Design Cycle Tip: Working With Distributors Early | Symmetry Blog
Chris is an engineer.
As part of a small team, he was tasked with designing a new product for an IoT solutions company. Chris did his own research and found components and technologies that fit the needs of his application.
Nearly four months passed. Chris had spent a considerable amount of time developing and testing the design. The application was nearly complete. However, after more testing, Chris found the functionality to be less than practical. Four months ago, he thought he would need a longer range solution and had chosen a Z-Wave module. As it turned out, range was hardly the issue. Instead, he was finding the design to have energy concerns, and the components he had chosen for the design required more power than expected.
The Z-Wave module he had purchased was not the ideal solution for this application. After discussing with an applications engineer, Chris learned a ZigBee solution would have been a better choice for the application, a technology that didn’t come to mind when Chris first planned the design four months ago.
As a specialty distributor, we see this story play out far too often. Even brilliant engineers benefit from a second pair of eyes, and distributors should be there to provide that professional opinion.
Tyler Wojciechowicz, an applications engineer at Symmetry Electronics, explains the importance of reaching out to distributors:
“As a design engineer, it is important to work with distributors early in your design cycle. When you first start your project, there are likely things that have not been thought out and questions that have not been proposed. Distributors can help you with various technology options and considerations for your project. It’s certainly impossible to understand and master every aspect of your design, so why not use the available resources and engage with experts from each individual field? If your design uses wireless technology, speak to an expert on wireless technology. If your design incorporates video, speak to a video expert as soon as possible.
Too often, engineers put hours of work into their project, only to realize that the design needed a different part or technology. Engineers at your distributor can help gauge what is most important to you and differentiate the pros and cons of various parts and suppliers.
What’s more important: saving costs on a part or saving time in development? What manufacturer has the best development resources? What parts have drop-in replacements and which ones will be pin-to-pin compatible in future versions. These are all questions that should be asked before you begin devoting time and money into your design, and your distributor can help answer them.”
Next week, we’ll take a look at what sales representatives can learn from being involved with distributors early in the design cycle.