Big business from supplying small quantities

KUALA LUMPUR: Britain-based element14 is offering a niche service — it supplies electronic components in very small quantities. It sells anything from one to a few hundred pieces of each component.

Its customers are typically university students, electronic design engineers, small-scale original equipment manufacturers, R&D staff, companies into automation, as well as those in the oil and gas industry.

Such small orders to the component manufacturers are usually ignored; they prefer to deal in thousands of units, and certainly not just a single piece needed by a student in a lab.

Here for about 10 years already, element 14 has about 5,000 customers in the country. It hopes to boost its customer base by about 1,000 new customers by year end, especially in the small and medium business segment.

element 14’s catalogue lists some 400,000 electronic components from about 3,500 suppliers, which it offers here and to the rest of the Asia Pacific region.

“A student or anyone else looking for electronic components for R&D or prototyping can get them from us,” said Patrick Wallace, its regional director for Asean and export. “We can deliver the parts within a day or two of receiving the order.”

The company has three distribution hubs — Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney.

element14’s e-commerce website also integrates seamlessly with its online community portal. This means it has a one-stop centre for engineers the world over, where they can collaborate and have access to the latest information, components, tools and services.


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