Accelerated Component Obsolescence Highlights Recycling of Supply Chain

Have you ever thought scavenging can support around 1% of the urban population in African, Asian, and Latin American cities? Do you know scavenging contributes nearly US $1 billion to economy in Mumbai, India a year in the recovery of materials and the manufacture of products? (See Global Recycling Supply Chains and Waste Picking in Developing Countries)


When asked the above questions, most people target the first reflection at recycling due to the shock caused by the hidden huge waste and contamination. In fact, with technology development and electronic products increasingly upgrading, governments worldwide has caught the importance of recycling of electronic supply chain, and they have issued legislations, such as EU mandates electronics manufacturers to take their used products back from customers (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment).

Recently, after Susan published The Supply Chain Must Embrace Recycling on EBN, the recycling of electronic supply chain stirs another wave. Among the comments, most people support the urgency of supply chain recycling for different reasons. In this article, I want to stress the challenge brought by accelerated component obsolescence to recycling of supply chain.

Driven by the technology development and increased user experience, electronic products is upgrading at an unprecedentedly fast speed. In 2000, 240,000 EOL notices were issued by suppliers; in 2005, the figure reached 1.6 million; and the future will see faster speed. But it is a fact the escalated parts are usually the key components, the application of new parts to enhance user experience and introducing new products to market undoubtedly would caused heavy waste on the old and outdated products. This case is especially prevalent in young consumers.

Owning the latest smartphone and Tablet PC has become the fashion icons among the young in today’s society. Increasing a new function or change, enlarging the screen size, longer battery life, slightly lower power consumption, etc all will brow a replacement wave. As for the obsolete products, I don’t know their fate, maybe thrown into the garget, or passed to relatively outdated parents. When in college, I have usually heard that someone displace 5 advanced phones during four years of college life. I entered college in 2008. For current university students, I foresee much more frequent replacement in mobile devices.

In addition to mobile devices, waste and urgency for recycling electronics also happens on home appliance. The price falling and government subsidy enables more home appliances available to customers, especially those in emerging markets. For instance, in 2009, China began the nationwide home-appliance-going-to-rural-regions subsidy activities. Removing subsidy, people only have to spend around 1000 yuan for one air conditioner or washing machine. So whether for those already have home appliance or not, they all get a new one. Can you image the waste?

And in the future, a large amount of old meters will also move to end due to large-scale usage of smart grid; other fields including automotive and medical are also phasing out products. Electronic supply chain must embrace recycling.

Although the technology progress and the resulting accelerated electronic component obsolescence are the murder, this phenomenon is inevitable and necessary for the moving-forward society. But as the old saying goes “Every thing has two sides”, the serious waste and pollution is the other side. Achieving recycling of electronic supply chain is what can should and must do. Component obsolescence highlights the urgency of recycling electronic products.






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Not Me Cruel But you Unreliable

“Please don not be so impatient, we are just doing an activity, a free activity to add scores.” This is the word a salon attendant said to me when I was going shopping in Shenzhen Dongmen.

When I heard the complaint tone, tell the truth, I really felt me a little cruel and sorry, but I finally ignored them, even picked up my pace, leaving the hard workers behind just liking some disgusting flies. Maybe you disagreed with what I done, but please listen to my reason:

Just a year ago, I encountered a similar occasion. Different, the actor was not salon, but cosmetics salesman. He also said to my friends and me: his company was doing a free activity; just a visit to his company, we can get a gift even do not buy anything. But after a series of try, free invitations and confused suggestions, I was cheated of hundreds of yuan.

In addition to me, when I was still in college, my classmate also became a lamb in the mouth of wolf. The kind mother-like middle-age women asked my friends to have a free attempt of their products to help them do an experiment. When my friends came out from the wolf den, several hundred yuan flied away from her wallet.

Am I cold? No, too many experiences have run out of our rich sympathy and helpful spirit. It is your unreliability that should be blamed. Of course, we should not be bargain loving, or easily trust others.

I do not know whether I will remember the cheat for my whole life, but currently, I found my previously behavior habit is gradually changing and allows no fault. A month ago, I gave a bad comment on the problematic skirt I bought online. Later a seller called me to forgive their fault and change the comment; I did not accept their apology. In my eyes, they are unreliable: one more chance means one more victim.

Surging of e-commerce sales is good and exciting news. But if you want to stand at the top, please pose stick requirements for you reliable supply chain. I can be certain to tell you, I am not the only one who fuss cheat and dropping in my consumption.

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Too Many Products but No Choice

Don’t feel puzzle when you see the title.

Although on the basis of common sense, among numerous products, we can experience a lot of comparisons in price, quality, function… my one day shopping but getting no achievement really tells me too many products is a predict of no choice and time waste. In fact, not only me, I found many others also empty in hands.


The left picture is a famous distribution center in Shenzhen, called Shenzhen Dongmen Pedestrian Street. Do you see mountains and seas of people? They all went there for the cheap clothes, shoes, ornaments and other products. You may ask how cheap? A simple example: a non-brand 50-yuan T shirt in a mall worth at most 25 yuan, even 15 yuan in Dongmen (And the quality is near).

After one precious day (I can go to climb, beach, get together with my friends, or just read books if I did not go there), I bought nothing just like the first two visits last year. To accompany my friend, I stepped the same know-ending road. When I came back, such thoughts began to haunting me:

For today’s smartphpne and other prevailing products, the Dongmen phenomena can also be seen. Driven by the smartphone replacing feature phone trend, increasingly more manufacturers are flocking into this market, hoping to get a piece of market. However, to tell the truth, when brand manufacturers feel pressure, are you really confident of your decisions?


I think most participants hold “try idea”. Just as I noted my non-achievement experience, with assortment of smartphones entering customers’ eyes and new models are shortening time to market, more comparisons brings harder choice to customers. The final ending would be two aspects: choosing brand or lower price (after all electronic products are worthy of dozens of dollars at least).

In terms of brands, you can’t compete with iPhone, Samsung; from price, Xiaomi, which provide products with low price but high components equipment, is a rival. Of course, you can gradually build your own brands if you have enough cash. Otherwise, why waste your supply chain in the thorns-rich road? It is reported that many white-box handsets manufacturers in Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen go bankruptcy, due to the fierce competition. Pitiful: there are still new participants.

Supply chain is undoubtedly becoming complex and faster. To survive, what really need is right reflection and prediction of market trends but not venture. Withdraw from the mud, and put your supply chain in finding new business opportunities, you may be the next Qualcomm (that quickly and early smell the prospect of mobile devices) tomorrow.

The future supply chain will be cheaper, smaller, faster and local. Have your  recognized the possible change?

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Portable Medical Devices is Taking Off

portable medical device“If I get sick, come back immediately”, this is the frequent world and requirement my 80-year-old grandmother said to me before I returned to my working place-Shenzhen (My hometown is Jiangxi, China). When hearing this kind of so-called last word, I feel very sad and worried on one hand; but more hope that my all old relatives are now equipped with portable medical devices to reduce the sudden illness or death.

Despite the world getting closer and multi-regional or international activities becoming increasingly frequent, have you been required by your families to get marry with a native, or find a local job? Have you seen such scene: a father shouting at his daughter for her remote marriage? Maybe this never happens in western countries, but is a common fact in at least China. The strong worry about their body condition at the old age and the reduced gathering caused by distance contributes great to all opposition.

Whether from the above information or on the basis of increasingly population aging as well as the limited medical resources (including healthcare workers, medical equipment, hospitals0, we can get one conclusion: portable medical devices are in urgent need, which foresees the rosy prospect.

According to a report from MarketsandMarkets, portable medical devices, such as heartbeat monitor, blood pressure measurer, is going to usher in its explosion with revenue by 2018 reaching $20 billion and CAGR coming to double-digit.

The rapid penetration of smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices, along with the growing demand for connectivity among all these devices adds fuel to the bright future of portable medical devices. Do you still feel doubtful for a smartphone for each one? The sharp price cutting has sentenced the doubt into death. What’s more, it generates the prosperity of mobile health.

In addition to mobile health, related semiconductor components including memory, displays, processors, sensors, PMIC, display driver IC and connectivity IC will gain steam as well.

However, there are challenges facing manufacturers. Just due to the specialty, medical devices pose high requirements for technology, security, integration, equipment size. Overall, two pointes: innovation and emerging markets (especially China).

Look forward to the portable medical devices rich world.

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Prepare Strong Supply Chain for Emerging Markets

emerging market

It is not a secret that there is robust market potential in emerging markets. From medical devices to mobile health, from PC to feature phone, smartphone and tablets, along with LED products, emerging markets, including China, India, Russia, Africa and South America, abound opportunities. It can be said emerging markets will be the primary business growth area for the next century.

Take Chinese medical device market as an example, due to the large population base, the accelerated population aging as well as the poor medical resource, Chinese medical device market is projected to replace Japan as the world’s second largest market in five to seven years, representing 25% of the world market by 2050 and achieving trillion in revenue. (see Landscape and Opportunities in China’s Medical Device Market)

However, despite the market prospect, there are great challenges for supply chain. Mike Burkett, research vice president at Gartner said “Emerging markets present huge opportunities but come with unique characteristics and challenges due to the constant thrust for business growth, volatile demand and low maturity of supply chain processes.”

According to a survey by Gartner, 35% respondents think the most-cited supply chain challenge in emerging markets is handling changing rules, including regulatory or tax requirements, followed by building local talent or teams and adapting supply chains to local market needs.

As we know, demand in emerging markets is often highly fragmented; the infrastructure to support physical product and information flows is unreliable; poor transit systems hinder transportation; limited technology makes communication difficult, along with inconsistent supply chain capacities and frequent political and regulatory instability, all this factors make long-term supply chain investment and partnering strategies a risky task.

What’s more, the lack of nonmaterial resources, including talent shortages and retention, poses larger challenge for supply chain. Image, if establishing a simple PC retail, the basic maintenance man and programmer are necessary, not to mention other projects. But the poor education situation can not keep pace with the talent requirement. Different local culture adds fuel to the difficult situation.

With existing developed markets growing saturating, less-developed emerging markets is the inevitable choice for global business. But the problem is: Have you prepared strong supply chain for the opportunities in emerging markets?

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Two-Leg Strategy for Supply Chain

To streamline the cumbersome purchasing link and reducing trouble of long line-up, purchasing ticket via Internet comes into being. But if problems happen on the computer, not only trouble but various loss including money and time, schedule disruption will be seen. Two-leg strategy should penetrate far and everywhere.


Yesterday is the ending of my seven-day holiday. I planed to return work place by the train at 12:07 am. But accidents always catch my flatfooted: when I finally came to the train station at 12:00 am, I could not get my ticket from the computer because of fault. I saw a long line waiting impatiently, but the machine maintained the red barcode and showing a phrase “Please wait, internet is checking your ID”. “Choo-choo”… “Tick, the train drove away and I was left. More tragically, I can not get back my money, so I have to pay more than 100 RMB for another train ticket.

Accident can not be avoided, but why there is not a two-leg strategy (a popular strategy during China’s Great Leap Forward period and it poses requirements for at least two sides of development). If there is a special window for ticket handling timely caused by computer fault, the ticket hall will not be filled with so much complaint.

With worldwide supply chain getting closer and more globalized, a wrong link usually means the turmoil of the entire process. This can be proven from Thailand Flood and Japanese Earthquake. Just due to the huge impact, many companies and electronic industry sources begin to consider more preparation from natural disasters. However, what’s more preparation? Where should start from? How about two-leg strategy?

In fact, from another perspective, two-leg strategy refers to multiple preparations and the initial prevention of accident for supply chain. Everything may experience accident, so the posterior and necessary pre-solution is important. I bet the company available to two-leg strategy serves better to customers. Do you think so?

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Five Conditions to Excellent Mobile Charger

Choosing right and safe charger plays an important role for cellphone users. With cellphone entering 3G era, and showing more functionality and larger screen, charging time of our phones significantly shortens, from a week to a day, which poses high requirement for good-quality mobile charger. A variety of charger explosion or burning cases even put the safe charger on stage. Then how to choose the best one?

mobile charger

First: safety (batteries, circuit boards)

It can be said, safety is the most important factor. Usually, customers know the importance but not pay attention to it, because frequent explosive accidents are just on report, so doubt always exists. But if accidents come in front of us, concerns would be too late.

What should consider of the safety of charger? Often, the safety of mobile charger mainly relies on battery and protection board technology. Comparing with ordinary lithium batteries, lithium polymer batteries are safer and better. In terms of accidents, ordinary lithium batteries can cause explosion and self-ignition; but lithium polymer batteries see tympanites and change at most; in addition, the latter is two times longer that the former in service time.

On the circuit board side, lithium polymer battery of a good brand often has seven-level protection.

Second; cost-effectiveness ((capacity, batteries, packaging materials)

When purchasing anything, consumers would first take cost performance into account. Of course, products high-quality and inexpensive are appealing to everyone; but cheap price often blinds consumer eyes, which breeds counterfeit product and safety risk.

How to find the right cost-effectiveness? Test capacity. 10000 mAh mobile chargers with battery conversion rate at 90% support more than four times of charging 2000 mAh cellphone battery; but the ordinary one with 70% battery conversion rate reach over three times.

And good mobile charger with imported battery can be charged for over 500 times; but ordinary brands for only 300 or less times. Most important, consumers should focus more on quality but not price when do not know the cost performance. Everyone has one life but can get access to thousands of chargers.

Third: Appearance (design, weight and size)

Although mobile chargers are function-focused products; but the shortened battery service time requires us to bring them when going out, especially staying at other places. So a beautiful, personalized and lightweight charger is catchier.

Fourth: manufacturer competitiveness

This aspect also refers to brand. Just because of the brand effect, large manufacturers are reliable in quality. They do not jerry-build for petty and damage their reputation. KINI, Philips, Scud are such manufacturers.

Fifth: market reputation

The prosperity of e-commerce platform brings us a lot of convenience to see comment about one product. Despite some fake part, most comments on the platform are based on the use experience. So have a reference before choose one charger.

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