Consortium Aims to Keep Components Flowing

If Y2K glitches disrupt computer industry supply chains, shipments of chips, peripherals and software may dry up. Leading IT companies, including Cisco Systems (San Jose, Calif.), Motorola Corp. (Schaumburg, Ill.), Hewlett Packard (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Sun Microsystems (Palo Alto, Calif.), recently announced an effort to pool their information on the Y2K-readiness of suppliers to help avoid such disruptions.

A typical supplier produces components for more than one company. A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (Los Angeles) of leading IT vendors found that each company shared between 20 and 50 percent of its suppliers with other IT vendors. The new consortium provides a forum for IT companies to collect, monitor and share information on the Y2K readiness of key suppliers and service providers. "We understand individual high-tech companies are in different stages of assessing and responding to the Y2K challenge, and that it would be impossible for an individual company to assess every one of its suppliers," says Guy Rabbat, executive committee member of the newly formed High Tech Consortium--Year 2000 and Beyond (HTC). HTC offers a collaborative framework for companies "to assess, report and share suppliers' level of Y2K readiness," says Rabbat.

The HTC provides standardized tools and methods to assess, mitigate and plan for potential Y2K disruptions. Suppliers are assessed by trained representatives from HTC member companies that post their findings on a secure Web database. HTC members that subscribe to this service can monitor their suppliers' Y2K status and track improvements as they are made.

The HTC's members include AMD, Arrow Electronics, Celestica, Cisco Systems, Dell Computers, Digital Microwave, Exabyte, HCL America, Hewlett Packard, IDT, Jabil Circuit, LSI Logic, LoDan West, Marshall Industries, MCMS, Motorola, Qualcomm, Quantum, SCI Systems, Seagate Technologies, SGI, Solectron, Sun Microsystems, Symbol Technologies, Tektronix and Unisys. However, IBM has not yet made a commitment to participation in the association.