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Don’t Get Tricked by Cheap Parts—Work Only with Authorized Electronics Distributors

June 3, 2024
Faulty and counterfeit components can negatively impact your company, but so can buying parts from a distributor that doesn’t offer post-sales support. Here’s why you should always work with authorized electronics distributors.

You wouldn't trust just anyone with your health, car or legal needs. Instead, you would put time into finding the best possible healthcare providers, auto mechanics and experienced lawyers to manage these requirements. So, why do some organizations settle for the “unknown” when procuring electronic components and parts? 

Perhaps it’s the allure of the vast, open market that exists online, where the next seller is just one screen tap or mouse click away. Tempted to save a few bucks or get a shipment delivered faster, engineers and procurement professionals may inadvertently wind up working with an unauthorized source. 

The problem is that installing questionable parts (supplied by questionable sources) in final products is truly a gamble. Quality, safety and performance may all suffer as a result. Worse yet, when you encounter a problem with the items you bought, that unauthorized seller may already be off exploring its next and newest business opportunity, leaving you to figure out the solution on your own.  

For these and other reasons, it’s crucial for buyers, procurement professionals and design engineers to focus on partnering only with authorized, reputable distributors. “Different distributors have different value propositions for customers, depending on where those buyers are in their design and production cycles,” says Heather Fulara, senior director, interconnect & electromechanical at DigiKey.

Early in the design and/or production cycle, for example, an authorized distributor can really shine by providing the expertise, support, customer service and even the payment flexibility that the manufacturer needs to achieve its own goals. Distributors like DigiKey also help companies navigate the highs and lows of issues like supply chain disruption, which continue to impact the electronic component space. 
“These disruptions that suppliers are facing are plentiful and varied, and we help hedge those impacts for our customers by ensuring that the product is on the shelves when they need it,” Fulara explains. “We also help buyers through some very complicated disruptions that frankly, they don't have the time, energy or resources to manage on every single order.”

Traits to Look for in an Authorized Distributor

Companies that want to work only with the best, most reputable authorized electronics distributors should look for these traits when evaluating their options: 

  • Reliability: Look for partners that will be with you through thick and thin, and that have your company’s best interest in mind. These suppliers should always deliver on their promises. For example, DigiKey offers a same-day shipping option for times when customers need items quickly in order to keep their lines running and/or meet their own customers’ delivery expectations. 
  • Advanced technology: Find suppliers that maximize the breadth of technology that’s available to them, and don’t put you back into the “dark ages” with spreadsheets and excessive emails. “At DigiKey, we're constantly evaluating and making sure we have the best tech in the areas where we need it,” Fulara says, “so that we can successfully source as many products as possible for our customer base.”
  • Compliance and global regulation support: Your authorized distributor should carry all of the industry certifications and be able to provide authenticity for all of the parts and components that it carries and sells. 
  • Support before and after the sale: Depending on which stage of the buying cycle you’re at, your authorized distributor should be providing support and handholding as needed. This applies to both tech support and customer service, both of which will help you jump through any hoops that come up as your company works to bring its products to market.  

A Strong Partner for a Lean World

As the “trusted mechanics” of the electronics world, authorized distributors like DigiKey provide the peace of mind that engineers and procurement parts specialists need to ensure equipment is produced correctly and operates safely. These distributors also help their customers save time and money in a world where companies are running leaner than ever. 

“If a company chooses a supplier that doesn’t offer consistent support, it will wind up spending a lot of time and money fixing problems and trying to muddle through some really complex or nuanced issues that no one has time for,” Fulara says. “Everyone is trying to do the best they can with the resources that they have in this market. Authorized distributors understand that and do what they can to help.”

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