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Redesigning a Course on Electronics Distribution Networks to Meet the Contemporary Industry Needs

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Computer and InformationTechnology-Related Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1226.1 - 22.1226.8



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Paper Authors


Malini Natarajarathinam Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Malini Natarajarathinam is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Distribution in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University. She received her B.E. from Anna University, her M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University, her M.A. in Management Science and M.S. in Applied Statistics from The University of Alabama and her Ph.D. from The University of Alabama. Her teaching activities surround classes in purchasing, distribution networks, and strategic relationships. She has been involved in numerous research and consulting engagements in the area of inventory management, supplier relationships and improving profitability at several large and mid-sized distributors.

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Redesigning a Course on Electronics Distribution Networks to Meet the ContemporaryIndustry Needs The current focus of the electronics industry in the U.S. is primarily on research anddevelopmental activities. Most of the manufacturing and assembling of electronic products hasbeen off shored to countries such as Mexico, Taiwan, Malaysia, Mexico etc. The computer andelectronic product manufacturing industry in the U.S. lost about 600,000 jobs from the years1998 – 2008 and is expected to lose another 250,000 jobs in the years 2008 – 2018 [Bureau ofLabor Statistics, 2010]. The industry has become very global and this creates new challenges inthe optimizing the distribution channels for electronic products. Additionally, the average lifespan of electronics products and technology is becoming shorter and shorter. So, electronicproducts need to be made available to customers as quickly as possible and that is verychallenging when the supply chain of the products spans several countries. In Spring 2009, the Electronics Distribution Networks course at Texas A&M University wasredesigned to address the new challenges in the industry. This class is a required class for theIndustrial Distribution curriculum of the Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution(ETID) department. The course is specifically targeted for ETID students with IndustrialDistribution and Electrical Engineering Technology majors. The class was redesigned to includecontent on globalization of electronics distribution networks. The concepts on managing leanagile global supply chains were included in the course. Also, due to the short life cycle ofelectronics products and technology, the electronics industry is always a moving target. Manypractitioners and industry representatives were involved in the class so that they shed light oncurrent state of in the industry. The course was redesigned to provide students with access toglobal resources, industries here in the U.S. and also various trade associations. This article willtalk about how the class was designed to strike a balance between teaching the fundamentals ofelectronics distribution and making the learning current and relevant to the students. The studentswho have taken this class have the basics of the 100 year old electronics distribution industry andthe experience to solve current problems in the industry. This article discusses the topics coveredin the class and how the class is structured.

Natarajarathinam, M. (2011, June), Redesigning a Course on Electronics Distribution Networks to Meet the Contemporary Industry Needs Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18643

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