The role of purchasing within an OEM or CEM is continuously expanding, and today’s purchasing professionals can heavily influence their company’s component selection. As influencers, their understanding of the parts they’re sourcing is critical to ensuring they make the right purchase at the right price and the right time. An educated buyer evaluates components, recognizes product quality requirements, and understands risk. This information is then used to make informed purchasing decisions. 


In the area of power supplies, these decisions may be made all the more challenging by the sheer nature of the product.  Design options are endless and may be more complex than other electronic components. Power supplies often have higher average selling prices (ASP) with long lead times, limited liability warranties, and stringent efficiency and safety requirements. Another consideration is the prevalence of power supplies amongst counterfeiters, and how easily a part may be sourced through unauthorized channels. With all of these challenges, what can a Purchasing professional do to source the best solution while protecting their company?


Understanding the complexities, efficiency and safety requirements of power supplies has a far-reaching, positive impact.  The best and easiest way to gain that understanding is to work with an authorized distributor that specializes in power conversion products.  This is even more critical as future power supplies will push the boundaries of technology, getting the most power into the smallest package while staying ahead of the latest safety and EMI/EMC requirements.  


An authorized distributor focused on power knows that by lowering the amount of wasted energy within the power supply, it runs coole- and aids in the thermal design of the overall system.  Less heat generated by the power supply allows the component size to be reduced or more power to be generated within the same package size.  For instance, not so long ago a 3”x5” power supply was designed to handle 40W of power.  Today, that same 3”x5” power supply can handle 250W with no airflow or up to 500W with air blowing across it. Standardizations in footprints (2”x3”, 2”x4”, 3”x5”, etc.), has allowed for more opportunities within the same footprint, but the number of options may be limitless. Having a resource to help guide purchasing through the buying process can save a lot of time, aggravation and money in the long-term.


Additionally, keeping up with changing standards is a constant challenge.  The international safety standards for power supplies, as well as end systems, are constantly being updated. EMI and EMC requirements are also changing based on new technology and how devices interact with each other.    The increase in electronic devices in our homes and businesses require more stringent requirements.  Electrostatic discharge (ESD) requirements have gone to higher levels to accommodate increased home use.  The susceptibility levels resulting from the presence of multiple electronic devices have also been raised to account for the proliferation of mobile phones, Wi-Fi networks, smarter appliances, and the internet of things (IoT) that are all connected wirelessly. The increase in medical devices for home healthcare brought about the need for additional safety standards as well. Authorized distribution works closely with power supply manufacturers to stay on top of these changes.


Sourcing smaller, more efficient, warrantied, and safe products, from an authorized power specialist like Sager Power Systems, a specialized group within Sager Electronics, will ultimately result in cost savings and an enhanced return on investment for a purchasing professional and their companies.