ECCO argues that sourcing from specialist interconnect distributors means buyers get more help when the going gets tough.
Buyers sourcing off-board connectors know available inventory can be important because these connectors are often part of a cable or harnesses system and can involve options bought as the last part of a ‘system buy’. Usually, these orders have more options and variables than the core BoM and PCB which are more locked down. Additionally, they may be hard to second source if the engineers tested and chose one approved supplier due to time and resource constraints towards the end of a project. This can leave procurement professionals in troubled waters if issues arise.
To address inventory availability issues, specialist distributors typically build connectors themselves allowing for assembly times and taking advantage of component inventory that is stock-to-build (STB). STB capability from the likes of TTI, Electro Enterprises and ECCO gives a broader account of available SKUs to make since the connectors are not assembled, glued and finished. This gives a specialist distributor more flexibility on inventory and part combinations. By doing so, those distributors expand the reach of their inventory profile and provide greater service and supply capability to customers.
Specialist interconnect distributors can also perform value added services to assist supply chain and inventory management. Those include customer specific inventory bonding; just-in-time (JIT) software and apps for re-ordering; Kan Ban functionality; consignment programs (popular with wire products); special packaging for marketing or unique security/storage needs; and blind shipment services where direct ship to an end customer makes sense.
Obsolescence avoidance and lower labour costs contribute to procuring and using those services, thus helping companies stay competitive and reallocate their resources to other areas of expertise and competitive differentiation.
Knowledge is another area where specialist interconnect and electro-mechanical distributors excel. The table below many series of connectors that ECCO supports, whether by building or selling manufacturers’ completed connector. By assembling the various parts of a connector, specialist distributors have an innate know-how regarding form, fit, and functional equivalents or options that might work in a customer’s design. This allows for more flexibility in sourcing, pricing and performance for procurement professionals.
In summary, to address the problems of inventory availability and part complexity, look to distribution specialists who can assist with more expansive inventory offerings via STB capabilities, additional supply chain programs and assembly services for JIT support and lowered carrying costs, and overall knowledge of the product. Acting as an extension of your procurement team via a more focused resource with these commodities are what interconnect specialists will do for you.