Cutting Room: Brightpoint warning of global shortages

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Brightpoint chairman Robert Laikin’s claim the present industry dynamic is unlike at any other time in the past two decades is the clearest message yet of the crisis of supply

Manufacturers have tended to deny the stock shortages, to make good the appearance of their inventory management, although Nokia warned its channels in July that component shortages could be an issue, and Sony Ericsson suggested last month sales may be affected due to a lack of LCD screens and printed circuit boards.

There followed warnings from 20:20 Mobile and Data Select in the UK. But Brightpoint boss Robert Laikin’s message is starkest.

In his mind, it is a global issue, across all vendors, all operators and every market. And rising demand for smartphones has put trade stock at a premium, to the point certain pricepoints have crept up marginally since their devices’ releases.

It is the result of staggering consumer demand for smartphones, and the commonality of their components now with other consumer electronics equipment.

This issue with supply and demand should play into the hands of distributors, whose role it is to find efficiencies in the supply chain, and to field excess inventory and cater to shortage.

Of course, shortages of supply are just that. But smart distributors with the good contacts and channels should identify openings.

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