Name Brand Computers and Laptops for Less

In the world we live in, we are downright spoiled with the choices we are provided. In the technology world it’s no different. From desktop computers to laptops to iPads we have so many options when it comes to computing. The user favorite appears to be a device which is mobile, lightweight and sleek (something that just looks cool)!

We are so accustomed to being given choices we wouldn’t have it any other way. When it comes to laptops and I-Pads some of the more popular choices on the market are high-quality name brand items such as Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba. Getting any one of these products is fairly easy enough either through their brick and mortar store or online.

It may take some searching but there are some lesser known websites with the same high quality products with less overhead that will sell the same or similar products cheaper! Products are sold brand new, new, refurbished or used. This gives the buyer many options to choose from when making a buying decision. It may not be necessary to purchase a particular product brand new. Saving money is everyone’s best friend… never met anyone who didn’t want to save a buck!

Tip# 1: When I shop whether it’s for food, clothing or items online for my family, I’m not necessarily brand loyal. I almost always go for the comparable item which is lower priced. How about you? Always read labels and take a quick look at online reviews at products; this can be done on your smartphone when you’re at the store prior to your purchase.

Tip# 2: In addition to shopping smart and finding the best price for the same product, I am always looking for an online company who offers Free Shipping on each of their products with no minimum purchase. You cannot always get all these advantages from one company. You just need to search for one that meets your needs.

Tip# 3: Coupons, coupons, coupons! Consumers think of coupons primarily when they shop at the supermarket. The fact is, most manufacturers (Apparel, Home and Garden, Electronics, Automotive, etc.) will send you coupons for their products by mail or have them posted on their website. Seek and ye shall find!

Tip# 4: Social media. Use the power of the internet to ask for opinions on a product, business establishment or proprietor. This will either confirm your first impression or have you running quickly in the opposite direction. Good luck!

Electronic Contract Manufacturing Today

Fifty years ago, all components of an electronic product were manufactured by the same company that produced the final product. This meant that the manufacturer had to purchase the raw materials, employ experts, carry inventory for each and every individual component that goes into the product. In addition, this made it extremely difficult for small companies with small runs to enter the market and compete.

The market was ready for ‘electronic contract manufacturers’ that specialized in the design and manufacture of specific components that would then be sold to the OEM to be placed in the final product. Narrowing the focusing of a company to just one product or component, allowed them to offer economies of scale in the acquisition of raw materials, talent and expertise in the design process, and equipment for production. This cuts costs for the original manufacturer and frees up their capital.

With this new structure, manufacturing companies were able to produce a better product, more efficiently, and easily scale up or down to customer demand. In the design development process, usually the most complex and difficult part of the process, a contract manufacturer is more likely to accumulate a team of experienced engineers that will focus their expertise on the specific component. In the production process, they are more likely to keep up with the latest, high tech equipment and state-of-the-art technology.

Suppose there is a problem with one of the components. If the manufacturer is producing all the components in-house, it may take a while before it is found – and maybe even after it has gone to the end-user. In addition, the problem has to be solved using in-house resources and capital. When working with a contract manufacturer, in many cases component flaws have already been caught long before they reach the OEM – often due to experiences with other manufacturers. Often a third-party view of the problem is what’s needed, and the resolution is solely on the shoulders of that third-party.

Since an ECM only purchases materials for the components they produce, they are able to purchase in bulk offering the OEM substantial cost savings. And since they are purchasing from their individual supplier in greater frequency, the manufacturer takes advantage of the strong relationships developed.

Finally, the contract company will thoroughly test the components they provide for quality. They will stay at the forefront of technology proposing improvements and upgrading their product so that it works better, lasts longer, and is more efficiently. This is a daunting task for the original manufacturer that has hundreds of components to keep up with.

An electronic contract manufacturer is an expert in the components they develop and provide. This expertise offers extreme value.

Considerations when choosing an Electronic Contract Manufacturing partner

For many companies, especially small to mid-sized companies, having a contract manufacturing partner is not only a good idea, it’s critical to the success of the business. Besides pricing structure and quality requirements, there are several other items that should be considered in evaluating potential partners:

How much and why do they want your business – Choose a partner with compatible objectives.

Some companies may only be interested in the amount of money at stake. While it is important that the numbers match up for the benefit of both parties, find out what their main driving force is. Larger contract companies may be interested in smaller manufacturing companies if they offer the opportunity to gain experience in an industry that is new to them. Or a product that has big growth forecasts.

Learning the answers to these questions is important before proceeding to the length process of submitting an RFP, and more critically, entering a partnership.

If the business principles do not match up, the OEM may not get the attention they need to make their product successful.

What will the ECM be looking for in a partner – Provide accurate forecasts

No one knows where an original manufacturer plans to go unless they see a well-developed forecast. If they want to make the most of the partnership, they need to inform the contract manufacturer about where they have been and where they plan to go in the future. This provides needed credibility.

The contract manufacturer will need to know what level of risk they are signing up for, while determining what level of resources will be needed to meet the requirements. Will they be able to purchase materials when needed, will they be able to handle the inventory?

What are the expectations regarding inventory

Determining up front what the policies and liability for inventory are between the two companies will minimize the possibility of conflict, and surprises. Understanding inventory issues and supply chain management, and actively making efforts to reduce exposure, is crucial when forecasts do not match up to sales, or a crisis occurs.

How will the ECM handle product changes

With electronics changing at lightning speed, changes are bound to occur fairly regularly. Find out the preferences for handling product changes, and the process they have taken in implementing them in the past with other customers is very important.

Defining the level of involvement expected by each party in the change proposal, analysis, and execution is important for the success of the partnership and the product itself.

Partnering with a company that has a large amount of experience in the multiple phases of a product lifecycle will provide valuable input in the various phases. Therefore, this experience as well as the documentation process should be discussed.

There are many aspects of electronic manufacturing that need to be considered when deciding on a manufacturing partner. These are some of the less obvious, but very important issues to make sure are not forgotten.

The Trouble With IT Disintermediation

An IT management client is concerned with some of their organization’s departments bypassing their traditional IT resource acquisition process, going directly to cloud computing vendors for their IT resource needs. Not really unique, as the cloud computing industry has really disrupted IT provisioning processes, not to mention near complete loss of control over configuration management databases and inventories.

IT service disintermediation occurs when end users cut out the middleman when procuring ICT services, and go directly to the service provider with an independent account. Disintermediation normally occurs when one of the following conditions exist:

    1. The end user desires to remain independent, for reasons of control, use of decentralized budgets, or simply individual pride.
    1. The organizational service provider does not have a suitable resource available to meet the end user’s needs
    1. The end user does not have confidence in the organizational service provider
    1. The organizational service provider has a suitable service, however is not able or willing to provision the service in order to meet the end user’s demands for timing, capacity, or other reasons. This is often the result of a lengthy, bureaucratic process which is not agile, flexible, or promotes a “sense of urgency” to complete provisioning tasks.
    1. The organizational service provider is not able to, or is unwilling to accommodate “special” orders which fall out of the service provider’s portfolio.
  1. The organizational service provider does not respond to rapidly changing market, technology, and usage opportunities, with the result of creating barriers for the business units to compete or respond to external conditions.

The result of this is pretty bad for any organization. Some of the highlights of this failure may include:

    • Loss of control over IT budgets – decentralization of IT budget which do not fall within a strategic plan or policy cannot be controlled.
    • Inability to develop and maintain organizational relationships with select or approved vendors. Vendors relish the potential of disrupting single points of contacts within large organizations, as it allows them to develop and sustain multiple high value contracts with the individual agencies, rather than falling within volume purchasing agreements, audits, standards, security, SLAs, training, and so on.
    • Individual applications will normally result in incompatible information silos. While interoperability within an organization is a high priority, particularly when looking at service-orientation and organizational decision support systems, systems disintermediation will result in failure, or extreme difficulty in developing data sharing structure.
    • Poor Continuity of Operations and Disaster Management. Undocumented, non-standard systems are normally not fully documented, and often are not made available to the Organization’s IT Management or support operations. Thus, when disasters occur, there is a high risk of complete data loss in a disaster, or inability to quickly restore full services to the organization, customers, and general user base.
  • There is also difficulty in data/systems portability. If/when a service provider fails to meet the expectation of the end user, decides to go out of business, or for some reason decides not to continue supporting the user, then the existing data and systems should be portable to another service provider (this is also within the NIST standard).

While there are certainly other considerations, this covers the main pain points disintermediation might present.

The next obvious question is how to best mitigate the condition. This is a more difficult issue than in the past, as it is now so easy to establish an account and resources through cloud companies with a simple credit card, or aggressive sales person. In addition, the organizational service provider must follow standard architectural and governance processes, which includes continual review and improvement cycles.

As technology and organization priorities change, so must the policies change to be aware of, and accommodate reasonable change. The end users must be fully aware of the products and services IT departments have to offer, and of course IT departments must have an aggressive sense of urgency in trying to respond and fulfill those requirements.

Responsibility falls in two areas; 1) Ensuring the organizational service provider is able to meet the needs of end users in a timely manner to assist the end use and 2) develop policies and processes which not only facilitate end user acquisition of resources, but also establishes accountability when those policies are not followed.

In addition, the organizational service provider must follow standard architectural and governance processes, which includes continual review and improvement cycles. As technology and organization priorities change, so must the policies change to be aware of, and accommodate reasonable change. The end users must be fully aware of the products and services IT departments have to offer, and of course IT departments must have an aggressive sense of urgency in trying to respond and fulfill those requirements.