpin our role as the world’s leading independent distributor of electronic components customers can trust.

These four pillars of quality control help Smith offer optimal support to our customers in the automotive industry and their sub-suppliers as automotive innovations continue to grow smarter, more capable, and more connected. The demand for semiconductors in automotive applications is not going away, and we expect the automotive industry to still feel supply constraints as production of fabs worldwide is just now evolving.

Keep an eye out here on our blog and our LinkedIn page for more industry news, analysis, and insights.  

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