Extracting value from the supply chain

Extract greater value from the supply chain by choosing suppliers who offer services which really help tackle today’s challenging market. RS Components’ country market manager for electronics, Richard Eden, explains
As predicted, thus far, 2009 has been challenging. To survive, companies must listen to and then exceed customers expectations for product performance, cost, service and speed-to-market. This places increased demands on the supply chain, which means that suppliers like RS need to be dynamic, flexible and innovative.

When things get tight, everyone demands improved value for money, but the price of goods is only one part of the total cost of acquisition or ownership. The challenge is to extract greater value from the supply chain by using suppliers who offer improved services and efficiency.
Pushing down prices

With this in mind, RS is both lowering prices and enhancing its services. Prices are adjusted on the website far more dynamically than before, with updates on a quarterly basis. RS lowered prices on 45,000 electronic and electromechanical components in March and introduced five price break columns, giving increased discounts for higher volumes.

Customers wanting to place large orders can contact the three RS Electronics sales division local offices to cross-reference, negotiate and quote on bill-of-material requests. They can also accept scheduled orders and supply items outside the standard range using the company’s global purchasing network.

Rapid response

Time is money and we all hate waiting for information so RS is speeding up response times in three main ways.

With a further 60,000 new lines being added to its product range over the next 12 months, RS hopes to ensure buyers only need to look in one place to find everything they need in stock. Additional on-line functionality, like its order/parcel tracker, on-line forward orders and other ‘My account’ self-service tools, help save time, reduce costs and prevent errors when selecting and ordering products. Finally, RS is improving back-office systems to turn round BOM scrub and quote requests faster.

RS aims to provide all products from stock for next day delivery, with the understanding that reliable on-time delivery is important for routine electronics production scheduling. The electronics sales division can accept forward and scheduled orders as well as order management and rescheduling, if necessary. These services will also be available on-line in the future.
Perfect packaging

A production packaging service is also offered, delivering electronic components in industry-standard packaging, such as reels, tubes, trays and tape for use with automated assembly equipment. Components are available in bespoke quantities with the same next day delivery. RS hopes to provide the majority of its expanding product range from stock in production packaging where applicable.

At a time when many distributors are closing local sales offices, RS is doing the opposite. It opened another local sales office at St Neots for customers in the South East late in 2008 and has added both field and internal staff in the others.

RS also aims to improve its marketing by segmenting customers by what they do, instead of what they buy. This will provide increasingly targeted services, as well as reducing mailing, paper and printing costs.

These services are tailored to electronics customers small batch production needs. RS expects to deliver an ever widening choice of technologies from stock, in flexible quantities, on time, to lower customer inventory levels, which is just the kind of flexible supply chain partner that’s required when times are tough.