We had a poll posted recently where we asked by what means you procured your parts. We got a good response — 178 responders by the end of the poll's run. It was interesting to see how you snagged parts when you were assembling your prototypes.
The largest number — exactly half of all respondents — said they just go to their favorite distributor's website, whip out their credit card, and order what they need. As long as your company gives you a credit card to use for business purposes, this is an easy solution. Or if they're willing to reimburse you for purchases made on your own card, that's also an easy solution.
Next most popular — for the companies that don't trust their employees with these nickel and dime purchases — is the company purchase order. Which means the engineer must fill out a form, get a couple of authorizing signatures, go to the Purchasing Department, and plead with them to just buy what is needed now rather than sending out for bids.
Third on the list makes use of the above cited credit card (most likely) with the purchase occurring at the local distributor or electronic parts store — for engineers lucky enough to have such a store within driving distance.
Fourth is direct from the manufacturer's website (again we can assume with that same credit card) — for engineers lucky enough to have chosen parts that come from companies that support online commerce.
Second to the last category indicates some engineers procure parts from eBay. Not exactly my favorite place to buy parts, but OK, whatever works for you.
Lastly, a choice I hadn't thought of — ask the manufacturer for a sample or two. The price surely is right. Anything that bypasses the Purchasing Department is good — though I've heard of companies that will insist on routing sample requests through the Purchasing Department. Bummer.
Here are the itemized results showing percentages and the actual number of responders in parenthesis.
- Through distributor websites using a credit card — 50.00 percent (89)
- Through a distributor by purchase order — 36.52 percent (65)
- At the local electronics store — 20.22 percent (36)
- From manufacturer websites using a credit card — 21.91 percent (39)
- From eBay — 14.04 percent (25)
- From the manufacturer by purchase order — 12.92 percent (23)
- Other — 3.93 percent (7); only one detailed responder who said: “Samples from manufacturer.”
Though the survey is done, let us know of your procurement problems and purchasing panics.