Purchasing tools cut sourcing time

Web-based purchasing tools that help purchasers reduce the time it takes to source parts and or provide bill of materials (BOM) scrubbing services can help all OEMs speed their time to market. Some of these tools and services are available through ecommerce marketplace or electronic component procurement service providers as well as some leading franchised distributors.

Here are a few solutions from PartMiner, SiliconExpert and Verical that can help you meet your time-to-market requirements.

PartMiner Worldwide, Centennial, Colo., recently unveiled a new partnership program, called SupplyStream that was created to help buyers source needed parts faster, while giving suppliers real-time access to request for quotes. The company already has established relationships with several partners in the U.S. and Europe.

PartMiner also noted that SupplyStream partnerships are limited to franchised electronic component distributors and manufacturers, which give customers the added security of knowing their parts are coming from established, reputable sources, resulting in fewer concerns about counterfeit parts.

PartMiner also released a free basic view of the CAPS technical component database to help buyers and engineers with their component searches. The basic service enables single part searching in the more than 160 million parts database.

CAPS data elements provided in the free service include full part number, manufacturer name, detailed part description, pin count, part status/lifecycle risk, downloadable current data sheets and a link to request quotations (RFQ). Part searches also return a list of similar or alternate parts based on part number, said PartMiner.

The complete CAPS database and applications, including CAPS Expert, CAPS Connect and CAPS Connect ES, are available by subscription from PartMiner. The CAPS database is used to build, optimize, and analyze BOMs. It integrates with approved vendor lists and internal parts lists, providing a single corporate-wide data set for product lifecycle management, said PartMiner.

SiliconExpert Technologies, Santa Clara, Calif., has added inventory pricing and lead-time data to its suite of electronic component management tools, enabling engineers and buyers to make more informed component selection decisions.

The component data information provider allows customers to search through its database of 185 million components for attributes such as cross references, lifecycle, obsolescence forecasts, environmental compliance, and inventory data. The company also offers BOM scrubbing and data integration web services.

With pricing information now integrated into SiliconExpert’s database of electronic components, subscribers now have access to a comprehensive resource for distributor pricing information.

By uploading the part lists to SiliconExpert’s tools, users can instantly retrieve an average price across multiple distributors for thousands of parts. The new average pricing data points allow users to save time and reduce costs by proactively estimating procurement costs, said the company.

SiliconExpert also integrated average inventory lead times from distributors into its component management suite. The new feature lets users evaluate component selection based on average lead times of multiple distributors from a single interface.

Verical Inc., which was acquired by Arrow Electronics last year, is an ecommerce marketplace for electronic components, targeted at meeting the end-of-life components and parts shortage needs of OEM customers.

Verical, San Francisco, Calif., recently added DemandMatch, a bulk parts search tool that matches open requirements with available supply automatically, to its service offerings. The new tool matches open requirements generated by planning systems with available supply at, then returns the matched lists via e-mail to the buyers responsible for purchasing the components.

DemandMatch automates the workflow for sourcing time-critical components that can’t be obtained through the primary channel. Verical said it will dramatically reduce the time it takes buyers to procure parts “on demand,” cutting sourcing time from hours or days to minutes.

The DemandMatch process begins when Verical receives an electronic requirements report from the planning systems of participating OEM and EMS companies. These lists may be submitted in any electronic format, including industry-standard protocols such as RosettaNet, web services, XML, cXML, xCBL or EDI. Buyers can also upload lists directly to the Verical website by registering and then clicking on the “Buyer’s Workbench” tab.

After the requirements list is submitted to Verical, DemandMatch automatically generates match lists and segments them by buyer. The individualized match lists are subsequently e-mailed to each buyer. Each e-mail includes hyperlinks that navigate users to matches in the Verical outlet. Buyers can review the matches against their open requirements, select the parts they wish to buy and check out, said Verical.

Franchised distributors improve online services

Many leading franchised distributors such as Arrow Electronics and Newark also provide online buying services that are designed to help speed up the procurement process.

For instance, Arrow, Melville, N.Y., has beefed up its suite of online services and capabilities at its MyArrow portal. Arrow said with the new search and filtering capabilities, customers searching by part number, keyword or manufacturer, will receive more comprehensive results, and can easily filter their search results by product category and parametric data.

The portal also offers a BOM tool where customers can upload their BOMs to identify available inventory, view the inventory pipeline or buy available product online. Users can also get a view of their custom pricing and inventory position for their full bill of material or request a quote.

Through the new Notifications feature, customers can automatically receive product change notifications (PCN) regarding parts they’ve ordered, such as end-of-life announcements and recalls, as well as classification and nomenclature changes across all relevant product categories. Notification settings can be customized to include other product updates and can be modified by the user at any time.

Arrow also recently launched Forecast Response, providing customers with real-time, 24-hour online access to Arrow’s supply chain along with simplified inventory tracking and the ability to search for parts within an uploaded forecast as well as purchase product online.

Catalog distributor Newark, Chicago, Ill., launched i-Buy, a free online solution at its website that is designed to automate the purchasing approval process and set controls over a company’s electronics spend. Newark said a key benefit of the system is that it gives small companies many of the key benefits of an eProcurement system without the cost or complexity.

Without the cost of acquiring an enterprise purchasing system, procurement managers at small and mid-sized companies can use i-Buy to set spend limits by individual order, by user or department or within a specific timeframe.

The tool generates comprehensive reports, including line level detail, which are downloadable in a CSV format. i-Buy works in tandem with Newark’s MY ACCOUNT eSuite tools, which enable customers to track current orders, review their complete order history, place scheduled orders, retrieve invoices and process quotes online.