How Great Design Engineers Get the Most Out of Their Distributor | Symmetry Blog
In this three-part series, we will be covering different perspectives on the relationship between buyers and distributors, and why it’s important for them to be involved early in the design cycle. Part 3 is taken from the perspective of a product manager, with input from Symmetry Product Manager Alex Velona.
The benefits of working with distributors early can’t be overstated. If you’re not reaching out to distributors early in the design cycle, you are losing time and money.
In previous articles, we have talked about the benefits of working on your design with a distributor’s applications engineer. We have also talked about how valuable it is to maintain contact with your sales representative through the design cycle.
In this article, we will focus on the benefits that product managers provide. Not only do they help buyers and engineers avoid supply issues with their design, they also maximize the return on investment that you will get once that design is in production.
Alex Velona, Product Manager at Symmetry Electronics, provides his insight on how distributors help OEMs make their best product.
“By involving the supplier as early as possible in the product design cycle, you will design a product that is more reliable, of higher quality and more cost-effective, overall benefitting the length of the lifecycle. Symmetry uses a team of in-house applications Engineers Field Representatives and Inside Sales Representatives to create a free-flow of communication so you receive not just the products or services requested, but learn of alternative solutions and receive guidance, technical support, and a partner for the life of your design.
Previously, the relationship between distributor and design team was limited. Engineers would use the distributors to source parts and the relationship would stop there. But engineers want more than a place to buy their parts – and distributors have realized that. Over time, relationships between Distributors and Engineers came to be expected. Engineers understood that by linking with a quality distributor, they could take advantage of competitive prices, high-quality parts and continual technical support. Similarly, distributors know that working with engineers during the design process breeds lasting and often rewarding relationships moving forward. The result is two groups with mutual interest in working together, which is a recipe for success no matter what market you’re in.
Involving the Distributor usually results in improved cost, better efficiency, and even an improved design. One such example would be BOM Analysis. When submitting the BOM, or Bill of Materials, you’re doing more than asking for a standard quote. When engaging with Symmetry engineers, your BOM will be critically analyzed for parts that may be EOL (End of Life), discontinued, or non-compliant with the intended application. When these parts are identified, the efforts switches focus to finding alternate solutions for any options that were EOL, Single-Sourced or otherwise unavailable to the customer. Accurate replacements will be identified and along with those replacements are additional PCN support throughout the life of the part, so that you may mitigate any future risk. During the BOM Analysis, cost-effective alternatives will also be identified and presented. Every one of these tasks would take the design engineer a formidable amount of time to accomplish, but by working together with your distributor you are offloading hours of time from your team’s workload, in addition to the cost benefit and other factors that are gained.
This is where Symmetry Electronics excels for you. We do not claim to offer you personalized support for three, four, or five hundred product lines, but our business model allows us to maintain an expertise on the 40-50 product lines that we are active vendors for, with a team assigned for each line to give you the most personal support possible for any product that we offer. Other broad line distributors will attempt to replicate this on a larger scale, but in doing so will lose one of the main factors that make Symmetry such a successful distribution partner – personalized support and technical expertise.”
For more on why it’s important to work with distributors early in the design cycle, read Part 1 & Part 2 of this series: “Design Cycle Tip: Working With Distributors Early” and “How the Best Sales Reps Earn Engineers' Trust”
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