Area51 Electronic Service Group Inc. is pushing hard to persuade OEMs and EMS providers to use its services to globally track down hard-to-find parts.
The six-year-old Orange, Calif., independent distributor is marketing itself as vital to the successful functioning of companies' supply chains, as vital as franchised distributors with which OEMs and EMS providers already have relationships.
"We're establishing relationships with companies that wouldn't normally use our services as part of their supply chain," said Ronald Bush, general manager of Area51's San Jose office. "We're trying to let them know they need a core group of brokers at their supply chain meetings so we know as much as the franchised guys."
Area51 plans to take advantage of the economic downturn and EMS companies' need to provide OEMs with enhanced manufacturing solutions and lower-cost components.
"We're developing custom services to help OEMs and EMS companies achieve component savings, identify end-of-life products, and solve component shortages," Bush said.
Area51 considers its solid relationships with other independent distributors along with its in-house proprietary software program important tools that ensure unavailable components can be located and delivered within a designated time frame.
Kuldip Wirk, global services manager at Solectron Corp., said the Milpitas, Calif., EMS company has had a relationship with Area51 for about two years.
"When we can't find ICs, capacitors, or resistors in the market, we go to Area51," Wirk said. "Sometimes franchised distributors stick to whatever they have on their database. Independents are willing to take it a step further to get the parts."
And even though independent distributors charge more for their services than their franchised counterparts, Wirk believes most EMS companies are willing to pay more for desired, hard-to-get components that will help meet their clients' time-to-market expectations.