Electronic Design

Fast Turnaround Times Drive Successful Sensor Manufacturers

Designers and investors alike should take a closer look at the proximity and photoelectric sensor market. A recent study by Venture Development Corp., Natick, Mass., says this industry totaled $614 million in 1999. Also, its 6.7% compound average annual growth rate (CAGR) will carry it to about $847 million by 2004. Overall unit consumption will increase at an 8% CAGR during this same period.

Yet manufacturers need to stay sharp to benefit from this growth. Today's customers aren't just asking for lower prices. They also want new sensor features and improved performance. And, Venture says that users are placing new demands on sensor shapes, sizes, and housing materials. Rapid delivery is crucial as well. Half of the users surveyed said they require deliveries in under a week. Many of them even demand 24-hour delivery.

Manufacturers are responding with new communication and inventory systems that substantially reduce turnaround times on standard catalog products. These vendors say they ship as much as 98% of all orders on the same day that they're received. Remaining vendors will follow the trend to shorter lead times or risk losing their business.

Outside of product specifications themselves, users have a number of demands in ordering proximity and photoelectric sensors. Specifically, customers use price, availability, and delivery as key criteria in selecting a sensor vendor. Reputation, brand recognition, and ease of purchase followed in the criteria list. Application assistance, stock quantity, test sample availability, and training availability were cited as well.

For details, contact Venture at (508) 653-9000, or go to www.vdc-corp.com.

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