I have the answer as to why companies charge a premium for single-source product:
Because they can.
By definition, single-sourcing means the customer is at the mercy of the supplier. Instead of valuing the customer's business, suppliers take advantage. I am sure that is not always the case--some suppliers truly value their customers. But customers should arm themselves with information such as Ken/freeebenchmarking provides and have a long discussion with their supplier if they are paying a premium--at least find out why. If the price can be justified, and the relationship works, no harm done. But if not...
Ken, I completely agree that the premium is because of a non-competitive environment advantage for the supplier. Also, when parts go on allocation, prices go mysteriously higher because the model approcahes that of sole sourcing. If I can only buy from one place, I either have to redesign or pay the piper. I know it. They know it. Everyone knows it. If the sole source part goes very high, then the competition of the same component type gets interested and does their own version. I saw that with Oscon caps when Sanyo made their big technology splash. Soon NIC and Panasonic had their own versions with the low ESR being the characteristic in demand for power supply applications. Nice work on the chart. It removes any doubt mmediately.
Bolaji, I don't think buyers feel beholden nor are they willing to pay excessive premiums.
I have seen how many companies have responded to financial pressures with downturns in the economy. Important groups are downsized in bad times without replacement when things improve. I believe too many key organizations are understaffed and their resources are significantly strained. Two groups in particular are procurement and component engineering although many organizations are thin overall relative to their responsibility.
Stretched internal resources deliver on the highest priority items which are usually the ones impacting revenue and then those impacting visible cost. The Japan earthquake and Thailand floods demanded high priority responses. The problem with single source premiums is that they are not visible. It is not that buyers are willing to pay more; it's that they haven't had the visibility to determine what they should establish as high priority. Procurement professionals need hard data to convince management and design organizations that second sourcing is an important enough priority to move ahead of other key programs.
As you know, Freebenchmarking.com reports provide visibility to costs and alternate sourcing opportunity. I data mine this reference database hoping to shed light on risks and opportunities for your readers. I know that companies cannot afford to add resources; hopefully better tools like Freebenchmarking.com and its information can fill the void.
If a company can differentiate itself by using an innovative single source part then it is normally a price worth paying. In fact I am surprised that the single source premiums were as low as your study found, especially for ICs. I enjoyed your article and thanks for the info.
Ken, If the single-source premium is so high, and so obvious, I wonder why buyers are willing to pay the extra fees for this. Could this be because they feel beholden to the sellers or because they are willing to pay the extra premium to guarantee what they want? It couldn't be that they are not aware of the premium, could it?
I agree that the premium associated with single-sourcing is at least partly from lack of competition. I also suspect that, at least is some instances, there is also a level of quality control or screening processes that are used to assure a level of perfromance above standard industry requirements that contributes to cost premiums.
28 percent of my company-commodity values were negative, indicating single-sourcing was better than multi-sourcing
@Ken, thanks for the informative post. I am bit confused with this analysis. Isn't it true that competition brings down the cost and thus multi-source should have more benefits compared to single-sourcing ?
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.