When taking a project from design, engineering, to testing and manufacturing there are many ways to save money and just as many ways to run up cost if you are not educated on the process.

1. Ask questions of your suppliers.

If you are new to the procurement process and working direct with suppliers, find out how long they have been in the business.  Do they have long term relationships? Are they able to locate hard to find or obsolete components? What is their history with similar projects?  Do they have the appropriate licensing to ship the components to your manufacturer?

2. Protect your time and let experts do the leg work.

Often the design or manufacturing firm will have the supplier network to get what is needed for your project.  While you might save a few bucks on the actual invoice to do the leg work of procuring parts on your own, your time has value.  Using a Turn Key firm may allow you to save thousands in your labor or the labor of your team.  When your designer or manufacturing firm does the procurement, odds are they are buying for several customers and thus can negotiate better pricing based on the frequency of orders.

3. Before you procure, find out if someone has it in store.

Time and time again we see customers jump through the hoops of procuring components based on engineer or design specs. After that they send the specs and the parts to a manufacturing, never realizing some of the components may be part of Electronics Manufacturing Service (EMS) provider’s regular inventory.

4. Collaborate with your vendor instead of just placing an order.

If you are concerned a discussion regarding the various stages and needs of your project will compromise an honest RFQ, then simply put, find a different vendor. When you work in collaboration with a vendor who wants the best for you, not only do you have an expert looking how to cut costs for you, but you have someone who is looking out for your best interest.  Never choose a vendor just based on the price . . . look at the entire organization to determine if their values and standards are a match for yours.

5. Understand procurement is a process.

Expert procurement firms know there are stages to effective procurement that require different skills.  From the planning, administering, managing and closing.  Often the expert team can work through the process twice as fast for half as much as an infrequent procurement agent.

Understanding how to get the most out of the procurement process and partnering with vendors who have a shared interest in providing you with outstanding service is the best way to assure your projects are delivered on-time, on-budget and with a commitment me to your satisfaction overall.