Finding the right power solutions supplier

Sunpower’s CEO, Russell Parr, discusses the qualities procurement professionals should look for when partnering with a new power solutions supplier

Procurement specialists looking to source power supplies can be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed—not just by the sheer choice of products on offer but by the factors needing consideration. Beyond cost and specification, buyers must also evaluate reliability, efficiency, sustainability and performance. Getting the ideal solution is much easier when partnering with the right supplier.

Why does finding the right solution depend on finding the right supplier? The simple reason is the supplier’s experience, expertise and approach directly impact the quality of a power supply product and its suitability for the application.

Important factors to consider when assessing suppliers include the company’s background, its in-house expertise and its approach towards its customers which should be client centric. Rather than concentrating on the product’s power specifications or price, the emphasis should be on understanding the customer’s goals and needs.

Expertise is also essential to ensure bespoke solutions suit their applications. With in-house know-how, buyers can be confident that when producing the power supply unit, the supplier has considered factors such as compatibility, efficiency, reliability, power capacity and voltage/current ratings.

A good supplier will also insist on using high-quality components. This way, buyers can be reassured about EMC compliance, with proper testing and certification, optimal thermal behaviour, minimised voltage fluctuations for steady operation, voltage surge protection and measures for safe installation.

A supplier should rigorously test their power supplies to ensure they comply with safety standards and meet reliability and performance benchmarks. Such assessments should include: mean time between failure (MTBF); failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA); highly accelerated life testing (HALT); and highly accelerated test screen (HASS), plus vibration, thermal modelling and salt spray testing.

Finally, procurement specialists should seek a supplier that provides its customers with total life service, delivering ongoing support throughout the power unit’s lifecycle while offering extensive warranties.

The drive towards net zero means both suppliers and customers are seeking more sustainable power solutions. It is suppliers with decades of experience and in-house expertise that are leading the way in making power units more efficient and recyclable, even integrating recycled components during production. The result is technologically advanced equipment that reduces emissions.

As renewable energy evolves and becomes the norm, buyers will need power supplies equipped to manage power from a variety of sources and report their performance. This includes remotely located renewables. Ideally, buyers should seek suppliers that are already innovating in this direction.

Sunpower goes beyond out-of-the-box products, combining best-in-class components to provide its clients with tailored solutions engineered to deliver reliability, efficiency, sustainability and cost-effectiveness. This comes in tandem with a client-focused approach, ongoing innovation and a dedication to offering complete solutions.