Why email is the enemy when buying parts?
written by Tony Powell
Everyone involved in the electronic parts industry knows the pain of email. Sure, it’s the most common way to transmit pricing and availability data, but it’s also a royal pain.
Inboxes quickly fill up with massive spreadsheet attachments. Information is lost in the clutter. Important messages are missed or forgotten. And highly sensitive data is left exposed.
Here are 5 reasons why email is a problem.
It’s a constant battle to move more emails out of your inbox than you receive in a day. It’s an assault that lasts all day and all night—and doesn’t stop for holidays, vacations, or weekends. The result? You don’t spend enough time working with your customers—and when you do, you’re often worried less about customer service and more about simply crossing something off your to-do list.
#2 It’s Insecure
Encrypted email attempts to offer a secure way of transferring data back and forth. The problem is, almost nobody in the electronic parts industry actually uses encrypted email. Encryption tools are cumbersome, and it’s common for senders and receivers to utilize incompatible platforms. Plus, once they’re decrypted, emails are still archived in an insecure fashion.
Any weak link in the chain renders the message vulnerable, and those weak links are everywhere. Even if you’re doing encryption right, what happens when your laptop is stolen, or you leave your smartphone at the movie theater?
#3 It Offers no Revision Control
Simply put, email is a data integrity nightmare. Think about it: There’s no revision control for a file once it’s been attached and sent. As a result, multiple versions of pricing books exist at any one time—old and new both. There’s simply no way to enforce that your counterpart is seeing the data you need them to see, or that you’ve received the correct data. And confirming the data, of course, means sending yet more emails or making phone calls.
#4 It’s Slow
It’s not so much that email itself is slow; it’s perfectly fine for zipping off quick notes and correspondence. The issues are with how email is often used in the electronic parts industry—sharing pricing and availability data.
Let’s say that you’re a distributor on the receiving end of an Excel pricing book from a supplier. It’s a big spreadsheet, so it spends at least a few minutes in transmission. When it arrives (assuming it isn’t instantly buried in your inbox by the hundreds of other messages you get each day), you need to open it, save it, and place it onto either your local hard drive or a shared environment. All this takes time; but if you don’t immediately take care of the attachment, you’ll probably never be able to find it again.
#5 It’s Expensive
Think about what wasted staff time costs your business. Or the expenses that always come with errors and confusion. Or the cost of recovering from a data breach. At the end of the day, email is not a cheap proposition. And that’s before you get to the costs of IT staffers to keep the system running (even as it’s stressed by thousands of massive attachments), data bills, and legacy hardware.
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Written by Tony Powell –
Tony co-founded Orbweaver Sourcing, LLC in 2012 and is the firm’s chief technology officer, where he is responsible for driving business strategy and all technological aspects of the company. In 2013, he worked with four other engineers to pass the patent, “protocol agnostic dynamic messaging platform and a system and a method thereof.”