Broader Set of Suppliers for Bill of Materials

I’m creating a BOM (Bill of Materials), and my suppliers sections are focused on distributors in the United States (McMaster Carr, Fastenal, etc) because that’s where I live. There is nothing special about the tools and supplies being used, and they should be widely available. It would be nice to create a BOM that applies to as many regions of the world as possible, without causing new problems by trying to include too much information. So that leads me to two questions.

  1. Are there tips on how to modify the BOM to include a broader range of suppliers? Being from the US I don’t have knowledge of many of the suppliers in other regions. If there is a standard list of global suppliers that could be referenced, that would help.
  2. Are the US-based suppliers listed in the BOM good enough because they provide the specifications for the parts and tools that need to be purchased? I try to also include critical specs in the BOM for each part/tool. Can those specs just be used to purchase tools from local suppliers, bypassing the need for a link to a specific vendor?

I usually add aliexpress and Amazon alternatives.


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Hi Jeremy,
complex topic, a few notes from my side:

  • often you can find components from local suppliers (I speak from a German/European perspective) when looking at the specs at a US supplier
  • obviously it is much harder if you use imperial and not metric parts
  • also, sometimes that parts are special in some way, and it is hard to find the exact same thing by an other manufacturer. If that manufacturer only sells through US channels, things get hard
  • so if you want to have a design that can be built at many places around the globe, you already have to take that into account during the design phase and avoid such components
  • There are some companies selling components world-wide, so referencing their catalogue can help. Misumi, RS Components, Digikey, Maedler, Farnell come to my mind.
  • If you want your design to be reproducible in lets say African countries or India, even that does not help sometimes, as shipping is very expensive (or not available at all).
  • Another route is using parts from aliexpress. We have done that for some projects. While it is cheap and shipping worldwide is available for many items, it has other issues: no/bad datasheets and offerings can disappear quickly

Maybe not exactly answering your questions, but I hope these points are somewhat useful :slight_smile:

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Hi, I can help with this! I have many Mexico or LATAM based suppliers or suppliers with offices in LATAM.

Unit Electronics
LCSC (this is a Chinese company)

I have more but I am on a trip and I don’t have my fieldnotes with me. I will update the list when I get back to Gdl.



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Thank you for the responses. I look forward to hearing more when you get a chance @vuribede

I have started a HackMD document in an attempt to compile this list by region (and globally).

A list like this will really help me favor global vendors or include regional vendors in my BOM whenever possible. Please feel free to edit and add items as needed.

I am sad to say there is no equivalent to McMaster Carr in most countries. Generally if I am buying, screws, bearings, o-rings, extrusions, etc etc. I will have to buy from numerous suppliers:

Westfield fasteners - for most screws
Simply bearings - (no prizes for guessing)
Eastern seals - O-rings

RS components is probably the closest to a one stop shop for parts. However it’s selection is no McMaster Carr, its website is atrocious (especially at searching), quality is variable, and they commonly mislabel things.

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I also ended up encoding the knowledge here into a yaml data file so it could be used in automated open hardware project consistency checks. I intend to keep the yaml file and the HackMD doc updated as more information becomes available.

The tool I created can check my open hardware project repositories for consistency, but it’s specific to my workflow. For one thing it assumes that GitBuilding is used, and then checks the entries in the Parts.yaml and Tools.yaml files to make sure they have at least one global supplier listed. You can see a run here where “oh_consistency” check failed because I didn’t have a global supplier listed for a hex wrench.

In the future this tool could be upgraded to also consider a project passing if it has a wide variety of other regions covered, even if no global supplier is used.