Electronics resellers have, for decades, been a resource to electronics OEMs for a variety of activities including designing products, sourcing components, and building a strong supply chain. Sourceability has recently emerged from early startup mode to offer much of the same types of service and support but without aligning itself with the traditional franchised/independent and specialized/broadline/catalog identity embraced by its competition.
The company has spent the last several years investing in a network of global distribution centers Singapore, Hong Kong, and Miami. Now it has offices in sixteen cities and employs 300 people. Rather than calling itself an electronics distributor, the company considers itself a technology developer that focuses on bringing customers to the products they need. The company anticipates $160 million in revenue for this year.
We sat down with founder and CEO Jens Gamperl to talk about how this model works and why it might appeal to customers. Gamperl is an industry veteran with over three decades of experience. “I am a child of distribution, and started in 1988,” Gamperl told EBN. “Globalization is putting pressure on distribution to generate more sources of income so I went to the drawing board to figure out what I would change in traditional distribution. Sourceability is the result of that.”
Previously, Gamperl served as the global vice president of sales and purchasing for Advanced MP Technology, responsible for building the independent distributor’s global sales and purchasing team. In addition to working for a number of distributors, he also cofounded Easy Training, an internet startup for long distance learning.
EBN: You’ve said that the electronics distribution landscape is changing, taking us from the old model of pure-play franchised distributors and “gray market” independents. What does this new breed of hybrid distributors bring to customers?
Gamperl: When I was developing my business model, I looked at what was most satisfying for the customer. I was surprised that catalog distributors such as Digi-Key and Mouser were on the top as most satisfying. There are certainly bigger distributors, but it proves that the most satisfying companies are not the biggest. What I learned is that these distributors put logistics first, keep a lot of inventory, and are ready to turn an order in 20 minutes or ship a single part of necessary. That’s a hard model to scale, though. These players also are very expensive. Meanwhile, big distributors are more in the mass production business and offer compelling terms and conditions. They do fantastic fulfillment for long-term scheduled business with lead times and carrying some stock. Rising costs, though, will make that a hard model to maintain and remain sustainable over the next decade.
In our approach, we negotiate with the distributors and have developed a platform to give our customers global insights on pricing and availability and we let the customer choose what he needs. At Sourceability, we have data on hand now that is filled and fed by our suppliers who want to generate business. They put the data up—but no one can see the seller. We can make it transparent if there is a failure. We can navigate this ocean of data and pick best offers for the customer, put up logistics for customer, and do just in time (JIT) delivery as required.