Rutronik’s New Storage Facility : Reliability of Supply for Small Batches and Sampling

To supply development engineers and companies that have smaller requirements quickly also with individual items and partial quantities, Rutronik has set up a new storage facility to meet precisely these requirements. Tilo Rollwa, who as On-line Marketing Director is responsible for it, explains the details.

Mr. Rollwa, what can Rutronik customers expect from the new storage?

Now, a packaging unit is no longer the smallest quantity they can order from Rutronik. They can also order partial quantities and individual items for small batches and sampling. All available articles are delivered very quickly to customers, generally within one to two working days.

As a broadliner, Rutronik maintains an extremely extensive portfolio. Are all articles also available in small quantities?

No, we systematically select NPI products and fast-selling, high-value components. At the moment, these are primarily semiconductors, with additional product groups and suppliers added gradually. Our 40 top suppliers provide excellent support with advance information about their future articles and early shipments of the agreed products.

How can a customer find out if a product is also available in small quantities?

The e-commerce platform indicates for each product whether it is available in the small quantities storage facility. All of these products can be ordered in partial quantities, the smallest ordering unit being a single item.

Can customers also avail of support from Rutronik for these parts?

Yes! The FAEs (Field Application Engineers) provide design support if required. Customers can use the on-line support function that we offer for every product for this purpose. Here, they can contact the relevant product specialist directly, who can usually answer questions immediately or clarify them directly with the supplier if necessary. In the event that this is not possible, or if more complex issues need to be clarified, our FAEs will also travel directly to the customer.

Customers can also find out about product innovations via the Rutronik-TEC forum, the newsletter, and Rutronik activities on the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Here, they will also receive useful information about promotions as well as news of current events, background information about new technologies and much more.

What made a special storage facility for these small order quantities necessary?

The ongoing miniaturization of components has had two effects in the last few years: The products have now become extremely small and sensitive – some are so tiny that their labeling, if they actually still have any, can only be deciphered with the help of a magnifying glass. It is no longer so easy to separate them and insert them into a piece of foam rubber before sending them. As a result, the process of separating them has become increasingly time-consuming and costly. Added to this are the frequent special packaging requirements, such as dry packaging for shipping and repackaging of moisture-sensitive components – all of which involves additional handling costs.

Another aspect is the increasing size of the packaging units for many products. Small designs are now mostly delivered in rolls with much higher packing densities than a few years ago. A single unit containing 1,000 high-value components can very quickly end up costing several thousand euros, thereby blowing the budget of a development office, a smaller company, or start-up. In certain circumstances, a packaging unit may even exceed the requirements for the planned series production, e.g. in sectors such as the medical or aerospace industries that do not manufacture in such high quantities. As a result, we are seeing a growing demand for partial quantities. However, we can only respond to these requests to a limited extent from our central storage.

How does the new storage facility differ from the existing one?

The small quantities storage facility is tailored precisely to these processes, which means that most of the processes are unique and are carried out manually. Naturally, we also take into account all packaging requirements from the suppliers and the ESD (Electro Static Discharge) standards in the same way as in the central Rutronik storage and logistics center. This is designed to handle the packaging units and larger-scale re-packaging and its operations are largely automated to deliver orders to customers as quickly and efficiently as possible and to offer them reliability of supplies. The combination of both storage facilities will allow Rutronik to play a leading role in the logistics for electronic components in the future as well.