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What is the best way to source your components? Multiple or one distributor?

xddarko , 01-20-2020, 09:46 AM
Hello guys,

We all want to make great board designs but we also need to keep in mind component choices and pricing.

I've been working on a board lately and I finished it and wanted to check the components pricing for 10 prototypes.
So I started digging and I came across this BOM tool provided by Octopart and it is just great. You upload you BOM list do some simple column assignments (guided) and you have yourself a neat BOM list with prices from multiple distributors like Digikey, Mouser, Newark and Farnell. The cool thing in this tool, is that you can choose your preferred distributors with the option to see the percentage of your components available from that choice. I chose many well known distributors to widen my options for my first try.

After choosing my preferred distributors, there is another option to optimize the target price to a minimum by choosing the distributor per component based on the cheapest price available.

So I did that, but by choosing this option which lowered the overall price to 27$ ( I was like... WOW) . But after some thinking, I thought that if I have too many distributors or component providers, shipping cost will also go up and this all will be meaningless.

I wanted to know your thoughts about this and if you would tell me if you experienced this too and what is your recommendation for me? Should I choose to source from multiple distributors or should I stick to only one or two?

Thank you.
robertferanec , 01-21-2020, 02:50 AM
For prototypes we usually buy all the components from 1 to 3 suppliers (minimum hassling, minimum shipping cost, minimum time spent with communication, ...). Mass production is done through direct communication with many different suppliers and best price.

PS: Altium's ActiveBOM can find the best prices between different suppliers:
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