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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

How Buyers Benefit From Using a Distributor Tommy Cummings

How Buyers Benefit From Using a Distributor Theme Image

(Source: William Potter/

When grocery shopping with a supermarket app, we do our best to make it a one-stop experience. It’s prudent to find a supermarket with a comprehensive list of products—from potatoes to detergent.

The same applies to other shopping choices on larger scales. Buyers and purchasing agents for companies want choices, control, and convenience to be big players in their supply chain process.

And on every scale, these buyers and purchasing reps start with an engineer’s bill of materials (BOM), the list of products that complete projects. Next, they must locate someone who reliably provides these raw materials, either a distributor or a supplier.

Going back to the grocery shopping example, someone in charge of procurement doesn’t have the luxury of time to shop at dozens of suppliers—for the same reason they can’t go to a farmer’s market for potatoes or another store for detergent.

Distributors make more sense. On a business-to-business (B2B) scale, the advantages are numerous for buying from a distributor. Here’s how:

  • Choices: Buyers can choose from hundreds of international manufacturers and a selection of millions of parts, meaning the choice of additional variations or alternatives from individual suppliers. Distributors can offer BOM tools that evaluate millions of parts to improve order accuracy, including recommending alternative products to reduce design and product lifecycle risks. Alternative choices are always important when expediency is a factor.

    Distributors also offer price and availability assistants in which buyers can access online tools to check stock prices, or bulk add products to a cart. Buyers who register can search, view, download or print current and past invoices, and access their order history.
  • Control: Individual suppliers sometimes sell certain products in bulk quantities only. This purchasing option makes it difficult for companies that are working with smaller-scale projects. On the other hand, distributors have the warehouse space to accommodate bulk purchasing from suppliers and offer their customers several purchasing choices, including single-item purchase, cut tape or reels, and more. This is how distributors can sidestep any minimum purchase restrictions from suppliers.
  • Convenience: On any scale, dealing with a distributor means streamlined interaction. That includes the actual buying process (ordering online using a distributor’s array of custom tools), one-stop billing, single-point delivery with same-day shipping, and customer service (phone support and chat). Buyers can also track shipping and, if it’s not what you wanted, request a return authorization for products from the distributor.

Distributors go beyond being mere proxies in the supply chain. Buyers and purchasing agents can streamline and customize the process to their advantage. It plays into the adage that less is more. Streamlining the process can make it all as simple as putting everything into a single order, packaged in a way that makes the receiving department’s job easier. Think of it like organizing and picking up that supermarket order—potatoes and detergent—in a single trip.

Learn More

To learn more about the benefits of working with a distributor, read Mouser’s post on How a Distributor Makes Sense for Engineers.

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Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.

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