June 2018 - Selecting a Distributor Partner
Published on: 04/06/2018
Distributors offer enormous benefits - find the right one for you
Working with distributors to source electronic components presents a wide range of benefits but finding the right distributor to partner with can prove difficult and time consuming.
We explore the four simple steps to finding the right distributor for your business.
Distributors, who are also in some cases manufacturers of components too, have access to a large product portfolio from their stockist manufacturers and can sometimes receive preferential pricing from other, non-stockist manufacturers. It’s important to identify the brands and products offered by distributors when you’re researching ones to use, familiarise yourself with the products and assess the product relevancy between your business and theirs.
It’s important to assess how many brands/products the distributor stocks and to see if there is more than one brand offering per product available for your most required parts. Although most customers will not consider this initially, it’s an important factor to consider in case a distributor only uses one manufacturer for a certain product which at a busy period could impact your time-to-market and delay or compromise your product launch.
Once you’ve explored the distributors complete product range and availability, you should research their lead times and pricing of the components you require. It’s worth receiving quotes in real time of components you require at that moment in time because most distributors quotes will be valid for a short period and when stock has sold the product will only be available on a lead time.
If your business is looking for a new requirement, make sure you organise a meeting with the distributor so you can understand more about the company, their processes, product capabilities and have a tour around their factory/warehouse.
Meeting the distributor will give you an opportunity to talk in more detail about your project, initial production run and your future requirements. You will also be able to determine the distributors technical and engineer expertise; this is a crucial element to deciding which distributor you should partner with. You need to be confident that your chosen distributor is experienced in your required field/product range and are able to offer alternative product recommendations based on performance, reliability, cost, availability and long-term availability.
Reliability of Supply
Semiconductor obsolescence is inevitable and all distributors experience it regularly, it’s important that you partner with a distributor that will notify you of product obsolescence in your requirements as early as possible, because this will ensure you can find an alternative, place a last buy order or in few cases, the distributor can work with a manufacturer to design a new product to replace it. Finding an alternative part will enable the supply to continue, eliminating the likelihood of any unnecessary delays.
Businesses use distributors for different reasons, some customers require extensive design and technical support and use distributors as a knowledge hub, some require support with stock holding and organising call-off orders and some will require repeat component purchases dispatched straight away. It’s important to determine how you will best benefit from using your chosen distributor and make sure they can provide the service you require.
The size of the distributor is another factor to consider, whilst large and established distributors in the industry can often send the product out to customers in record time using machine to machine technology (M2M), they often lack the customer service and account management support most customers desire from a distributor.
Most customers prefer to call their distributor and speak to the same sales person about their account which is easily done in SMEs but in larger organisations it can be hard to speak to the same person twice and can be hard to establish a good rapport with the sales team. Smaller distributors offer dedicated account management, allowing you to utilise a wide range of services, including: call-off orders, scheduled orders, inventory management and support, account management, obsolescence advice and sourcing alternatives and much more.
In smaller firms, every customer is a priority and every customer matters, SME distributors offer the same dedicated service to customers whether they’re purchasing one off or a thousand off. This isn’t always the case with larger distributors, unfortunately one off or smaller purchasers often do not receive the same level of customer service and proactivity.
GD Rectifiers is one of the UK’s leading SME distributors, they work closely with customers on the design, development and production of industry leading projects. They distribute a wide range of semiconductor components from some of the world’s leading manufacturers, they also manufacture a wide range of their own components, including: power assemblies, heatsinks, rectifiers and high voltage diodes.
GD Rectifiers works hard to understand customer needs, they provide dedicated account management and support every step of the way, allowing customers to access their engineer expertise from planning right the way through to production of projects. No job is too big or small for GD Rectifiers, they work with a wide range of customers from blue chip companies and pioneering start-ups to universities and hobbyists.