Representor Summer 2019 - From The Top

From The Top – Insights and observations from EDS

by Chuck Tanzola

Chuck Tanzola, CPMR
The Fusion Sourcing Group Inc.
ERA President

Did you know that it is against the rules at the Mirage to take pictures of the roulette table while you have a bet placed? Neither did I. But apparently, everybody else at the table did! I guess they’re serious about this “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” thing.

With apologies to whomever it was that coined that phrase though, it seems appropriate to start this quarter’s column with some observations (beyond my travails at the casino) from a busy week at the EDS Summit.

For my part, I left for Las Vegas with a number of expectations; and the week did not disappoint. The EDS website tells us that, “The core of EDS is valuable idea exchange!” I couldn’t agree more. The 30-plus formal and informal meetings I participated in with manufacturers, distributors, other reps and service providers were informative, thought provoking and stimulating — which also describes the annual breakfast presentations that I attended courtesy of TTI and Digi-Key. While it occurs to me that the two breakfasts were very different in approach, both included valuable content and takeaways.

Throughout my week in Vegas, I learned about new technologies, discussed new and updated business plans; and renewed many existing relationships, as well as starting new ones. My compliments to ECIA and ERA for their collaboration in creating EDS and evolving this forum in a dynamic and changing industry environment.

In my humble opinion, the show continues to be a worthy investment in time and energy. Speaking of worthy investments, a special shout out to Mouser and Digi-Key (along with their sponsors – Panasonic, Kemet, Molex, TDK, Littelfuse and Murata) who “collaborated” so well in raising $20,000 for “Hiring our Heroes!” @#EDSFeud.

To wrap up regarding my comments on EDS, I confess that I proved to be about 50/50 on forecasting in last quarter’s column. Among my predictions were that the weather would be gorgeous (a thunder and lightning storm delayed my return flight by several hours #ReallyRedEyes); and that the odds were against winning at the casino (nailed that one, despite my will to win!). You may also recall that I predicted the elevators would (probably not) be easy to navigate.

Well, I will leave it to you to reflect upon your individual elevator experiences, but it occurs to me that when elevators are functioning correctly, they go up and down in a controlled fashion. However, no matter which way they go, learning to navigate them is the key. This seems especially relevant at this time since everything I am hearing, reading and experiencing tells me that our market has made a rather abrupt turn in direction from just a few short weeks ago when we were all in Las Vegas celebrating a rather robust 2018; and we will need all our navigating skills going forward.

There are many others who are much better at prognostication than me, so I will leave comments regarding the apparent change in market direction to them. I will, however, report that the staff and XCOM of ERA are taking a lesson from Chris Beeson’s (Digi-Key Electronics) EDS presentation in “rolling up our sleeves” to put specific plans and activities in place to move the association forward with a constant set of goals and objectives; regardless of the market direction.

Speaking of Chris Beeson, I’d like to publicly thank him for his many contributions to ERA and specifically the XCOM. As has been announced elsewhere, Chris will be transitioning off of the XCOM as the Distributor Delegate.

Chris, your insights have been invaluable, your counsel appreciated and your friendship is treasured. Thank you.

At the same time, I would like to welcome Craig Sanderson of Sager Electronics to the ERA XCOM. I believe that I speak for the XCOM, BOD and entire rep community in stating that we are fortunate to have another such universally respected member of the distribution community join the ERA XCOM. Craig, I look forward to your inputs and working with you.

I leave you with this. For everything there is a season — “Shows” evolve to “Summits.” Markets go up, markets go down. People’s roles and positions change. Sometimes the wheel comes up red and sometimes it comes up black (and sometimes neither). However, the season for valuable exchange of ideas never ends.

As always, I can be reached at and welcome your comments and feedback. If you attended the EDS Summit, I would love to hear your valuable insights. May all your navigation be smooth!