As part of an ongoing effort to inject more value-added offerings into their traditional distribution businesses, Pioneer-Standard Electronics Inc. and Reptron Electronics Inc. have launched separate Web-based initiatives.
Building on its e-business strategy, Pioneer has added a parametric search function to MyPioneer.com. The Passive Discovery Center, powered by IntelliData Inc., Castlerock, Colo., enables engineering and purchasing specialists to identify and cross-reference passive electronic components by functional criteria in addition to searching by part number or manufacturer.
"The system provides cross-check capabilities on 1.5 million part numbers, whether we're franchised to carry them or not," said Tom Pitera, president of Pioneer's Industrial Electronics Division in Cleveland. "We wanted to give users access to all possible scenarios, and this tool eliminates the hassle of manually building and comparing part numbers."
Matching old with new
For example, an engineer or purchasing specialist working with an incomplete or old part number in many cases must sift through databooks or contact the supplier's inside sales rep to identify a legitimate number.
"If Murata goes through a major part number change, for example, users can enter the old Murata part number and the system will automatically match it with the new one," Pitera said.
Passives represent 80% of the components on a typical circuit board, but only 5% of the dollars spent, said IntelliData president Tim Herring.
"Pioneer partnered with IntelliData to strengthen its presence in passives," Herring said. "We've been working with them for the last six months, modifying the original Web application to enable Pioneer's approximately 500 sales reps to access the system through their IT infrastructure."
Pitera is certain the service will help customers cut cost from their supply chain processes by improving efficiencies. The passives parametric search engine also could increase traffic and sales through MyPioneer.com, the company said.
Spending on e-procurement is expected to reach $8 billion in 2005, up from $2 billion this year, according to AMR Research Inc., Boston.
While Pioneer's e-business tools are free, a source close to the company said a revenue-bearing instrument could be rolled out in the next seven months as distributors increasingly arm themselves with fee-based business models.
Deal with Samsung
Reptron is also seeking to broaden its value appeal. The Tampa, Fla., distributor recently attracted Samsung Semiconductor Inc., San Jose, with its e-commerce and fulfillment capabi-lities, and has begun hosting Samsung's MyMemory-Store.com, which special- izes in DRAM module sales.
Samsung launched the site a year ago with a third-party host unfamiliar with the electronic components industry. When the manufacturer failed to reach its intended audience-value-added resellers and PC integrators-it gave Reptron an exclusive agreement.
"When a user logs on to MyMemoryStore.com, they are engaged with Reptron," said company president and chief operating officer, Paul Plante. "Orders ship from our warehouse and Reptron bills the customer. Our customers will receive all the back-end capabilities we offer our own customers."
John Park, vice president of sales at Samsung, said that although sales through the site are exclusive to Reptron, the supplier intends to retain its other distribution partners.
"This is a unique partnership. Reptron seems to have a core competency to provide Web hosting and global logistics-something we couldn't do before," Park said. "They also provide continual upgrades to our order processing, accounting procedures, and customer service."
The challenge for Samsung was to find a way to ship one unit comfortably for a reasonable price. To that end, the company, through Reptron, has implemented lower minimum orders, same-day shipment, choice of shippers, and enhanced backlog services. Accounting procedures have been simplified, credit card options added, and the site now accepts international orders from existing customers.