What the niche distributor can often provide is much more product expertise. One example is in specialty connectros used with a nonstandard cable. These were a bit more than the standard MS connectors, but the ones that I needed had to be smaller and more rugged, and had to work with a cable that had much larger conductors than would normally be used with that sized connector, since the conductors had to be mechanically durable. I was using #20 wire, when normally that connector would be used with #30 or #32 size wire. So the distributor located parts that were not on a standard order sheet, and got me the parts with a good delivery time and a price that was acceptable. I don't think that I could have had that much support from the #1,2,or #3 distributors in the US. Of course, they may challenge me on that, but the specialized distributor just had to go to a different shelf for the stock. That is one example.
WilliamK: That sounds curious to me as well. What a pain in the neck. Whether or not this company is a niche distributor or not, that's just bad business practice for any kind of business. Especially when you call. I see why companies might not publish prices online but they should certainly quote you by phone.
Although niche distributors tend to focus on high-end products, they don't necessarily determine the price of the product. That's up to the supplier. The specilaty model most often gravitates toward premium components becuase you really need something like that to compete against volume distributors. Being on a niche line card also helps suppliers. Let's say you have a pricey line: when someone quotes you on a BOM, you'll fail by comparison to less expensive lines on a broad line card. On a niche linecard, where everything might be pricier, it doesn't look quite as bad.
Well, those specialized distributors probably come with a higher price. As some point, the engineers need to establish the minimum requirements but also, when too good is bad (based on costs). Efficiency comes with buying what's good enough.
I've never used a specialized distributor, and i'm not sure i even know of any, and right, now i'm I don't see how it will make things easier for an OEM, especially one that is not very large having to go to multiple distributors to get products.
I have found that some of the ditributors are a bit more like manufacturers reps, and there is a problem that I find with that. If the product is the best solution it works well, but the other side is that "when all that you sell is hammers, everybody's applications all look like nails". When I am in the searching stage and collecting information is not the time when I need sales calling me, when I was just checking to see if the product might be what I was looking for.
Of course, presently I am having problems with a specialized distributor who will not quote a price, even though I explained that when I get the price I will place the order the next day. I know that they have the product that I need and that the price is OK, so please sell to me but.... And I was willing to pay at the time of order, which is a zero risk deal for the seller.
I just started to understand the challenges in finding the right distributor partner for a supplier. Finding niche distributor who has a special line card with very good customer list is always a difficult thing considering the fact that many of the big oem's doesn't work with smaller distributors in general.
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.