Earning supply chain status

ES July13 Pg04 VftT FC Lane3Distributors like Lane Electronics must add real value to the supply chain if they are to succeed. Managing director, Simon Hammerton, explains how a place in the supply chain should be earned.

I am pretty sure that if you asked our customers why they partner with us, a combination of instant product availability and price would top the list. Important as these two obvious factors are however, they represent only the final stage in a customer’s relationship with us and it is all too easy to overlook the investment we continue to make to improve and cement our position in the supply chain. We believe our decision to keep investing in people, stock profiles and product assembly gives Lane Electronics a key advantage in a competitive marketplace.

People power

Like everyone, we are seeing a marked increase in online enquiries and sales, where there is no personal contact. At the same time however, we see no decline in the number of existing and potential customers who prefer a face to face meeting, or who require help with their designs and applications.

As a result, and unlike many of our competitors, Lane Electronics has continued to invest in product specialists capable of helping our customers make the best use of the products we offer. These not only include customer facing field application engineers (FAEs) to work alongside the customer, but also additions to our internal sales and support team to process online requirements.

Instant delivery

In today’s world, a desire for the shortest possible lead time is a fact of life and companies who hold inventory, sometimes even taking a calculated investment risk, will continue to figure prominently in the supply chain.

As a connector specialist, Lane Electronics is known for holding huge stock levels. With current value of more than £2 million, our stock profile allows us to genuinely offer next day delivery on more than 90 per cent of our customers’ requirements. In our role as a distributor, we partner with our customers and forward order product from our suppliers to meet their requirements. We hold many dedicated stock orders for immediate call off by our customers to suit their production schedules and even ‘ship to line’ directly on their behalf.

Value-added assembly

In addition to continuous investment in people and product inventory, we have the facility to assemble product on behalf of several of our franchised suppliers. Here we are able to custom-build connector systems to the exact specification required by the customer and, since we hold significant quantities of component parts, we aim to respond to specific customer demands quicker than the majority of our competition by assembling here in the UK.

Ours is a very broad marketplace since just about every electrical and electronics–based product needs at least one connector. We also recognise however, that customers themselves have a very broad choice of connector supplier, which is why we continuously strive to improve the overall service we offer our customer base.