Information aggregators for electronic components have emerged as a standard tool in the arsenal of supply chain professionals, engineers, and designers in the electronics industry. Now, however, these same customers want more from these information sources than ever before. FindChips.com is adding a paid service, called FindChips Pro, that provides new capabilities to help buyers consider the future, rather than relying on the past.
“Until a few years ago, parts aggregators largely worked like Google, and people generally enjoyed the experience,” said Aleksandar Bradic, chief technology officer of FindChips. “However, the availability of supply chain, sourcing, and behavioral data offers a lot of additional context that is incredibly valuable.”
Today, anyone searching for product information, pricing, and availability information is faced with dozens of potential resources. Favored choices range from the standard product databases, including Datasheets.com (which claims to include over 250 million parts) and FindChips.com, to less traditional sources, including product sites that include Amazon.com and Alibaba.com, UBM’s 2016 Distributor Customer Evaluation Survey found. Getting mindshare from potential customers is getting more and more difficult for these aggregator sites—and finding reliable product information can be confusing for users as well.
Particularly with the growth of the IoT market, some startup companies are looking at how to move outside traditional sourcing tools to do more and to move quickly, said Bradic. “We’ve been seeing is a lot of new companies in the market that don’t have an established notion of how to go about sourcing and design,” he added. “They are looking for sourcing tools that give them an edge over the incumbent, because they’ve realized that in the hardware space having a great supply chain gives you an edge.”
The company aims to turn a Bill of Materials (BOM) into a living document that is continually updated and ready to implement. “The supply chain is a living organism, and we are starting with the assumption that it is not about getting the analytics once since things can change by tomorrow,” said Bradic.
Using the Pro service, users can understand quickly if a complex BoM is sourcable without requesting individual quotes for every part. In addition, the system notifies users of potential price fluctuations and other risks. The advent of crowdsourcing (and the many horror stories of supply chain challenges that eventually killed a promising product) has raised awareness around the importance of risk management exponentially, Bradic said. “We are definitely seeing a new generation of companies with a new set of expectations around having quantitative data,” he added.
“Millions of people are using FindChips and that creates a lot of interesting context,” Bradic told EBN. “First, we focused on building out a data science team. Subsequently, we built out the more product-oriented piece by turning analytics and insight into a user experience.”
FindChips Pro, which combines real-time component data and marketing intelligence, offers a variety of new features including:
- The opportunity to leverage historical data in forecasting (including historical pricing and inventory, as well as product popularity based on how often a product is being searched for).
- The availability of a “heads up” dashboard to offer a visual of potential sourcing scenarios in a single page.
- Collaboration tools to help teams share information easily (available later this year)
FindChips Pro is based on a Web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) model priced at $49 per user. The standardl FindChips tool will remain available for free, Bradic added.
In the future, FindChips hopes to add other capabilities, such as synching with a product schematic. “We believe that simplicity is the key to success,” Bradic said. “We want to attack specific problems efficiently.”
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN