Purchasing professionals in the electronics industry face an unenviable task: to get the right parts at the right price in a scarce market. Increasingly, electronics buyers are often forced to expand their networks when looking for the parts they need, making them a target for unscrupulous sellers.
Of course, since the decades when buyers had to turn to the gray market for hard-to-find parts, honesty and transparency have been slogans. The gold standard is to find partners who will tell you what they can and can’t do – and keep their word on what and when they can deliver. I tell ours team to provide the client with all the details (good or bad) we have – and that this approach will give them better results. People want and need to get parts, but they don’t want to feel cheated or sold.
Of course, every buyer falls into the moment they are caught buying from a source that is new and untested. In this market, this will happen more and more often – there is so much pressure to find parts that you will eventually make a deal with someone you do not know well. In these situations, there are a few red flags to look for:
- When history is constantly changing. If you can’t get an accurate answer from someone, something strange happens. They must be able to determine the basics of which parts, how much, when they can be delivered and how much they will cost.
- When you are in a hurry. Of course, there is an urgency in a limited market, but there should always be time to clarify, ask questions and make a deal in the right way.
- When they want you to send the money but are obscured in terms of specificity. It is vital that public procurement is clear about what they want – and that the seller is aware of what he is delivering. Ask about the specifics of date codes, batch codes and other specifications of the parts you buy before sending the money.
- When no one knows them. If you have a potential new partner, ask your existing distributors if they have ever heard of them. Check with a potential provider in a rating system such as IC Source or another ranking site. If you find that someone is not appreciated, there is a real risk of fake parts.
We are in a new kind of Wild West when it comes to buying components. When you need to go beyond the normal channels of the supply chain, know who you are buying from and apply some due diligence to make sure you are working with a reputable company. In the end, you may decide to pay much more for $ 2, but do your best to make sure you limit the risk as much as possible.