UK distribution market is positive again

Adam Fletcher

Adam Fletcher

Component distribution market in the UK and Ireland will return to growth next year helped by positive figures coming out of the manufacturing sector, according to supply chain body the Electronic Component Supply Network (ecsn).

After a flat 2013, the component distribution market is forecast to grow between 3.5 and 7% in 2014, according to the ecsn figures.

But Adam Fletcher, chairman of the ecsn, warned that the UK market was still hugely dependent on changes within the global economy.

“If global economies all rise on a tide of economic recovery it will have a profound impact on availability in the global components supply network as manufacturers scramble to keep up with demand,” said Fletcher.

The positive nature of the ecsn figures is endorsed by UK-based manufacturers and suppliers.

“Next year we are looking at growth between 3% and 4%,” said Peter Hannon UK managing director of Harting.

“There is very strong design activity in the UK, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t see 4% growth in 2014,” said Bill Walker of Avnet Memec.

“Although recovery is patchy and generally slow, there are good signs,” said Graham Maggs, marketing director EMEA at Mouser.

“There is confidence in the market, we see avionics is very strong with 20% of the world’s avionics manufacturing being in the UK,” said Ben Green, technical and marketing communications manager at Harwin.

This year will close with a distribution market in the UK of £1.01bn. The UK’s total component market is estimated to be £2.63bn.

But book-to-bill ratio, a key business indicator for new business, is positive again, and lead-times are holding at four weeks or less.

The electronics sector will benefit from a pick up in manufacturing output following a weak start to 2013. While a jump in car production in the last few months is expected to feed through onto the supply chain next year.

“There is good business in the tier 2 contract manufacturing sector,” said Ben Green of Harwin.

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