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.
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.
Interesting post, Peter. It does seem that it's a good option for small suppliers to get in touch with specialized distributors. However, from the customer's perspective, do they prefer dealing with specialized small distributors? Wouldn't it be more convenient for a manufacturing concern to deal with a single large distributor for all their needs?
you have sighted a practical example of the importance of specialized distributors, but to me that does not seem like a situation that will occur in most designs, or for majority of components in a design. A few components may require special attention due to their significance, and very precise requirements, for those, specialized distributors may help.
A reputable niche distributor is a good find. Often it's worth keeping these sources in play by favoring their product line and using them as alternate sources if possible. The costs of researching and qualifying such a distributor should be factored into the total costs of sourcing their parts.
Taimoor, thank you for your comments in your post. Yes, we think there is a large contingent of customers in need of specialized suppliers to get the pre- and after sales support to successfully design-in a product. For example, a Bluetooth module from connectBlue connecting to an Iphone requires more support than a big-box distributor typically can give you.
I agree, from a manufacturing point of view going to just one large distributor is best, however, many new designs projects need one or two specialized solutions you won't find except with a niche distributor. Our next guest blog will focus on customer benefits utilizing a specialized distributor. So stay tuned.
That is part of what I meant. That takes time when you are first getting started. You hope you strike gold the first time around but this rarely happens. SO you must hope to fail fast and learn from the experience to get back on your feet quickly.
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.