It is now impossible to imagine a world without e-commerce. The convenience of being able to browse an enormous global range of products, get personalized suggestions, read detailed product information, order in a few clicks and have the goods arrive at your door within days (or even hours), explains why e-commerce will soon account for 17.5 percent of global retail sales.
This business-to-consumer (B2C) purchasing is clearly very different from business-to-business (B2B) buying, but here too, e-commerce is booming. Global B2B e-commerce sales were forecast to be over $6.6tnby 2020 – more than double the figure for B2C. And within the B2B space, e-commerce websites and marketplaces increased sales by 18.2% in 2019, to $1.3 trillion.
A shift in approach
Despite this growth of online B2B purchasing, many electronics component purchasing professionals defer to traditional sales-team centred procurement. Buyers build up relationships with sales representatives and speak to them directly when they need to establish prices, component availability and lead time as well as getting the inside track on new solutions. This can run across numerous franchises or hybrid distributors meaning buyers can end up replicating the process any number of times before completing their BOM.
While this approach has served purchasing managers well for decades - especially in terms of buyer trust and access to expertise, its drawbacks in today’s market are becoming increasingly evident.
Nowadays, the ability to respond fast to opportunities and threats, by bringing new or updated products to market, is more important than ever. This demands a level of agility that traditional procurement doesn’t necessarily support in isolation. In an industry that must navigate a supply chain that crosses borders, time zones and potentially volatile markets - the benefits of a digitalized model can no longer be dismissed.
A digitalized supply chain
A truly digitalized supply chain should build on the strengths of conventional electronics component sourcing in terms of trust and reliability but adds