Strategies for Success: Sfera Labs' Guide to Innovative Procurement, Navigating Geopolitics and Obsolescence

22-02-2024 | By Jack Pollard

In Part 2 of our insightful interview with Sfera Labs, we find out about the nuanced strategies shaping the future of the electronics industry. Building on our comprehensive discussion in Part 1, where we examined the supply chain's evolution, market trends, and strategies against counterfeit components, we now turn our attention to vendor relationship management, innovative solutions for component obsolescence, and the crucial role of data analytics in streamlining procurement processes. This segment reaffirms Sfera Labs' dedication to quality, sustainability, and compliance, spotlighting its forward-thinking approach to the industry's evolving demands in 2024.

Vendor Relationships, Obsolescence, and End-of-Life Notices

How can buyers effectively manage vendor relationships to navigate challenges associated with component obsolescence and end-of-life notices? What strategies and tools can be employed to anticipate and respond to these issues?

At Sfera Labs, we maintain direct and frequent contact with the electronic components manufacturers. We provide input on future developments and share concerns on high-impact changes, for example, footprint modifications. Although this does not spare us from suffering due to EOL/modification changes, it sometimes gives us enough heads-up to intervene in the design phase.

Furthermore, manufacturing relatively small lots helps us make quick modifications even when a product is on the market. Changes impacting the product's electrical and safety certifications and compliance are catastrophic for everyone but are luckily rare.

Finally, chain effects should be considered, too. For example, we design our products to be fully compatible with open, largely supported platforms. Unfortunately, one EOL in one of those platforms may force us to radically modify or cancel a product line, which is especially painful in Industrial Automation, where long-term availability is a crucial requirement.

Components obsolescence issues are further exacerbated by the fact that the components mix used in advanced products is constantly shifting toward more complex, highly integrated ICs that are proprietary of a single vendor and offer no compatible alternatives, often forcing a complete redesign of the affected products.

Data-Driven Procurement and Customer Behaviour

 How can data analytics transform procurement processes in the current and future market scenarios?

Timely and accurate data on sales, orders, and production lead times are crucial to facing emerging challenges: heavy capital investment (due to increases in stock levels), multiple production sites, and smaller production lots. It is essential to have an accurate picture of all the actual and forecasted inflows and outflows. At Sfera Labs, we have designed and implemented a brand-new ERP system based on our sister company’s software, HSYCO, which will be instrumental in facing those challenges.

What shifts in customer demand and behaviour are expected in 2024 that could affect the buying process?

Most of the markets for top technologies are in a mild recession, and there are very feeble forecasts of recovery in 2024. Therefore, production levels will likely be stable or even shrink in 2024. This will probably mitigate potential shortages and reduce the risk of raising prices. At Sfera Labs, we believe that the growth path is innovation. Therefore, we are planning several launches of new, innovative products for 2024 to counteract the recession trends.

Quality and Sustainability

How does Sfera Labs ensure the quality and sustainability of the electronic components it uses?

At Sfera Labs, we have a direct relationship with the manufacturers and distributors that supply us with electronic components. We meet periodically to review many aspects, including quality and new products. Certifications/compliance, adherence to environmental regulations, and sustainability are always part of these discussions.

Global Economic and Political Impact

How might global economic and political scenarios influence the electronic components industry in 2024?

Economic slowdown and political instability are enemies of market growth. Protectionism and tariff barriers are also on the rise. We expect 2024 to reflect all these issues, therefore being a tough year.

What contingency plans should buyers consider for these potential changes?

The shortages of the last couple of years have hindered innovation, as it was virtually impossible to find the electronic components to build even prototypes. The availability of new technologies and products may help maintain good market conditions for the electronic components industry. Sfera Labs plans to launch many new, innovative products in 2024. We started in December 2023 by announcing the new Iono Pi Max v2.

New Product Introductions and Innovations

What new products or innovations are on the horizon for 2024, and how can they benefit buyers?

Raspberry Pi 5 will gradually be available for industrial customers during 2024, and Raspberry Pi has recently announced CM5. Both will ensure higher computational performance and solidify the concept of edge computing for industrial automation products. Sfera Labs plans to add Raspberry Pi 5 and CM5 to its product line in 2024.

How do these new products or technologies improve upon previous iterations or address emerging market needs?

In our case, we are designing embedded servers, I/O modules, and environmental sensors that are more powerful and richer in functionalities to provide a solution for the most pressing requests from our customers. In this effort, it is critical to maintain day-to-day contact with our customers, which we do by encouraging them to engage with our technical team and striving to offer superior customer service.


In our comprehensive discussion with Sfera Labs, we've covered the critical aspects of the electronics industry's supply chain dynamics, from overcoming current challenges to anticipating future trends. Sfera Labs' strategies for sustainability, quality, and innovation in procurement and product development provide a valuable framework for navigating the complexities of the market.

If you’d like to learn more about Sfera Labs, please visit

bio image.jpg

By Jack Pollard

Jack has spent over a decade in media within the electronics industry and is extremely passionate about working with companies to create interesting and educational content, from podcasts and video to written articles for engineers and buyers.