Fields of expertise and projects at the FBDi
Numerous topics affect all companies in the electronics industry. Regular exchanges between member companies within the association have contributed to a wealth of shared expertise since the foundation of the association.
Today, the FBDi offers its members a valuable competitive edge in areas ranging from environmental topics, logistics, product liability, to employee training or trade compliance.
The environmental topics in the electronics industry affect all distributors equally. An electronic product can only be circulated and operated in the EU if it complies with all EU directives that apply to the product – irrespective of the vertical market. This relates to the constituents of the products, as regulated by REACH and RoHS, waste disposal provisions of WEEE or physical characteristics such as electromagnetic compatibility or the low voltage directive.
This is where the FBDi association provides critical support based on the constructive exchange of information between all members.
Many of the regulations of relevance to transportation affect all distributors. For this reason, the logistics providers among the member companies meet several times annually. They decide on topics for discussion, hold expert lectures on developments, trends and solutions in the logistics sector. Some topics that are relevant to logistics arise from environmental and safety regulations. One example relates to the rules governing the transport of lithium batteries. Customs legislation and export controls present additional challenges in terms of transportation and administration.
A product must be delivered to the customer with the assured physical and legal characteristics intact. This covers issues ranging from the specified characteristics in the data sheet to the absence of third-party claims over the product (e.g. patent disputes).
If the product does not meet these characteristics, the supplier or the manufacturer is liable. The focus here is on problems currently faced by the industry regarding the traceability of parts and components. Since distributors of products are considered to be "companies placing products on the market" insofar as the products are delivered from abroad, special regulations must be observed.
The ability to trace faulty products is becoming increasingly important in the electronics industry. This is to ensure that action is taken at the correct point in the supply chain in the event of defects. However, traceability will also play a key role in the future in terms of process and cost optimisation.
Trade Compliance & Trade Rules
The term "trade compliance" refers to an increasingly complex body of directives concerning compliance with all export control provisions, customs duties, embargoes, anti-terrorism measures, taxation law and other foreign trade legislation.
The fact that this involves national and international regulations and laws that are not harmonised across all regions presents a particular challenge. Consequently, compliance with regulations involves a significant amount of research work, particularly for distributors operating internationally. Since infringements and violations can have criminal and regulatory consequences for companies and individual directors, the topic is becoming an increasingly important focal point in the area of distribution.
The Work Group "Transport & Trade Compliance" is on hand to assist members with its knowledge and experience.