Let me be blunt. If you are the one assigned to find components at your facility, your job may be challenging to say the least. Everyday we talk to buyers and engineers who are frustrated with having to find components.
Here is a great real life example of what I’m talking about. First, I will leave the name of the customer anonymous for obvious reasons. Several months ago, one of our OEM customers approached us about their need to buy an obsolete part. The part is a popular programmable logic device that went end-of-life. Our customer made a business decision and decided not to purchase the parts which were announced obsolete.
The result was that our customer ended up needing a significant quantity of the parts. First they went to their original supplier who said some version of “sorry…no more parts”. Next, they came to us for help. They called us to find components for them. Flash forward 5 months later…our customer did not purchase the parts quickly when they were quoted and our vendor sold them elsewhere.
Independent Distributors operate from a different business model then say…Avnet, Arrow (which got into the business when they bought Converge), Digikey, Newark and Future Electronics. Our business model requires us to find components in a fast moving marketplace devoid of scheduled orders and 20 week lead times.
Although we advice our customers to place their orders immediately and not wait, often they have to get multiple signatures just to get the parts purchase. where the franchised and authorized distributors offer new parts directly from the manufacturer.
We continue to source parts for the customer and as we sift and sort the good parts from the questionable, our customers frustration mounts. They operate under the constraints of a bureaucracy that it slow and cautious. We operate from a volatile marketplace sometimes akin to the stock market. It’s the wild west when you have to find components that are either obsolete or back ordered for 40 week.
Recently a customer asked us to source a very difficult part. We subscribe to multiple online electronic component trading platforms. The annual investment to belong to these services is significant. We have multiple OEM customers who act as vendors when they wish to sell off some of their inventory. We re-market these electronic components when we are confident that the product meets the customers expected standards.