DIGI-KEY: Engineers favour hybrid distribution model

Digi-Key's hybrid distribution model supports product design from 'Prototype to Production'.

One million different products on the shelf. Same-day shipping. 650 franchised suppliers. These are just a few of the reasons why Digi-Key should be the first choice for design engineers requiring flexibility in distribution. The volatile nature of the technology space, as well as the ever-changing needs of today's tech consumer, necessitates a distributor with global reach and the bandwidth to support a wide variety of customer needs, both for products and technical support, 24 hours a day. Due to rapid changes in technology, industry trends show that product life cycles are significantly shorter and high volume production runs are less frequent. Today, time to market and new product introduction timelines are critical and manufacturers are more interested in short production runs. Digi-Key's next-generation hybrid distribution model provides an ideal solution for designers looking for high-mix, low volume quantities of electronic components to fill orders to be used in prototypes and short production runs of new products. The company stocks over one million individual products, on the shelf and available for immediate, same-day shipment anywhere in the world from their globally centralised warehouse in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, USA. Accessing the broadest selection of in-stock products in the industry allows Digi-Key customers the luxury of never having to settle for second best when it comes to choosing the correct part for their application. Engineering support has always been a strength of the company. Digi-Key's talented team of application engineers are available to call, email, or speak with via live web chat to garner product information, suggestions, technical support, or any other design questions that may arise. Alternatively, Digi-Key also provides a wealth of information, available 24 hours a day on www.digikey.com, the industry's most trafficked website, from anywhere in the world. Whether datasheets, whitepapers, and product training videos are your flavour, or if you gravitate more towards the lighter side of engineering with 'Another Geek Moment' videos, Digi-Key continues to position itself as a full-service design support solution. As Digi-Key's presence continues to expand globally, local sales directors provide "feet on the street" in each region around the world. Sales Director Ian Wallace and Business Development Manager Ben Brookes provide local engagement with and support for customers in the UK and Ireland. Both individuals bring a wealth of experience, specifically in the UK/Ireland market, to Digi-Key's global sales and support team, providing a local, personal touch to customers in the region. The ultimate goal of this global expansion and placement of local support teams is to allow the company to interact with customers face to face and provide them with the same level of service enjoyed by North American customers for the past 40 years. One of the newest initiatives for the international sales and support teams has been the introduction of Digi-Key's full line of production-level services to international customers. Much of the company's time and effort in recent months has been focused on introducing customers to the company's ability to not only service the high-mix, low volume quantities of product, but also to facilitate companies large and small with their production-level needs. 'Production Business,' as it is termed internally at Digi-Key, is not a new concept to the company, but has not been well known among the loyal, 'core business' customers. Digi-Key is often lumped in solely with other catalogue-type distributors, with no mention made of the company's ability to fill production-level orders. Digi-Key's distribution model really does not fit into the mould of either the traditional, high-service catalogue distributor or the broad line production-level distributor. The company's 'hybrid' model is truly unique, providing a flexible design support solution, necessitating a fresh perspective on distribution. From Prototype to Production®, Digi-Key is your one-stop, total support solution. Now, as the company continues to expand globally, Digi-Key has tailored a full suite of supply chain services, previously unavailable to international customers. These new services seek to streamline and simplify the buying process, making working with Digi-Key as painless as possible. Ultimately, the company seeks to support and sustain the evolving needs of today's engineers and purchasing professionals throughout the entire lifecycle of a product. This includes a wide array of service offerings, providing resources such as dedicated internal customer service and support on local time zones, tailored pricing programs, and product services including bonded inventory, in-house value-added services, and more. These services are available to all customers, reinforcing Digi-Key's commitment to providing the highest level of service to each and every customer around the globe. Digi-Key's global expansion has seen widespread adoption, with customers voicing resounding positivity. Specifically in the EMEA region, the company's sales have seen tremendous growth, rising 18.6 percent, year over year, in 2013. This far outpaces industry averages, and even exceeds Digi-Key's own numbers in North America where the company is located. This lends credence to the viability of Digi-Key's hybrid model moving forward. "Customers care little where in the world their products come from, as long as they get what they need, when they need it, and can be assured of the quality of the products purchased," said Ian Wallace, UK/Ireland Sales Director. "By offering over a million, supplier-authorised in-stock products, same day shipping, and a wealth of online resources available 24 hours a day, Digi-Key truly solidifies its position as the go-to partner for design support from Prototype to Production." Digi-Key's traditional qualities – wide product selection, stable pricing, fast delivery – translate into an effective volume production model. Amid the ever-changing market dynamics, organisations that succeed in today's global business environment will partner with a distributor who can offer the next generation delivery model, supporting the entire process - from Prototype to Production. Digi-Key surpasses one million Digi-Key Corporation recently surpassed one million in-stock components available for immediate shipment, accessible via the new and improved BOM Manager. BOM Manager is a web-based tool that makes it easy for electronic component purchasers to create and save their BOM at all stages of product design. Integrated into Digi-Key's broad product portfolio users can quickly view inventory availability, price breaks, regulatory compliance data, and other valuable information. Users can simply sign in as a registered user, and upload their parts lists and compare with our product lists. The tool makes it easy to create and save a BOM and immediately download quotes to their desktop. Dave Doherty, VP of Global Supplier and Product Operations, said: "It's real-time access to a dynamic list of one million in-stock parts. This means that customers can instantly create their quotes online, make price comparisons, and place their order with the click of a button. Or, they can choose to save each BOM and share their product designs internally." Other new web features include the scheduled shipment feature, which allows users to break a line item into multiple shipments and/or choose to have each line item on an order ship separately and arrive on different dates, and the shopping cart updates. These allow users to label their carts with unique names instead of relying on Web ID's and sales order numbers. Users need to simply log-in or register to view the editable shopping cart naming field.