The cold calls never seem to stop. That uncomfortable Monday morning email from a distributor you spoke to 5 months ago who pretends like you’ve known each other since grade school writes you for a quick chat about the weekend…that monthly eh hmmm….newsletter…from that wonderful distributor in Florida who has key insight and cool topics to discuss about relevant industry news and information. Whatever it may be, the nonstop onslaught of marketing and communication seems to never end from all types of distributors in the electronics industry.
It’s a no-brainer why all types of OEM and EMS providers choose the ‘crem de la crem’ of component distribution… aka Arrow, Avnet and Future Electronics to ratchet in top notch pricing, favorable schedules, in house stores, engineering support and quality solid product….but what about the other guys? The smaller, niche-serving distributors who fill in the gaps when the big boys drop the ball?
Whatever the case may be, at some point you’ve done enough homework to form a viable group of ‘go to’ distributors for all types of sourcing needs. Every company has a different approval process. Some will add a new supplier at the snap of the finger and others take careful measures to ensure the integrity of the supplier fits key quality objectives. So how well do you know your distributor? I pose this question because I constantly see new distributors popping up and claiming tons of industry accolades, including quality certifications and extensive inventory levels. In my experience, after doing some quick and easy online investigating, the reality is usually very far from what has been presented.
Two words that can grossly change how you choose a new supplier:Google Earth. Recently, we were looking at adding a new supplier to our AVL but quickly changed our minds after inputting the company address into Google Earth. The prospective supplier had boasted to me that they were ISO certified and had over 100,000 line items of stock on hand. Google Earth told us a different story. The company address was legitimate, only it was to an apartment complex! Google earth gives you the ability to dial down on that exact address location, giving you a photo snapshot of the truth. Now you can be sure your supplier is really in a genuine office/warehouse location, not working out of a residence where zero quality initiatives can be performed. This is just one of many things you can do to protect your supply chain from companies that misrepresent their level of experience and integrity.
Here are a few other tips to assist when looking to add a new supplier:
- Obtain a copy of their ISO certification
- Obtain a copy of their anti-counterfeit procedures
- Obtain a copy of their Quality Manual
- Ask for OEM or EMS relevant references
In other breaking news….Sensible Micro has been chosen as a semi-finalist out of 250 companies for the 2011 Tampa Small Business of the Year Award! We are one of ten companies left and have another round of judging before the finalists are chosen! Thanks to our loyal customers who have made this journey possible!