Getting a new idea for the next big consumer toy to market quickly can be the difference between a hit and a product that gets lost in the shuffle. To address the need for speed, the online sourcing site Octopart has announced the inauguration of a Common Parts Library (CPL).
“As I've spoken to contract manufacturers and those purchasing contract manufacturing services, I hear there is a lot of pain and angst around getting parts that have inactive movement in the supply chain,” Sam Wurzel, CEO and co-founder of Octopart, told EBN. “It is a common problem that someone will design a board for a new connected device and send it off to the contract manufacturer without considering the availability of the parts on the board.”
The CPL hopes to address this headache by offering an easy way for small and midsized organizations to choose readily available parts during design. “Smaller organizations in particular have to be smart about component selection early on,” said Wurzel. “The Common Parts Library can give OEMs making products with smaller volumes the same confidence that parts will be readily available in the supply chain when it comes time to go to manufacturing.”
The project is aimed at sourcing professionals, hardware designers, and OEMs trying to design, source, and build connected devices. The CPL will provide a set of commonly used electronic components for these types of designs, so that organizations can build their hardware more efficiently.
Confusion abounds, especially in the connected device market. “It's a two-pronged problem. With new hardware startups popping up all the time, it not always clear what parts you should choose when you are trying to find the right component during the design phase. When it comes to procurement on the manufacturing side, if the designs you are manufacturing have a wide variety of components, there is a lot of work to do.”
Ideally, the CPL also would allow contract manufacturers to order commonly used parts for connected devices in bulk. “If we come up with a list of commonly used parts for connected devices, it will make life easier for everyone,” Wurzel said.
The CPL uses the Seeed Studio Open Parts Library as a foundation. Octopart will curate the library. A variety of designers, contract manufacturers, and open hardware design companies (including Dragon Innovation, MakeSimply, Refactory, Worthington Assembly, Electric Imp, Adafruit, Tindie, PlaceDroid, ProtoExchange, Tempo Automation, and Highway 1) provided input about library content, Wurzel said.
The parts library will evolve over time, and the group is looking to add CM and design partners to help it evolve. “The more input we can bring, the more brains that are thinking about this, the better the list is going to get.”
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN