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94 SMT Magazine • August 2015 by Stephan Halper SECurE CoMPonEnTS 50 SHADES OF THE GREY MARkET Supply Chain Risk Mitigation Applications for the Grey Market Column What is an Independent Distributor? Independent distribution (ID) makes the world go round. Can't find that IC that went obsolete in 1987, an independent distributor can—it's what we are built for. Do you need 20 pieces of a part that is still in production, but not available from your authorized distributor? Call me—I'm a broker; I can find it for you. Wait a minute; are brokers the same as independent distributors? Aren't brokers the reason there are counterfeit components in the supply chain? Do you want to see my line card so you can understand my capabilities? OK, then just type this into your Google search bar: everything. Here is a message on behalf of the indepen- dent distribution industry to anyone involved in supply chain management, whether you are from industry or part of the federal supply chain: It's 2015, and it's time that your supply chain became educated on how to effectively incorporate the benefits that independent dis- tributors and brokers can offer your supply chain, while reducing your risk. It's time that the word "broker" be reevaluated. If your sup- ply chain still looks down on brokers or inde- pendent distributors, your supply chain is likely missing opportunities to reduce liability and cost, and increase readiness. Not convinced? I realize that many readers will disagree with that last statement, which is why I have agreed to write this column. My purpose is to demonstrate each month the com- mon misconceptions that the supply chain has regarding independent distributors and brokers. Rest assured, I will surely include some the hor- ror stories many of you are mumbling under your breath. But I would ask for you to read along, and I would challenge you to open your mind and consider the value that a quality, fo- cused, certified broker or independent distribu- tor can bring, in terms of reducing the risks of introducing a counterfeit component into your supply chain. So what exactly is the difference between brokers and independent distributors anyway? An independent distributor may (but not al- ways) carry stock. Brokers are generally not in the stocking business, they are the modeled for

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