As the economic gurus try to predict the timing of a much-needed recovery for our related industries, distribution has moved forward to prepare its customers for the future. Design activity during a soft market is at the center of any future recovery plan. The distributor, through its relationship between the customer and the manufacturer, helps companies explore new ideas for the next wave of innovation. By understanding our customers' market, distribution can introduce new products to engineering contacts. This interaction between the design engineer and distributors is the core to developing the most competitive technically advanced end products. Engineers who understand the benefits of relationships developed between themselves and authorized distribution are more likely to receive the most up to date information on emerging products and market trends.
Authorized distribution exposes the design engineer to the world's top manufacturers in a manner that can make the engineer feel confident about specifying products in new or existing applications. During the last boom demand, with product shortages and extended lead times, we experienced a wave of magnetic material coming in from all corners of the world. Some of these unfamiliar supply chains lacked the support, warranties, and level of commitment one would expect. Authorized distribution allows companies to develop new products with the confidence that comes from dealing with a solid, reputable, and reliable supply chain.
Distributions' role is to act as a conduit between the customer, the manufacturer and the ever-changing marketplace by providing services, technical support, information, and products for quick turnaround (Photo 1). Engineers who tap into this conduit can benefit from the distributor's ability to understand, communicate, and service their needs. When presented with any type of requirement, the distributor can provide guidance and direction to meet the designer's needs. A broad range of products, enhanced by value added capabilities, is a good example of the type of service the distributor can provide when presented with a new requirement.
Another example of distributor support is core selection, where quick turn around on product modifications allows engineers the flexibility to get their design off the bench and out into production (Photos 2 and 3). If product evaluation requires technical data, distribution can also quickly respond to those requirements. By organizing technical data, the distributor can help engineering find what they want quickly. The distributor offers extensive online technical resource centers via the Web for instant access.
New product announcements are another way in which the distributor keeps engineering informed of emerging technology. Through this process we enable our customer base to think of innovative solutions using these new products. We also provide our manufacturer base with the requirements for products not yet developed by communicating the needs of our customers to their product development departments.
In a changing market, it's important that the authorized distributor bring more to the customer than simply supplying product. By offering a valuable combination of quality core selection, precision modifications, usable technical data, and knowledgeable support, today's distributor acts as a filter for the current market and as a conduit to aide in design innovation for the future.
Technology Just a Hyper-Hop Away
To get a glimpse of what modern distributors offer, explore the Web. Many sites focusing on magnetics are available free of charge, creating a vast technical library at the OEM engineer's fingertips. Distributors lists, the newest innovative products, and news releases from leading manufacturers, are all online and available with just a click of your mouse.
For more information on this article, CIRCLE 336 on Reader Service Card