Ask any design engineer what his greatest fear is, and you're likely to receive any number of responses, from unforeseen budget constraints to a sudden lack of innovation, not to mention the fear of losing time-to-market advantage and time wasted due to extended lead times.
As you begin 2012 with an eye towards planning new designs, I'd like to share with you five reasons to add a distributor early on in your design phase. Adding a distributor to the design process early can help engineers save time and money -- and possibly alleviate some fears. Here are five reasons this might be a good idea.
Distributors know your Bill of Materials (BOM):
Whether your bill-of-materials is 10 or 10,000 parts, it's important to increase the efficiency of your component selection and avoid obstacles such as part obsolescence. Using a distributor's BOM analysis tool gives designers access to a large database that can provide a wealth of information on your BOM, as well as help head off any compliance issues that may arise. These tools even have the capability to show the current lifecycle state and predict years to end-of-life (EOL), giving your design a real advantage, before it's built.
The odds are stacked in your favor with the aid of field application engineers (FAEs):
Choosing to add a distributor during the early stages of the design phase connects you with certified FAEs who can assist with solving complex problems that could delay your design. In recent years distributors have made major investments in FAE support to help customers get the results they need.
When it comes to technology, it's a numbers game:
It's no secret that distribution has access to technology -- a lot of it. Avnet Inc. (NYSE: AVT) alone supports more than five million SKUs, from more than 300 suppliers. Whether designers are looking for the latest in semiconductors, IP&E, or more, it's likely that your distributor has it, and with it comes the peace of mind that it's not counterfeit or nearing EOL.
Supply chain partner:
Having to shelve designs due to a 26-week lead time is bad -- and also completely avoidable. Adding a distributor early in the process enables designers to map out a supply chain plan of attack. Once you've begun production, you can avoid a line-down crisis by working with your distributor to ensure that your supply pipeline fits your production needs and keeps you well ahead of the competition.
Early access to technology:
In any business, it all comes down to relationships. And when it comes to electronics distribution, these relationships give distributors access to supplier technology roadmaps. It's like having a crystal ball allowing us to see into the future of technology -- and it also allows us to help you find the right solutions to fit your design.
I find the support of the distributor in finalizing the BOM, avoid inclusion of obsolete or to be obsolete parts in the BOM and tkaing help of their FAE in product design using new parts , very valuable.
Setting up your supply chain with the help of the distributor also has many advantages.
If you have to choose between paying more attention to building relationships -in social media, for instance, or preparing the business for early access to technology and early adoption of this technology, which one would you say comes first?
I was talking to a distribution executive last week who told me for the first time in a long time distributors weren't spending all their time convincing suppliers and customers of the channel's value. The ability of a distributor to step back, take a look at its supplier portfolio, and recommend the best solution to an engineer is unique. I continue to be impressed with the solutions the channel offers to expedite product development.
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.
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.