tgbnNetwork Product Solutions, LLC (Keller, TX) announced the launch of the Trusted Global Buyers Network (TGBN). The network harnesses the power of social media and online community to match buyers to member-rated sources of supply.
By the time a buyer reaches TGBN, they have most likely exhausted their own network of authorized channels and have little choice but to turn to the multi-billion dollar grey market. This market is comprised of both reputable and disreputable independent distributors and brokers.

According to the company, buyers and engineers are able to collaborate and share their experiences with suppliers by rating them based on their quality, compliance controls, trustworthiness, and warranty.

TGBN uses the knowledge and power of buyers worldwide – also known as crowdsourcing – to make transparent the good, the bad, and the ugly of the supply chain. TGBN members can engage with other members on forums to help make well-informed sourcing decisions, rate and review suppliers, and access and share best practices and resources. It offers members the opportunity to purchase inexpensive but critical part information on a part-by-part basis that can help them proactively mitigate risk.

The grey-market elephant in the room
Product obsolescence and end-of-life poses a serious problem for engineers and one that has contributed to a dramatic increase in counterfeiting. A part used by an engineer in their design today has, on average, three years before it is out of production. With an estimated 500,000 components going obsolete each year, buyers and engineers can't always get the parts from their normal sources. Of the over $300 billion semiconductor market alone, the grey market furnishes five to 10 percent of that. By not acknowledging the necessity of the grey market, manufacturers have left buyers to their own devices when determining what suppliers in the grey market they can trust.

Knowledge of and access to tools to mitigate counterfeit risk and address obsolescence are not always readily available to small- and medium-sized business, in particular. By offering a social networking platform for buyers and engineers to collaborate, the TGBN online community is presented as a unique and new approach in the fight against counterfeit electronic components.

Network Product Solutions,