Idears for early-on kit components sourcing
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Idears for early-on kit components sourcing

by itcamefrommars on Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:32 pm

Reading the Airharp post
- and the listed pricing for stocking for kits - I figured I'd share my thoughts on sourcing from eBay.
I've found some great deals on eBay on raw components - here's my idears.
It takes a little searching and scrounging skills, but hey - that's good practice for sourcing parts.
The time it takes and limited feasability of developing reliable supply chains therefore makes it fairy inefficient once you get going.

Here's the pluses -
- Great prices on standard passives and components.
- Sometimes you can establish some business relationships for supply chaining for you intermediate stage of running shop. Alot of chinese distributors are on ebay but are also wholesalers or business2business houses. Don't be afraid to ask everyone you buy from - but you won't get many responses from sellers if you didn't send a message along with a purchase. They read messages that are "questions" about the order you just made.
- Good practice on the beginning side of sourcing.
- It's a safe way to start communicating on the business side of things for those inexperienced in business and a little "shy" - I was like that a little bit many years ago.
- It can get you started making a spreadsheet listing comparisons of different distributors and prices. Always make sure you are getting a good deal though, and check the classic distributors also - mouser, digikey, jameco, newark, the element place if you're in UK - and even some wholesale houses - mpja,tayda,etc etc... (overseas but they ship to me from the states quickly, must have a warehouse here) - but not clearance houses as that's back to the unstable supply chain issue, and they usually don't have very usable components for good prices - like electronics goldmine and all those.
- surplus from factories can be found for absolutely stupid prices - mostly on reels too!
- get's you started thinking about logistics - delivery time, sample quality testing, keeping track of costs INCLUDING shipping, etc.
- get's you good feedback on ebay if you thinkin about selling your personal collections of pure raw elements, esoteric vintage computer stuff, midcentury vacuum tubes, etc... for funding your stocking. Those are what I sell...
- also it's fun!
- VERY importantly - If you sell random junk for funding it can get you used to customs forms, automated shipping creation, problems shipping to some countries (Italy - omg it sucks, Slovakia - got sent to slovatka or something first... $250 sale... scary stuff) and liability to protecting yourself if things shipped get lost in crazy customs in some countries.

And the negative -
- It's tempting to change designs based on what can be found on eBay. Don't do this, not reliable supply chain for such prices- usually.
- The supply chains you might find on eBay can be unreliable or have no guaranteed longevity.
- Only really for getting started, and you can always mouser it up if you have to quick stock something you need to make partially complete kits - but that can get pricey in the percentages at smaller quantities.
- whereas I've never had any problem whatsoever getting bad or low quality parts - oh that sounds like I don't mind if I get bad parts... haha - I suppose it is possible to get bad stuff - but ebay protects the heck out of buyers (don't get me started on how unfair it can be being frauded as a seller )...

Some examples I've found
10,000 7805's at USD $0.0092 each shipped... 8000 are 78L05 and 2000 are 78M05
5,500 on spool 1N4005 diodes at 60 bucks shipped (little wheel and dealing on that one)
200 Male headers/200 female headers 40x1 .1" at 50 bucks (not bad) shipped free
2000 6mm buttons at 60 bucks shipped...
3000 multilayer caps (the nice ones like adafruit uses) for 65 shipped - 0.1uF and 0.01uF
1000 1k 1/4 watt resistors (not the cheapo ones) - $7 shipped
etc, etc,... not all insane prices, but with free or low shipping costs - alot better than small quantities from mouser - etc... shipping can make a 10$ order not so good a deal when shipping it 11 bucks (that was a while ago... not sure if mouser is still that high shipping.)

Anyhow, I hope these thoughts and ideas might help.

And if anyone needs some 7805's - let me know... I have - ahem - a "few" extra... :)

- Mars
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Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:25 am

Re: Idears for early-on kit components sourcing

by itcamefrommars on Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:44 pm

Forgot to mention - reselling small quantities on eBay of volume purchased components has been awesome for guerrilla marketing... and getting customer emails (by permission of course) for announcing new kits, your launch, and new features and sales/deals/coupons for repeat/supporting customers! and has even funded a few hundred dollars worth of further initial stock sourcing.

I've sold so many 7805's - they've paid for themselves twice over.

A couple of more tres plussez for reselling -
- You learn the costs of shipping - and realize that shipping hacking is fun !
- You get used to the ideas of communicating and interacting with customers, and the time involved with that.

anyhow... I really hope this is of interest and I'd LOVE to hear more ideas about getting into the sourcing part of kitbiz...
It is biz... so profit margin has to be high. Don't sell your lemonade for 30 cents if it costs 25 cents to make.
That's just playing shop and tea party.

Cheers yet again! - marbashibidable (Mush-mouth for Mars - for fat albert fans.)
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:25 am

Re: Idears for early-on kit components sourcing

by mikeselectricstuff on Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:01 pm

Once you start buying things for production you realise that you can easily spend more time on part ordering than your time is worth in terms of parts cost. And that's just from conventional suppliers like Mouser, Digikey, farnell etc. Life's too short to go chasing a $0.002 saving on a resistor, even if you're buying thousands. There is also the major issue of counterfeit parts - one bad part on a board you've just built 100 of can cost many times any small savings in cost.
I'm not saying you should ignore potential cheap sources, but it's important to realise that it's only worth it for higher value items, carries some risk and is not sustainable long-term.

By all means design something around that cheap job-lot of normally expensive parts you stumbled on, but don't let that distract you from making the product you want, and focussing your efforts on creating something new, interesting, cool, unique etc.
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Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:21 pm

Re: Idears for early-on kit components sourcing

by itcamefrommars on Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:40 pm

Ah, thank you for stating it more eloquently!
Yes, I completely agree that once operational and self-supportive, scrounging is not time efficient at all.

I still find it very interesting indeed to do this as a possible source for some stuff (if you can find what you need) as it also really is "realizing" me to various caveats of online product sales before really opening shop.

I suppose one reason this works for me is also because I'm taking my time setting everything up, over-testing designs, and lots of research regarding various things.

As far as counterfeit parts... I'm mostly buying passives and 74xx chips or other such long term massive production chips.... so those aren't really a problem there. Because of the feedback system - i don't see it ever being a problem... not to mention on ebay - all you have to do is bark to get your money back... if you are the buyer.
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Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:25 am

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