It is not enough to be able to design and make components – systems have to be in place to ensure that the parts are delivered just in time to the production line.
Broader and deeper inventory and custom supply chain solutions together with technical expertise have established TTI as the leading specialist in electronic component distribution. Globally, the company maintains 1.2 million cubic feet of dedicated warehouse space containing over 850,000 component part numbers. Along with its subsidiaries, Mouser Electronics and Sager Electronics, TTI employs more than 4,700 employees and is represented in over 100 locations throughout North America, Europe and Asia. TTI products include resistors, capacitors, connectors, discretes, potentiometers, trimmers, magnetic and circuit protection components, wire and cable, wire management, identification products, application tools, and electromechanical devices.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Glyn Dennehy, President, TTI, Inc., EMEA, what are some of the features of the company’s delivery systems.
Dennehy: TTI employs sophisticated inventory management systems to ensure that we meet customer delivery requests. For this to work smoothly it is important that we work in partnership with our customers, so we can get visibility of their needs. We also have a very collaborative relationship with all of our manufacturing supplier partners. With an open flow of communication we receive advance notice of any supply chain issues. Both customer and supplier communications are managed through electronic data exchange (EDI) and strategic account managers. We then apply various processes such as kanban, consignment stocking and auto-replenishment in combination with intelligent planning tools, depending on the needs of the individual customer. AI: What processes do you use for critical components?
Dennehy: Managing critical components is all about getting as much visibility of the customers’ requirements as early as possible. If we can share customers’ forecasts, say, 26 weeks in advance, we can put buffer stocks in place. Our relationships with our suppliers enables us to gain an accurate and advanced picture of the supply chain – including obsolescence issues and product change notifications. Our logistics system implements early warnings of possible shortages so we can secure extra stock. TTI’s policy has always been to stock broad and deep across our franchise lines. This is one factor that differentiates TTI from other distributors who are driven by their investors to keep inventory to a minimum.
AI: How well do your systems work?
Dennehy: Our on-time delivery rate to our customers is over 98.9%. In addition to systems and tools, TTI has put in place specialist market teams that have the specific sector knowledge, enabling us to focus on quality of service and support. We also ensure that we are qualified to the standards that are relevant to each sector and have processes in place to support customers’ needs. Our concept is not to be the biggest, but to be the best at what we do and to be the specialist in our market, thus increasing customer satisfaction and our value to the customer.
AI: What are some of the vital factors that needed to be factored in when supplying to the automotive industry?
Dennehy: We constantly work with our supplier partners to make sure we are fully aware of product trends and innovation. It’s vital for our customers to have access to the newest technologies so that they can keep driving their technical platforms to higher levels. This may be faster connectivity, smaller components with the same performance, specific levels of automotive specification, or market trends such as greater levels of sensor deployment or wireless connectivity.
AI: What are the main features of TTIs and Mouser Electronics go-to-market solution?
Dennehy: Our combined approach is to support the “Design Chain to the Supply Chain”. Mouser focuses on the development phase which they service using a very strong multi-media platform. TTI focuses on its local sales and technical support. Our sales teams provide technical know-how for applications solutions and service customer demand, whether it’s a logistics program using the customer’s forecast, or daily demand with short term deliveries. Both TTI and Mouser follow the same strong distribution ethics based around depth and breadth of product inventory and also best-in class global partnerships with suppliers so that jointly we can provide industry leading technologies first.
AI: What kinds of customer relationships does TTI enjoy?
Dennehy: We deal with Tier 1 automotive manufacturers right through the chain to the Tier 3 or 4 contract manufacturers. These relationships are Pan- European and often global by nature and focus on the needs of the customer. We maintain these ties by understanding the customers’ needs on all levels – be they engineering, logistics programs based on multiple manufacturing sites globally, specific programs with our supplier partner. Business is still done by people, and we pride ourselves on our supplier and customer relationships.
AI then asked Geoff Breed, VP, Marketing, TTI, EMEA, to what he attributes the multiple awards the company has been winning in Europe and the USA.
Breed: At TTI we take high levels of quality, service, support and the like extremely seriously, as that is what enables us to drive performance and develop strong relationships. For example, we were honored to accept TE Connectivity’s award for Global Distributor of Year for the fifth time out of the last six years. This is only possible because we are a true distribution partner that focuses on what we believe are the true strategies and ethics needed to be considered as a real specialist in this area: high levels of quality inventory; a focus on new technologies and the ability and desire to launch them into the markets; engineering support; and quality processes.
AI: What gives TTI an edge as distributor for the automotive industry?
Breed: There are multiple reasons why we have the ability to work in different markets, and specifically in the automotive sector. Firstly it is our people, their expertise and local availability. Having people locally in all countries around Europe with specific knowledge and support that are able to interface with different types of customers is a major advantage.
Secondly, it is our logistics. We work proactively with our customers to manage their forecast demands. We understand their needs and are able to get products to any location quickly. Thirdly, our specialist supplier linecard and products enable us to be able to work in different markets. Suppliers such as Delphi, TE, Molex, AVX, Vishay and Kemet all have specific requirements for the automotive market, and we have developed the expertise to support their needs now and into the future. Finally, we must mention our processes. We have specialist processes to handle issues such as Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) or obsolescence so that we can provide the type of service customers in the automotive market require.
AI: How different are the market segments you operate in terms of approach and strategy – especially the automotive and EV markets?
Breed: If we compare the automotive and defense sectors, for example, there can be similarities. Both need hi-spec parts that are subject to international qualification standards. Both the defense and automotive sectors also require strong support with processes such as full part traceability and country of origin data. However, these markets may also need very different products and series.
The EV market is very different. Certain products, for example connectors for charging, are very specific only for this market – and in that case products are designed to be incompatible with other manufacturers’ parts. Ultimately, all markets can have similarities and differences. Our challenge is to work with the customer on their end application, which could be anything from a satellite though to an EV charging station. So we must respond and offer a service appropriate to diverse needs.