We Have It In Stock

SparkFun keeps 98% of our products in stock. Checkout some of the competitor's numbers.

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We love Mouser and Digikey. They carry everything. On the flip side, we like to think we are the 'filter' to Digikey; when you're just getting started in electronics Digikey can be overwhelming! We know you probably just need the red 5mm LED. Where Digikey has over 445,000 different LEDs, SparkFun tries to carry the LEDs you will probably need. Once you learn how to navigate these two sites you'll be able to find the more esoteric parts that you might need for your project. But how much do they actually have in stock, ready to ship? It's actually pretty shocking how little they have in stock.

At the time of writing, Digikey has:

Mouser has:

On the flip side, SparkFun has been working hard to produce and stock the correct volume of product. Thanks to the work of a big group of extraordinary people (Jordan, Joe, Randy, Prashanta, Kim, Dean, Matty, and all of production), SparkFun has 98% of our products in stock at any given moment. Jordan is our director of inventory and has been working hard to keep our inventory in stock and turning over regularly. Here is a snapshot of the weekly graphs she's generating and watching:

Combined in stock graph

This graph shows all the parts we have in the building that are actively being sold.

The moral of this graph: we keep everything in stock nearly 98% of the time and we're generally getting better at it. Let's start with some terminology:

  • Combined means this represents both the 450 or so products we manufacture and the 3,000 products we re-sell.
  • Burnable is an internal term we use to designate products that we plan to continue carrying. Once we've decided to stop carrying a product we stop monitoring its in stock rate.
  • Virtual in stock means you can order it right now.
  • Physical in stock means we have stock on the shelf, but it may be spoken for by another party so SparkFun.com shows it as out of stock. This happens when we're waiting for payment or we're waiting for other parts on an order to come back in stock so that we can ship the complete order.

Commerce parts and assemblies in stock

Here we break apart components (stuff we resell) and assemblies (the products designed and produced here at SparkFun). When we're at the mercy of suppliers, our stock is a little lower at 97%. When we build it ourselves, our production department does a pretty amazing job of keeping the SparkFun products in stock (as high as 99%).

Physically in stock graph

The graph shown above is a fairly nuanced. This shows that around 1% of our products have parts on the shelf (physical inventory) at any given time, but they are shown as virtually out of stock on the website. This gives us a feel for how many open orders we have that are tying up physical stock on the shelf and causing products on the storefront to be out of stock.

AList in stock graph

We split our stock into different tiers. The A-list contains the products that are the highest volume, highest profit, and have the most number of peripheral products that rely on it. We try to keep everything in stock but we focus on the A-list. You can see it's more volatile because these products are in higher demand.

It's a constant battle and the DoI (department of inventory) is always working hard. We think we've struck a pretty good balance between the size of our inventory and keeping the really important stuff in stock. We don't have a forklift yet, but the day is quickly approaching!

Comments 44 comments

  • CVBruce / about 9 years ago * / 8

    Come on guys, the whole point of the blog post is that Sparkfun provides a service by curating a list of parts, and maintaining a high stock level to assure availability. Not to mention the vast store of knowledge on how to use these parts. To beginners like me, you begin to realize that this is a small price to pay for a successful project. As you advance in skill, you may not need this additional service, but don't discount it for all of us just because you don't need it.

  • Leif / about 9 years ago / 6

    I'd just like to add, that man I love this blog. I'm a design engineer, I love DigiKey/Mouser...buy stuff for designs and product manufacturing all the time. But they don't have a blog explaining how they do things. it's just so refreshing. Thank you,

  • For me, buying from SF, isn't about knowing you have it in stock. It's about the great support you have for every item you do stock. From the basic data sheet to fully documented use via your loving customers. I use Mouser when I need a 1/2 watt .75 Ohm 1% SMD resistor. These are one off things that you wouldn't normally need. I do like the reassurance that the products I've previously bought will more than likely be stocked if/when I need them again. Or a substitution is supplied.

    Thanks for the graphs. I love graphs. It's funny seeing 11/29/12 section of each graph taking dips. What happened here? Was it a free day or something? ;')

    • It’s funny seeing 11/29/12 section of each graph taking dips. What happened here? Was it a free day or something? ;‘)

      Huh. Good question. I'm guessing Cyber Monday.

      • That sounds like the best explanation. Need to keep this in mind come December 2nd -> 12th 'ish. The stock will be a touch lighter than normal.

  • Soshimo / about 9 years ago / 3

    Here's an anecdote for you (hopefully I don't get anyone in trouble over this). I ordered the Audio Amplifier Kit - STA540 about a year ago. During the soldering process I accidentally lifted a pad. I asked about a bare PCB so I can continue (I made the mistake early on). While Sparkfun does not offer bare PCB's for that kit, Mike sent me out a completely new replacement! I still owe him a video of my MAME machine working with the STA540 :). You would NEVER get that kind of customer support from digikey / mouser. I'm just another number to them - a small number at that. Sparkfun treats you the same whether you have ordered $20 or $2000 worth of parts. For my DIY fix, Sparkfun is the go to place for me.

  • scharkalvin / about 9 years ago / 3

    Both Digikey and Mouser list parts that are "special order". Some expensive development kits are stocked in quanties of single digits and they don't reorder them until someone puts one on backorder. Some suppliers (such as Atmel!) often had long lead times for parts as anyone trying to buy Xmegas well knows. (Though the shortage of these parts has eased recently, it could resurface at anytime). I suspect they even list stuff that they never ever had in stock, but would order them for anyone who was willing to wait. Certain helical filters come to mind. At least their websites give you a clear picture of what you CAN order and not have to wait on backorder for, though I did once get burned by Mouser when their stock ran low on an item and their website was a few minutes (hours?) behind reality. I hope yours is kept in sync with the available stock!

    • I hope yours is kept in sync with the available stock!

      Agonizingly in sync, though I'm fully prepared to admit the ability to keep the numbers as realtime as they are is partially a luxury of our (tiny) scale.

  • Member #134773 / about 9 years ago / 3

    As a Principal Design Engineer who, amongst other things, designs electronics (I've only done one schematic today, but the day is still young), I use DigiKey on a daily basis (and Mouser frequently). My first observation is that both of their websites provide the ability to show only in-stock parts. Also, the same part is frequently shown 3 times: once for U.S. "small quantity", once for U.S. "full reel", and once for "overseas pricing". So if they happen to have 3 reels and a few loose parts, it'll show up on all three as "in-stock".

    I generally look at Spark Fun's web site daily, as it is both entertaining and enlightening, and I buy from them frequently for my "home projects", and once in a while get some stuff for use at work.

    BTW, there are a number of other suppliers around that can be useful, but I don't get on their websites nearly as often.

  • Member #248119 / about 9 years ago / 3

    I've been told about this stock system previously, but these graphs and the explanations make me giddy. Honestly, love this data and this approach and really enjoyed the blog post.

  • I call statistical shenanigans. Many of the parts listed by Digikey & Mouser are variants of the same part and are not intended to be normally stocked, so the in-stock rate of parts that Digikey & Mouser intend to actually have in stock is much higher than 30%. And I'd expect the Sparkfun stock rate would have to be even higher because many of Sparkfun's products are unique and don't have alternatives, so if it's out of stock you're out of luck.

    • andy4us / about 9 years ago / 2

      My first thoughts, for instance, say an LPC2103 might be available in 1's, tape, etc. SO basically you can't go too much what their search is going by. Anyway, it doesn't matter ! It's about what Sparkfun is doing, but unfortunately, it's the contrast at the beginning that everyone is concentrating on !

      Have to tell you, my major gripe about any place is slow shipping when it shows stock. I can handle out of stock delays, drop ship from mfr delays etc, but it just really bugs me when an order sits as in-process to several days. Not saying this is a Sparkfun problem, just where I think any company should concentrate on. My preference too, is a commitment that all shipments ship by COB the next day if everything in stock, rather than all orders placed before 12pm ship same day, because then I get the feeling that my later order keeps getting bumped so those orders can get shipped.

      Congrats though Nate on running a company that takes pride in these things. I'm sure most accountants will advise against such a heavy stock position, but it shows you value your customers.

      • So like many online retailers we do have a [same-day shipping policy](https://www.sparkfun.com/pages/customer_service#Same-Day Shipping). When we put it together, though, care was given to make sure we didn't do exactly what you describe - focusing so much on the "same-day" orders that the ones not placed in time to qualify get bumped day after day. Our solution is to look at all orders by age. At any given time it's trivial to look up how many unshipped-but-shippable orders in the system are older than 24 hours, older than 48 hours, etc. The shipping then crew staffs itself to be able to keep everything moving as quickly as possible, even the orders not placed "same-day".

        • Member #361168 / about 9 years ago / 1

          I love SF, Mouser and Digi-Key but I have to say Digi-Key has the best shipping timing ever... I placed a HUGE order at 9p.m. EST and received an "order shipped" notification at 10p.m.... It was at my door (in Canada) before noon the next day. Now THAT trumps any other same-day shipping policy I've every dealt with!

          • MikeGrusin / about 9 years ago / 1

            Same here. I once placed an emergency order at Digi-Key, and immediately realized I hadn't chosen overnight shipping. I called them within minutes and the very nice person said that they unfortunately couldn't change it because my order had already been already packed... It still arrived on the second day. Amazing.

  • vind0 / about 9 years ago / 2

    This is an interesting article with facts to support it. Well done. I really like ordering things from Spark Fun because I really like to support companies that do what you guys do.As many others have stated the tutorials and discussions are fantastic and that's not going to happen on these big electronics sites. Have you guys thought of doing something similar on Newark Electronics? Many times if I need something fast, I go with them since I am East Coast and they ship from SC, I get my stuff in about 2 days. I think they stock a lot of items. Keep up the great work here. Although I do deal with a few sites when it comes to my electronics, Spark Fun is definitely the most, well, fun and the site stays fresh with new stories everyday, etc.

  • BB / about 9 years ago / 2

    I realize SF provides a community and culture to its customers. I respect that. But if you're going to start making comparisons at the business level about stocks or whatever... well, I'm going to list the alternatives and why they're better in many other important respects. As for the stocks themselves, these are pretty lame comparisons. It's like comparing a country like Denmark to China (not saying Denmark is lame). Stock is okay, but most of those unstocked parts at Digikey/Mouser are products you wouldn't even buy anyway. Some weird variant chip that is military grade. A strange heatsink for some odd chip. Some obsolete amplifier that was phased out a year or two ago. These things won't matter to Sparkfun people. For everything else, they have an excellent selection. Plus, when it comes to delivery, Mouser/Digikey probably have more stocks of just particular resistors than Sparkfun has of total products.

    You guys shouldn't concentrate on your stocks however, or for that matter anything that you could compare directly with these big companies. For me, I really only buy from Sparkfun when I want a hard-to-incorporate/source chip in a breakout-board, protoboards, or nifty esoteric products such as nifty buttons, LCDs, or vending machine slots or all that kind of cool stuff. Sometimes your tools are nice too, and I'll buy wire from you if I'm getting something else, but I can get most of that stuff them in larger, but cheaper multiples from Chinese stores or from Amazon.com.

    However, for most parts that Mouser/Digikey/eBay/Amazon may also carry, Sparkfun is not even on my list. Sparkfun charges way too much for what are predominantly bulk components. $0.25 for a 1/6th Watt resistor? $0.15 for diodes? That's too much. Add the cost of shipping and often you're paying a dollar each or more for what is a $0.03 component. Your example of the LEDs "we need" is also a perfect example: what many of us "need" (or want) are LEDs in quantity at good prices. It's no fun with one stupid LED. What do we get at Sparkfun? RGB LEDs at $2/LED. No thanks. I turn to eBay. For the price of about 5x RGB LEDs on Sparkfun I can get a hundred. Don't try to compare quality -- they're all these no-name Chinese brands anyway. Hell, even Mouser generally charges less, and they're at least name-brands.

    Where Mouser and Digikey truly shine is in bulk purchases. I can get thousands of diodes, capacitors, and resistors for few tens of dollars. They're in nice boxes, ready to use, and shipping is no more than SF. Sparkfun is like a much better online Radio Shack. That can be both good and bad. Good because of the nostalgic legacy of Radio Shack as the (historical) place to go for hobby electronics. Bad, because these days you only go to Radio Shack because you need parts in an emergency and realize you'd get a much better deal if you had more time. Still, at least Sparkfun is nowhere near Radio Shack in terms of being just a cell phone shop.

    Another thing keeping me from buying more from SF for small purchases is the cost of shipping. That extra $7 or something to get parts to my door makes any small order expensive. What used to be an overpriced $2 LED is now an extremely overpriced $9 LED. To compensate, one must either consolidate orders -- which makes less expensive, but slower shipping shops more attractive -- or buy in bulk. Unfortunately, Sparkfun's bulk prices are not very cost-competitive, so I look to the big parts shops for big orders, or buy products from China or Amazon where I don't have to take a hit on shipping. Even ignoring eBay, shops out of China are also extremely competitive these days: a huge glut of breakout boards, parts, and other goodies that matches and often surpasses Sparkfun's selection. They lose out on shipping time, but at least their shipping is free -- courtesy of Chinese subsidization. Fortunately, I can create a big order of bulk parts and be set for a while.

    So for Sparkfun, I'd concentrate less on competitive things like price, stock, or shipping, and instead concentrate on things like service, community, and engagement. The latter are what sets Sparkfun apart from the rest. The former have generally been equaled or surpassed by others.

    • Member #465493 / about 9 years ago / 4

      Your point about SF being a more successful "Radio Shack" rings true. The whole point of SF isn't to buy single components -- though you do have the option if you want to piggyback an existing order. The point of SF is to buy near-day-one ready designs and devices instead of going through the trouble of buying a part, designing a breakout board, etc. It cuts down on development time by several weeks.

      As an engineer, having a resource like SF readily available is invaluable.

      • BB / about 9 years ago / 1

        You're right about that. The access to chips that I couldn't mount myself, or would have to design a board around -- the whole breakout board concept -- is definitely one of the things Sparkfun does right, and one of the original attractions for me.

    • So for Sparkfun, I’d concentrate less on competitive things like price, stock, or shipping, and instead concentrate on things like service, community, and engagement. The latter are what sets Sparkfun apart from the rest. The former have generally been equaled or surpassed by others.

      I don't know about everyone else in this building (actually, I kinda do) but I agree with this 200% (and so do they). Except where it comes to shipping. The push for better shipping options turns out to be something that most of our customers care a whole lot about.

      That said, I don't think that Nate meant to compare us to Digikey in a competitive way. That would be, as many people have now pointed out, pretty silly. And Nate has sense enough to know that, that's how we made it this far. In fact, Digikey is one of our suppliers and we're pretty happy with their stock availability on the items we source from them. They're a giant, after all.

      The point of this post, for me, is in contrasting our business model against Digikey. It's not a bad thing that Digikey only has a 20 or 30% in-stock rate, that's how they do business!! And it works!! Despite the differences between us, we're often compared to Digikey and Mouser (on price, especially) and Nate's point (so far as I can tell) is that exactly what people have been saying here: it's Apples and Coconuts.

      Also, the fact that we've roused some rabble here, as it were, gives us some really great feedback about what people value from us. It distracts a little bit from what I suspect was one of the goals of the piece, though, and that's to give **massive, squishy, feel-good kudos to our Director of Inventory and the efforts of her department to keep us in this condition. **

      • massive, squishy, feel-good kudos to our Director of Inventory and the efforts of her department to keep us in this condition

        Yeah; I read this mostly as an expression of something that I've noticed a lot lately, which is that our in-stock rates are way better than they used to be. I notice that mostly because we jump through a lot of hoops in order to support backorders and deal with out of stock things in the catalog. It wouldn't surprise me if half of the complexity in how we handle orders in code is down to that requirement. What I've been seeing over the last year or so is that it's basically impossible to test for that stuff against the actual state of the system overall, because there's just not much that goes out of stock for long.

  • SuperCrackMunkey / about 9 years ago / 2

    What I personally love about this site isn't it's shipping (which sucks here in MT even when you guys ship it same day.) It's the amount of thought and explanation that goes into each and every product post. It's extremely helpful to us beginners and in general if you don't know exactly what you need, or if they make an IC to replace a circuit, etc. I really appreciate what you do here, thank you.

  • astinsan / about 9 years ago / 2

    It is better to keep is small and simple. Gordon Ramsey method. I have worked for a major retailer in the inventory and freight departments and I can tell you it is hard to predict what will be popular out side of the normal seasonal items. There is also a system called CAR (Computer Automated Replenishment) this can reorder inventory based on trends and trigger levels. It is a bear still to keep it working properly because it doesn't know if you have damaged or dented products.. or if someone sent out the wrong items and you shrank in some area.. so there is a lot of maintenance. So my point is simple is better and profitable.

    • So our analogous system is called The Burn (which is also where that "Burnable" terminology comes from). Right now we're on Burn version 3. I built versions 1 and 2, and our data analyst Randy built the current version.

      Working on the Burn is an exercise in enforcing simplicity in an overly-complicated world. You're absolutely right that the KISS principle reigns supreme here. Training is also something that can't be understated. When building a machine to predict future demand it will be wrong to varying degrees and often, so placing a heavier emphasis on training users to understand how the system is rationalizing its reports helps the humans operate without placing blind trust in a perpetually flawed system.

      As a fun aside, Burn v1 was passive in its predicitons whereas Burn v2, using a different underlying methodology, was much more aggressive. This shift wasn't effectively trained into purchasers before we dove all the way in (my fault, ultimately) and our stock ballooned - fast. The episode brought us close to cash death, or a negative cash flow. Left unchecked for a sustained period it could sink any business, and we caught it fast and learned from it, but at the time it was sobering to see how easy it could be to swerve a business off the road and into a tree.

  • Member #68567 / about 8 years ago / 1

    The moral of the story is to do what you say. You have 1 million parts, then list 1 million and not 10 million.

    I found this news article by looking for a place to get a rant about DK of my chest and not a comparison to it and SF.

    I have used Digikey and the like for over a decade. I have grown tired of the Stock Wars. This concerted effort of advertising the number of parts you have in a catalog has gotten out of hand. These pointless large numbers blasted on their website does not help me one iota. As said here by others, 1/2 the catalogs are variants which are not kept on stock but are listed just for show. 1/2 of the 1/2 that is stocked are just a different package such as cut-tape and reel. I need no deception when I place an order. By the time I get down to narrowing the criteria for parts new and for parts used over the years there ends up being 5 to 6 to actually select from. If I take it a step further clicking on the show in stock option, I get list of 3 to 4 parts. Of course each is a different pin package, qfn, dip, ssop, in effect my choices are morphed to a lucky charm as I cross my fingers hoping the package I need is in stock.

    I can appreciate QTY of 0 when in fact parts were ordered and await for manufacture re-up. What I dislike is the search for a part I have not used before which usually ends with a QTY of 0, all 4 pages of listed parts. Time gone to waste. Not talking about parts exhausted. Talking about parts that never again are restocked or frankly as I suspect NEVER were stocked but used to keep up the troop count in this stock war.

  • bombledmonk / about 9 years ago / 1

    According to this article Digi-Key at least tries to maintain a 95% stock rate on those things that are considered "Stocking." Interview with Mark Larson

  • DemolishManta / about 9 years ago / 1

    Thank you for keeping your active products in stock. This is part of the reason our company uses your equipment and products. We can get duplicates of boards and widgets to solve our engineering needs without fabricating boards. I also like the standardization of development environments for your sensors. For example the IMUs that use Arduino dev environment. This saves me time.

  • I'm sorry, but I can't take this blog post seriously. SFE is great at lots of stuff -- but stocking components isn't one of them. Just look at microcontrollers. SFE only carries 16 different MCUs. No, I don't mean 16 different families -- I mean 16 different chips. 7 AVRs and 9 Microchip PICs. Where are my MSP430s? Where are my HC08s? 8051s? And what about ARM microcontrollers (which are cheaper/faster/better than any 8-bit MCU they carry)? No STM32s, no Freescale Kinetis, no NXP LPCs -- not even Atmel ARMs.

    And look at the microcontrollers they do carry: almost all of them are ANCIENT. They're selling old PIC16F877s and 18F2520s, for example. Who would possibly use those in new designs? Where are the LF series? Where are the newer ones, (something like the highly-useful, and very cheap PIC16LF1825)? I would expect DigiKey/Newark/Mouser to stock old MCUs for old production designs, but why does SFE bother?

    SparkFun seems to be oblivious to the heavy-duty war raging on between the 8-bit proprietary designs and the 32-bit ARMs. Microchip is rushing to keep pumping out cheaper/better/faster 8-bit MCUs (none of which SFE carries) while the Cortex-M0 is taking over the entry-level market, while 72 MHz Cortex-M3s (again, not stocked by SFE) are cheaper/better than Atmel AVRs.

    SparkFun's stock makes me feel like I'm living in 1998.

    Please stop bragging about your component stock, and instead, brag about stuff you're actually good at -- like your awesome community and open-source development boards.

  • Madbodger / about 9 years ago * / 1

    I've been an electronic hobbyist for quite some time now, and for parts I'm familiar with and/or buy in quantity (like blue rectangular LEDs for a Ghostbusters proton pack), I'll order from Digikey/Mouser/whoever. But when I'm less familiar with a part (for example an I2C current regulated LED driver IC), I happily go with Sparkfun's pre-chosen popular parts with solid support. Additionally for many surface mount parts, I'll buy the breakout board from Sparkfun to get started. I get a lot of value out of all my suppliers, but different ones serve different needs. Even though I'm pretty high on the learning curve by now, Sparkfun's approach is a big help to me when I'm working on something new and different. Because of this, I can fully appreciate how they're even more helpful for beginners who (like Nate said) just need a red LED or two and could be overwhelmed by the available options. I just checked on Digikey - there are a dozen categories for LEDs, and for in-stock, through-hole, discrete, red LEDs in reasonable quantity alone, there are over 350 different choices.

  • dp2 / about 9 years ago / 1

    How does their in-stock rating compare to yours on the items you have in stock? THAT is the true comparison. The vast majority of the stuff your "competitors" don't have in stock are items that are rarely ordered by anyone unless they need a huge quantity of them, in which case some manufacturing needs to happen to fill the order. Chances are just about nobody who shops here would ever order those items.

    These pretty graphs are nothing except a good exercise for a student reading this: http://tinyurl.com/n9ocj3e

  • AdrianFreed / about 9 years ago / 1

    Thanks Nathan for pointing out some alternative sources to Sparkfun, I have not had faulty parts or designs from many thousands of dollars bought from Adafruit, PJRC, Digikey, Mouser and others. I do however have quite a few boards with design flaws or poor manufacturing from Sparkfun so most of my business now goes elsewhere. In the early days I would tell others that Sparkfun was great because, although they do make mistakes, they will respond well to your feedback. I now feel otherwise. I would rather pay a few dollars more for better , more thoroughly thought through and tested designs. This TLC is an engineer's way of expressing care and that they value their customer's time. Recent examples of this every expanding choice of quality engineering with the customer in mind include the Seeedstudio grove ecosystem or this very well integrated wifi sensor/actuator system: http://www.x-io.co.uk/products/x-osc/

    • While I'm naturally disappointed that we've turned you off, I would also say "amen to that, brother". It's been a long, hard road for us on that front (quality of products and taking some more time in development), and we owe a debt of gratitude to our competitors for spurring us on. After all, that's ultimately how open source hardware is supposed to work, right? We try to make our stuff better while we build off the work of others (and still giving attribution). I'm sorry that you've chosen to close the door on us, but if you'd care to give us the opportunity to make it right, we'd jump at the chance.

      As the head of the engineering department, I'm happy to take responsibility for your discontent, and happy to act upon it if you'd choose to let me/us. We've made huge strides in the last year with regard to quality, revisions and tech support. We post everything we have with regard to product design for any and all to see and use, and we're entirely transparent. I can very easily say that I'm proud to work here with these people.

    • LightManCA / about 9 years ago / 2

      Hmm I haven't had the same problem with Sparkfun at all. All their stuff works, unless I somehow fry it. However I am surprised you note Seeed Studio has having great products. I have picked up their arduino protoshield from Radio Shack because I needed a shield, and I have to say it really bites... they include parts that don't fit on the board, and aren't even connected to traces in any logical way. Sparkfun for sure doesn't do that.

  • Member #353586 / about 9 years ago / 1

    I do appreciate knowing this information and seeing the graphs.

  • DCSW / about 9 years ago / 1

    Cool, thanks for this insight. I'm curious though, do you have any info you can share on the number of stock turns for SF's inventory? Has that been improving over the years?

    • I should really have Jordan our director of inventory answer this but I believe we have around a 5x turn on storefront product and ~3x turn on production parts. To be honest, I think you've nailed a very important lesson. While we have kept more parts in stock over the past 12+ months we have seen a slight decrease in the number of turns (from ~6x to 5x per year).

  • ArMaker / about 9 years ago / 1

    445000 LED is simply BS. There are 445,000 products with the string "led." Anything "RED" would be counted. Maybe you might consider items only in the "opto-electronics" category. Off by at least one order of magnitude.

    • phalanx / about 9 years ago / 9

      Wound a little tight aren't we?

    • co_buckfast / about 9 years ago / 1

      I'm in complete agreement. The setup for the story is complete nonsense.

      Good thing for SparkFun is if Nate ever gets lost or can't fulfill his duties, a similar search for "Nate" on Digikey shows they have 79,780 Nate's available. If even 10% of those are in stock, SparkFun can always get another Nate. (Well, if by Nate you mean some random RG178 coax cable that matches the search for Nate amongst all the other bogus Nate matches).

  • Cliff K3LL / about 9 years ago / 1

    Being in stock is great, but it also has a cost. Hope you're looking at other metrics like turns, cost of operations/replenishment and gross profit on your road to continued success.

    • there's a mention of it in the second paragraph.

      • Cliff K3LL / about 9 years ago * / 1

        Yes, for turns, but you can achieve high fill rate with appropriate turns while driving the cost of operations/replenishment through the roof and/or creating excess and obsolete inventory. My point is that it is just not one or two things that you need watch out for, but several. There are also competing/conflicting goals when you are also doing manufacturing.

        Have you guys looked at...

        [The Goal](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Goal_(novel)) DRP MRP

        • The Goal was semi-required reading last year, and has proven very useful since. We do keep an eye on our gross profit and costs, especially when deciding what products to keep stocking (the "burnable" designation), and regarding our target turns. We're constantly assessing our balance between how much stock we can reasonably resupply and carry and how much variety we want to offer without making someone wait for more than the shipping time.

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