The Importance of Partnering with a Procurement Specialist

Manufacturers navigating the complex landscape of global supply chains and ever-evolving markets need to do more than react to problems sourcing components as they arise. They need to take proactive measures to anticipate and circumvent the risks of upcoming shortages and delays.

Nowhere is this more true than in the area of electronic component procurement, where sudden shortages, unexpected lead times, and unpredictable stock levels can leave manufacturers in limbo while the production line goes down. Then, they scramble to source hard-to-find components they thought were abundant, pushed unexpectedly to the higher risks and costs of the secondary market. 

This is especially true for manufacturers in long-lifecycle programs, where the risk of shortages and obsolescence is greater.

This can be a huge ROI loss. Often, manufacturers think of these losses as an inevitable result of supply chain complexity – the cost of doing business. But with the right procurement advice, it is possible to take proactive measures to protect you from many of these losses. 

Your internal procurement team has the knowledge for the basics of locating parts and monitoring Product Change Notifications (PCN). But they may not have expertise in the more complex issues of determining true stock, anticipating shortages, vetting unknown component suppliers, or dealing with the aftermarket for obsoleted components. 

That’s why it’s important to partner with a procurement specialist who can warn you of future supply issues, offer strategies to keep things running, and maintain a list of vetted vendors who can make sure you can get the parts you need when you need them. 

The Procurement Perspective 

One of the key advantages of partnering with a procurement specialist is their ability to understand things from a vendor standpoint – because they have experience in both sourcing and merchandising electronic components. 

Manufacturers rely on their engineers to engineer out risk, and internal procurement teams focus on that engineer’s goals. But with long lifecycle programs, that engineer-focused approach can be increasingly undercut by the whims of a market that is designed to introduce new parts and discontinue existing ones on a much shorter timeline. 

Procurement specialists offer a broader expertise, having spent years or decades following the market -, anticipating obsolescence, shortages, inaccurate stock levels and unpredictable lead times. And, they have quality management systems in place that allow them to vet vendors and to take on the liability for any vendor issues. 

Procurement specialists closely track the market day after day, watching vendors’ reported electronic component stock levels, retainment schedules, restocking times, and purchase histories to determine how much risk there is to your ability to procure a part when you need it. They are procurement strategists who navigate the market the way a surfer navigates the waves, using their experience and knowledge to anticipate the next swell. 

Purchase Advice

Online parts listings are often inaccurate, so it’s not enough to just check availability now and assume that if a component you use is plentiful in listings it will be available when you need to make a purchase. 

Procurement specialists keep a close eye on the supply chains they deal with. This makes them able to offer proactive advice on the best time to procure your parts based on your production schedule, because they have accurate insight into the true product availability of a part. If they see inventory dropping, they can offer advance notice that a part’s availability may change and advise you on the most efficient time for procurement. 

Vendor Management

An experienced procurement specialist will have a list of vetted vendors with proven track records that they can go to when sourcing parts. And if you find a source of your own, they will be able to vet that electronic parts supplier to make sure that they have the proper processes, procedures, certifications in place to ensure that parts are as advertised.

Finding the Right Procurement Specialist

When you are considering a procurement specialist to work with, you’ll want to ask about their experience in your industry, and whether they have AS9120, AS6171, and AS6081 certifications ensuring their proper quality management, testing, and counterfeit avoidance systems.

But you’ll also want to pay attention to the questions they ask you – because that can tell you how well they know the industry and the parts you use.

Look for someone who asks about your flow down requirements, your testing needs, your program’s predicted length and whether there are plans for a tech refresh.

Beyond that, they should be asking about your goals and priorities. If they’re tracking your production date – is your ultimate goal to meet that date or to meet a certain budget? Are you open to the secondary market if necessary? These are the questions we ask. 

Secure Components has partnered with many manufacturers to fulfill their component needs. We also offer something other procurement specialists don’t – RAS (Resilient, Agile, and Secure) – a program and predictive software designed by procurement specialists specifically to keep manufacturers up-to-date on the availability of the parts they need, measure procurement risk, and advise clients on their best courses of action. 


How do I know the true stock level and true lead time for a component? 

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply go online and see what’s currently listed as available and what the lead time is. Stock can be double-listed by vendors who have access to the same component source. And if the vendor is sourcing parts rather than holding them in a warehouse, their lead time is an estimate based on an estimate they’ve received. 

This is why market understanding and vendor experience are so important. If you follow the market, you are able to recognize realistic and unrealistic availability and lead time numbers. And if you have a list of vendors with proven track records, you can be more confident that they are offering accurate information.

Isn’t that enough to watch for the PCN notice?

The PCN (Product Change Notification) is important, but relying on that alone means you are being reactive rather than proactive. If you’re not tracking the market then you won’t know when it’s coming. If it comes out when your budget has run out for the year or product managers are unavailable, then you could run into trouble.

The advantage of a procurement specialist is they can offer predictions that give you time to make purchase decisions in advance of shortages or obsolescence.

When I’m bidding or sustaining a program, how do I accurately budget for component parts?

Budgeting becomes increasingly difficult as a program ages and crucial parts become obsolescent or hard to procure. Procurement specialists who can offer predictive pricing can offer true insight into pricing so that you don’t get stuck carrying a margin that you hadn’t planned for.


Navigating the complexities of our supply chains is a difficult, time-consuming task.

Internal procurement teams are often too busy with the day-to-day tasks of procurement to spend time following the complex trends of unpredictable supply chains. 

Procurement specialists have deep, broad experience in sourcing components that give them the ability and insight to advise clients on the best way to deal with potential shortages and obsolescence management.

Predictive software can be used by procurement specialists to give proactive advice to clients that lowers their risks.

It’s important to have access to a list of proven, trustworthy vendors.

Experienced procurement specialists will be able to answer your questions and show their knowledge of your industry by asking the right questions of you.

Partner with Us

A good procurement partner should have the desire and ability to strategize, saving you money and increasing the success of your business. They should be able to understand and meet your goals and have the agility to change as your needs change, continuously providing information that’s relevant to your current programs, changed programs, and future programs.

That’s what we offer at Secure Components.  As an independent certified electronic component distributor, we have deep experience in sourcing components for long, life critical programs and have a constantly updated list of vetted vendors we work with to find the components you need. We are certified and experienced in counterfeit prevention, and we can take on the liability in sourcing components from the secondary market as needed.

We also offer the membership program RAS, that combines predictive software with procurement specialist expertise to offer you more accurate availability and lead time information as well as shortage predictions, actionable steps to lower risk and avoid catastrophe, and more.

We are true partners, meeting with you and really getting to understand your business and your processes, procedures, and priorities. Your success is our success. Contact us to learn more.

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