Distributors are beefing up their Web-based services. The effort comes in direct response to their customers’ recent preference for obtaining information over the Internet. Engineers now seek online data that is available 24 hours per day, every day. The information they seek ranges from training on the use of individual products to environmental compliance data on the parts they are designing into their products and systems.
Newark InOne — BOM Scrubbing for Compliance
Newark InOne has a Web-based service that allows a customer to submit the entire bill of materials to see whether the components designed into the product are compliant with RoHS or other green laws. “An engineer can securely upload a BOM (bill of materials) pr parts list at our website and our RoHS Data Service scrubs it against our database of four million products,” says Paul Tallentire, president of Chicago-based Newark InOne. “Detailed information is then provided, including compliance status, change in manufacturer part number, the number and kinds of substitutes available, price and availability.”
Digikey — Product Training
Digi-Key Corp. of Thief River Falls, MN recently posted product training seminars on its website. The goal is to offer engineers product training that is available when (anytime) and where (at the desktop) they want the training. “Our seminars may focus on a family of products or individual products,” says Mark Larson, president of Digi-Key. “The presentation is like a seminar on-demand rather than a scheduled seminar.” Larson notes that engineers can simply go to the website and click into a seminar. The seminar is more than just a playback. It’s interactive. An engineer can set up a phone call or Web chat to accompany the seminar.
TTI — Web Catalog Becomes More Robust
Since engineers now prefer Web-based catalogs over the print versions, catalog distributors such as Mouser Electronics Inc. in Mansfield, TX have added more information and services to their Web catalogs. Services such as end-of-life and replacement notices are not ordinarily associated with print catalogs. “There are tons of services that go with the online catalog,” says Michael Knight, VP of product marketing and supplier marketing at TTI Inc., which owns Mouser. “For example, engineers use the Mouser catalog to build their bill of materials, and we have automatic notices that go to them on replacement parts.”
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