Approximately one year ago, Arrow Electronics launched parts.arrow.com, a web platform that is one of the industry's most comprehensive component databases and interactive design centers, as well as the first fully integrated online product lifecycle services engine for electronic products.
As we review the web activity we've seen in the year since we launched, some observations can be drawn that validate the notion that business-to-business customers want the best of both worlds.
We're seeing what we expected in terms of engineers researching on the site
Engineers, as well as supply chain and procurement professionals, are all harnessing the power of the web to select the right components from a project's start, based not only on performance and price, but also lead times and longer-term availability issues. Tools that are far more powerful than simply offering the ability to look up data sheets and query inventory now are expected in the marketplace. For instance, web traffic to parts.arrow.com shows that engineers are embracing truly interactive applications (Arrow has more than 2,500 interactive reference designs in our online schematic environment), and it's no surprise, given these tools help shorten design cycles.
Customers are willing to place larger orders online
The Arrow platform places millions of electronic components from hundreds of suppliers online and available for purchase. We expected to see purchases for small shipments, but we have been surprised that customers with larger-volume needs are also placing orders online. This tells me that customers are comfortable placing orders online when they have the assurance that the site is secure; that the parts are direct from the manufacturer; and that a full team is monitoring the order to ensure it is fulfilled to specifications and delivered on time, in addition to being a phone call away to address any questions or concerns the customer might have.
Customers are highly interested in product selection risk and obsolescence information
Arrow offers a range of powerful risk assessment tools that can be accessed through a monthly subscription-based service. The interest in this information is high as customers seek access to chemical and environmental data, material declarations, and on-the-fly chemical analyses.
Usage of comparison features found throughout the site is high
It's no surprise that engineers are constantly hunting for resources that can gather up-to-date information about the most suitable component for their project, gain insights about part details, and compare prices. It's even better if all this information is available in one place and easily accessed (on parts.arrow.com, where users can compare features of up to six components). We believe parts.arrow.com is becoming the go-to source for information in particular because it also provides real-time pricing and inventory availability information.
Customers are getting comfortable using SaaS solutions
Cloud computing has transformed the way we access information, and as more and more software becomes available on a subscription basis, accessing and managing data is easier than ever. This is apparent when we look at interest in our bill of material manager, which makes inputting part information and producing reports fast and simple. Users are scrubbing hundreds of line items at a time and easily procuring the correct parts list for their project.
Arrow will continue adding more and more tools, solutions, and services online for customers as parts.arrow.com evolves. It's clear that's what our customers around the globe want.