DIGI-KEY: Meeting diverse customer needs

Although commonly referred to as a catalogue distributor, Digi-Key has developed a leading online presence, leveraging the strength, convenience and accessibility of the internet.

The website – digikey.co.uk – provides essential product information and leading edge purchasing tools to the world's professional engineering and procurement communities. Today, Digi-Key is one of the six largest global distributors of electronic components, supplying design engineers and purchasing professionals in more than 170 countries with products from more than 650 world class manufacturers by way of the company's award winning website – available in 81 different country specific websites, 14 currencies and 10 languages. Digi-Key has clearly separated itself from other electronic components distributors in terms of product availability. Digi-Key stocks the broadest selection of electronic components in the world – product that can be shipped immediately to meet the needs of its customers. This fact has been recognised by independent customer surveys in Japan, Germany and North America. Digi-Key stocks more than 860,000 components in its 65,000m2 distribution centre in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, from which –it ships millions of orders each year to its hundreds of thousands of customers worldwide. Orders shipped to the UK are typically in the customer's hands within 58 hours. The internet is Digi-Key's most useful resource in connecting with customers. Whilst online initiatives are driven by the fundamental needs of design engineers and professional purchasers, Digi-Key's internet based campaigns present far more value to interested purchasers than the original Digi-Key catalogue. Digi-Key's fully integrated, internet based model has propelled the company to the forefront of global business. Its initial offering of state of the art components is now combined with informative and interactive tools to educate design engineers and procurement professionals about the best way to employ those solutions in their leading designs. The global customer base now has unrestricted access to leading components, insight into product data, application notes and forums at its convenience. Digi-Key's success has come, in part, by offering a customisable experience to all of its customers. For example, if an engineer needs prototype quantities, they can select the optimum product from the hundreds of thousands of components available for off the shelf delivery, and rarely be faced with the potential of having to compromise because of limited selection. Technical support can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone, fax, web chat, or emails with immediate responses from a team of applications engineers. Tools you need, when you need them If that same engineer would like to access information about a particular newly released part from any one of more than 650 suppliers, Digi-Key's Product Training Modules (PTMs) feature tutorials on the latest products and innovative technologies. PTMs are training modules to which design engineers can refer on demand, at the most relevant and convenient time. Additional reference materials are available 24 hours a day on the website. These include: a full library of reference designs; Scheme-It, an online circuit design tool; and a substantial collection of videos covering topics spanning the breadth of Digi-Key's product line. At the same time, a new customer or an engineering student may need an easy and efficient means of organising parts. Digi-Key's BOM (Bill of Materials) Manager is a resource that is essential to any customer in need of quality electronic components. The BOM Manager provides real time pricing and availability, secure storage and easy search and reference features. The system allows purchasers to create separate BOMs for specific projects and to place orders for varying quantities of assemblies to be produced. Purchasers can create and save a BOM with correct part ratios and multiply by the number of assemblies during the ordering process. Previously, a professional buying production quantities of components was forced to rely on a distributor's sales representative for product availability, pricing, leadtimes, possible substitutions and tracking shipments. The Digi-Key website gives the purchaser instant access to this information – and much more. Digi-Key processes tens of millions of quotes a year for volume purchasers, but for those who require or desire a single point of contact, Digi-Key's Production Business representatives are prepared to work with them on daily sourcing issues as well as scheduled releases. The company is aware of and sensitive to the diverse needs of its customers. While its customers may have different goals in regards to the products they purchase, Digi-Key's online resources and consistent attention to service provide satisfaction to millions globally. Earning the business of each customer requires consistent performance – shipping components quickly and accurately and resolving any problems quickly and fairly. Digi-Key's dedication to this goal has made it the top rated electronic component distributor for overall performance in North America for 20 consecutive years. Digi-Key launches Search Accelerator Digi-Key has announced new website features and updates, including the Search Accelerator – designed to make it faster and easier for customers to search for electronic components. This new feature kicks off a series of global website improvements, all designed to accelerate access to information and to simplify the ordering process. "Our customers are telling us they want access to more parts, faster. And, we listened," said Tony Harris, Digi-Key's chief marketing officer. "At the same time, we solicited feedback from our internal application engineers to prioritise what matters most. As result, we're pleased to announce this set of valuable website updates that will improve the entire online customer experience." Search Accelerator The Search Accelerator is a browser extension – downloadable free of charge – that makes it easy to search for parts anywhere on any website. Customers can simply highlight the preferred text on a website and right click to view the context menu. Choosing the Digi-Key Search Accelerator option will display up to three top results, as well as product availability, product data and pricing information. Key features include: • 'At a glance' pricing and availability • One click to research or purchase a product from any web page • Support for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome With the Search Accelerator, users can better refine their search and, as a result, find the products they want more quickly. The search data provides all relevant information, including detailed specifications, supporting resources and product availability. "It's Digi-Key's top priority to make it as easy as possible for users to research and acquire parts," noted Harris. "This feature strengthens our commitment to support the engineer from prototype to production." To download the Search Accelerator, go to the Browser Resources page on the Digi-Key website.