Sourcing Electronics Components: The Ultimate Guide

The electronics business is booming in the US. Indeed, the revenue generated from consumer electronics technology was expected to hit a staggering $422 billion (that’s billion, with a ‘b’) in January of last year. According to the same source, that sum represented a 4% YOY growth versus 2019.

Now, this rising demand for electronics is amazing news for old and emerging companies in the industry. But it comes with challenges too…

Top of the list of obstacles is sourcing enough electronics components of sufficient quality for your needs! After all, the current rate of demand from manufacturers means competition for components is fierce. And finding reputable electronic component suppliers who can operate at scale isn’t easy.

Thankfully, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can apply that might help.

Are you trying to source components for your business? Well, you’re in the right place. Keep reading for a complete guide on getting your hands on all the electronics you need.

Don’t Delay

Imagine that you’re a business owner who wants to design and bring a new product to market. There’s an extensive, effortful process involved, right? You have to come up with an idea, create prototypes, test them, analyze the data, and then iterate before you even think about manufacturing.

Don’t be fooled though. The road ahead might seem never-ending, but you should never wait too long to start sourcing electronics parts. Remember, you have to know that a) they’ll be available when you need them, and b) they won’t become obsolete as soon as the finished product hits the shelves.

Searching for components early satisfies both criteria, preventing setbacks and holdups along the way.

Leverage Component Search Engines

Finding the right components is the first step to success. Thankfully, there are components search engines that have been created for this task. These clever search engines collate key info such as components specs, how long they take to make, how many are available, and how much they cost per unit.

Octopart and SnapEDA are two examples of component search engines worth trying. Sure, some parts at the top of the pages will be sponsored, which means they won’t necessarily be best for your needs. Nevertheless, you’ll get real-time access to possible parts you could choose to use in your projects.

Search Distributor Websites

Another way to find the right electronics parts is to scour the sites of individual distributors. The better websites have search engines to help you filter results and find specific components in the distributor’s catalog. That’s ideal when you’re hoping to buy parts from a certain manufacturer, for instance, showing you in real-time what’s available.

The only downside to this approach is that it can take a while! Unlike purpose-built components search engines, you have to open up a new tab for each distributor. Comparing specs and prices involves flicking between them by hand, which can be inefficient (and more than a little frustrating too).

Go Straight to the Manufacturer

Most small businesses in this industry (such as a local electronic components store) will have no choice but to buy from a distributor. Why? Because manufacturers are often reluctant to sell directly to you unless you plan on ordering millions of new parts.

However, there’s no harm in asking! You could contact a range of full-service manufacturers, such as Ionthis, and see if you can strike a deal. Cutting out the middleman (AKA the distributor) can simplify proceedings and lead to lower per-unit costs.

Only Use Trusted Suppliers

It’s often tempting to use third-party services such as Alibaba (or even Amazon) to source electronics parts. After all, you can purchase parts in low quantities, which is great when you’re only producing a small run. Be careful, though…

Taking this route can open the door to trouble. Un-vetted and little-known, the suppliers are harder to trust and hold all the leverage. Counterfeit products and high fail-rates are pervasive, meaning you could invest large chunks of cash and be swindled of every cent.

We recommend sticking to reputable, trustworthy distributors/manufacturers whenever you source electronics. You might pay more upfront. Yet you could save countless amounts of stress, time, and cash by avoiding problems down the line.

Follow Global Market Trends

Think about what happened with COVID-19 and personal protective equipment. The virus hit, demand for PPE soared to unprecedented levels, and suppliers of it were caught off-guard! Had they kept a better eye on what was happening, they could have stocked up and put themselves in a better position to capitalize on the situation.

It’s up to you to do the same for your electronics components. Always keep a watchful eye over global market conditions. Be wary of potential supply chain disruptions and ensure you have enough stock for your needs.

Hire a Supply Chain Management (SCM) Service

Are you cash-rich, time-poor, and want to take the hard work out of this whole process? Think about hiring a supply chain management service. These businesses are an effective way to prevent supply chain issues, improve operational efficiency, and reduce costs.

The best SCM services will work with you to create a plan of action specific to your electronics business’ needs. They could help with your supply planning, forecasting, and managing of logistics/inventory. In other words, they’ll make your life easier from start to finish and ensure you have the electronics components you need (in terms of quantity and quality) when you need them.

Remember This Guide to Sourcing Electronic Components

Sales of electronics have sky-rocketed in recent years. And, as technology becomes ever-more prominent in our lives, this upward trend seems set to continue. That’s an almighty boon for businesses in the industry, of course, but it poses problems too.

First and foremost, sourcing sufficient levels of high-quality parts can be a real challenge! Know the struggle? Well, we hope this guide to sourcing electronics components will help.

Keep the ideas in mind and you should have your hands on the parts you require in no time. Search ‘electronics’ on the website now to read more articles like this one now.