Electronic Supply Chain industry research from the Z2Data Team

6 Areas to Evaluate in Electronic Parts Selection

To find the right electronic part, it's important to know what to take into consideration during the part search. Let's hone in on 6 key areas that play a role.
Chase Correll
April 1, 2021

Finding the right electronic part is as easy as you make it for yourself. Simply relying on your suppliers and Google is not the best practice in the part search process. For optimal results, the search starts by taking advantage of a comprehensive parts database.

With access to comprehensive parts and manufacturer data, you are able to expedite your parts search and can employ some of the best practices used during the electronic parts selection process.


When a part is manufactured for the first time, it begins its journey—and the journey is in the form of a bell curve. As the part is introduced, it begins to grow and mature, and it rises along the upward curve. After an electronic part peaks at the top of the curve, it begins to enter the decline phase of its lifecycle. This is where a Product Discontinuance Notice (PDN) enters the story, and the part is slowly phased out and eventually becomes obsolete.

With obsolescence, one can either be proactive or reactive: it's a tale of two companies. The company with a reactive approach receives a PDN alert and begins to scramble. They sort and search through the alert, looking for the specific parts that are relevant to them. The process takes hours, even days.

Meanwhile, the company with a proactive approach uses Z2Data's Part Risk Manager to not only notify them if one of their parts appears on a PDN alert but also to recommend parts with lower risks of obsolescence. Taking the proactive approach enables companies to access lifecycle forecasts, cross-reference searches, and PDN/LTB (Last Time Buy) monitoring. All of this is used to mitigate potential supply chain risks posed by obsolescence—and it's all in one easy space.


A wise man once said, "it's easy to make good decisions when there are no bad options."

Z2Data's Part Risk Manager offers a Multi-Sourcing feature that empowers you to cross-reference parts, giving you a ton of viable options—so you can find the best fit—from qualified suppliers. Additionally, the cross-references from Part Risk Manager are graded, which allows you to easily select the best form-fit-function alternatives. By multi-sourcing across suppliers and discovering cross-compatibility, you're opening up your options and mitigating potential risk.

The Multi-Sourcing features of Part Risk Manager offer a grading scale of A, B, and C. Here's what the grades mean:

  • Drop-In A: All crosses that have the same package and pinout with zero differences in parametric features.
  • Drop-In B: All crosses that have the same package and pinout with minor differences in parametric features.
  • Drop-In C: All crosses that have the same package and pinout with major differences in parametric features.

Having an abundance of graded options is valuable, especially when considering that a manual effort to find cross-references can take hours, days, and even weeks.


Every day, countless data sheets and PDFs are consulted to ensure parts are compliant. Whether it's RoHS, China RoHS, REACH, or other regulations, thousands of companies burn crucial man-hours searching for compliance documentation on their own.

Wouldn't it be nice to access comprehensive coverage of full material declarations, certificates of compliance, and more—with just the click of a button?

Z2Data's Part Risk Manager offers all of this and it starts with a simplified compliance score. If you search for a part within the database, you will immediately see a part scorecard with compliance listed as one of the scores. The score will list one of three options:

  • Low Risk: The part is compliant with most or all regulations.
  • Medium Risk: The part is not compliant with some regulations.
  • High Risk: The part is not or is not known to be compliant with most regulations.

In the Part Risk Manager, you can easily navigate to a 'Compliance Tab' that offers detailed insights and links to regulation sheets, showing you which regulations are met by the part and which are not.

Market Availability

Another major consideration in the part selection process is identifying inventory availability, lead times, authorized vendors, and part shortages. Market availability changes on a daily basis. When managing potentially thousands of parts, it can be difficult to keep up with the market's ebbs and flows. One part could have 30,000 units available today and can be down to 10,000 tomorrow. Z2Data offers market availability scores to quickly identify a part's market risk. With this information at hand, OEMs can mitigate the effects of poor market availability and be alerted about potential shortages sooner.

A company with a big need for a specific part can be sent scrambling if a part has suddenly become scarce in the market. But if said company is using Part Risk Manager, they're able to look at potential crosses that can seamlessly drop-in and perhaps even for a lower cost.


End products with older technology run a higher risk of obsolescence, leading to unforeseen redesigns and potential losses. Depending on the industry, product redesigns can occur as frequently as every year or over several decades. Regardless, keeping track of technology changes in electronic parts becomes important when product redesigns or alternative parts are being considered.

Z2Data allows your company to identify low and high-risk technology with its Part Risk Manager. All in one place, you can discover if a part has newer upgrades, is a legacy technology, or is on the cutting edge of tech.

Manufacturer Score

The electronic part search doesn't stop at the part—it's important to consider the manufacturer, as well. Determining a manufacturer's stability is usually not a straightforward process. However, the Manufacturer Risk Score in Z2Data's Part Risk Manager easily summarizes the associated risk of a manufacturer based on factors such as financial performance, impactful current litigations, years in business, employee count, key customers, and more. All of this information culminates into three potential scores for a manufacturer:

  • Strong Manufacturer
  • Stable Manufacturer
  • Weak Manufacturer

Selecting a strong and stable manufacturer can be as crucial as the part itself. If a part is being selected for a product that won't be released for five years, your company needs a manufacturer whose stability extends past five years and beyond.

Best Practices Made Easy

Companies without access to comprehensive parts databases run the risk of encountering unforeseen obsolescence events. They will find it more difficult to multi-source their parts, meet compliance regulations, and stay in touch with market availability. They will burn more man-hours analyzing the tech risks of potential products, and they will be unable to easily identify a manufacturer's stability.

The best practices for electronic part selection, in the end, rely on having a go-to platform where companies can instantly access data for relevant parts. If the electronic part search is as easy as you make it for yourself, then make it easy with a free trial at Z2Data.

Thank you for signing up!
Check your inbox every Wednesday for our Newsletter!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.