Digitising distribution: Page 2 of 2

July 15, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
As digital distributor Sourceability celebrates its fifth anniversary, CEO Jens Gamperl talks to Nick Flaherty
As digital distribution pioneer Sourceability celebrates its fifth anniversary, CEO Jens Gamperl talks to Nick Flaherty

Alongside Sourcengine, Sourceability operates also Surcle, which combines professional matchmaking, crowdsourcing, and a global supplier marketplace to accelerate hardware development. Start-ups and medium-sized businesses can post projects to a global network of engineers and manufacturers who bid with solutions to help product managers adapt to shifting priorities, unforeseen issues and internal time-constraints.

“With Surcle and, by extension, the Burn-In, we are aiming to support the design process from start to finish. Budgets are tight, especially when it comes to smaller teams and businesses. By providing access to a network of fellow innovators, we can help companies get over the line in terms of product development and reduce time to market,” said Gamperl.

The new BoM tool can dramatically simplfy the procurement process he says, allowing a BoM to be uploaded and sourced, along with flags for parts that may be coming to end of life. Suggestions are then made for more up-to-date parts. “The BoM tool allows you to source 2000 line items with a click – we do the consolidation of the logistics and quality control if necessary."

“We had a huge response to the launch at Electronica in 2018 but customers had issues with ERP and SAP systems and we had to integrate the data that is available through APIs to the ERP systems – that is where we got a boost compared to the catalogue distributors.

“We’ve been doing this for three months – we have the API with one large semiocnductor conpany for example to expand their digital footprint and reduce their distributors by the end of 2020. Our platform gives them the opportunity to compare what’s happening in the market."

But chip makers, system makers and customers are all at different stages of digital development. “Some suppliers have APIs for data but not for quoting, so we are giving our technology to the custom by delivering the API and the integration into the ERP and to the manufacture to take portions of our technology,” he said.

“Out of the top ten EMS [contract manufacturers] we have integrated our API into 4. They all get it through API. They have sophisticated technologies so they can use it inside their own world and we have long term relationships with these guys,” said Gamperl.

He highlights that the customer, small and large, needs full traceability and access to the manufacturer. “I’m not a franchise but I buy from them and sell through Sourceengine,” he said.

While the API works for the large manufacturers, getting the data from the smaller ones needs a different approach. “We use the different platforms to create content and projects for small and medium manufacturers,” he said. “Then their data ends up in Sourceengine to be available for our customers.”  

“Ultimately, we see ourselves as a tech company providing platforms that enrich the engineering community by giving every link in the supply chain the tools, solutions and network they need to do what they’re best at without being held back by unnecessarily complicated or inflexible logistics,” he said.

“What’s holding me back is the idea of complete digitalisation – a lot of manufacturers are not there yet, and the Tier One distributors have to figure out how they do this.”


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Jens Gamperl, CEO of Sourceability

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