Instantly turn your project into a “kit”… or any open project into a “kit”!

Instantly turn your project into a “kit”, or any other open project – is this possible? Yes, well nearly.  It is now easy to have your PCB produced and for sale on the web, but did you realise that you can also have your project part list “instantly” available for sale?

Dangerous Prototypes has made a great start with a central parts list for all their projects, plus of course the part list for each project, but the exciting bit is that they are also creating a ready made cart at one supplier.  I am sure others are doing similar as well. Imagine if the costs for these projects were automatically updated with current costs, plus “kit” and volume discounts.

While not all parts are always included, typically missing the PCB and a couple of parts, this is a huge step in being able to “painlessly” purchase most parts of a project. It almost turns the project directly into a kit. Of course the delivery cost still has to be factored in, but this is a great step forward.

Just image the powerful effect of having people look at your project and being able to “buy now”, when all you have to do is publish your project files and PCB layout.

Imagine when all the current project repositories have this – how many more purchases will go to suppliers? Imagine massive lists of projects with buy now that has current pricing and choice of supplier, even source your project from multiple suppliers (with due care to delivery costs)!

We all have a huge buying power and should be able to convince more suppliers to offer this functionality and we all  made sure to publish project parts lists in this fashion, then I am sure that:

  • competition amongst suppliers would start to reduce these “kit” prices
  • group purchases would also help drive prices down for some
  • suppliers would be able to improve internal processes and offer bigger discounts on these “kits”
  • all sorts of opportunities for percentage discounts, or percentage of sales would be possible

Octopart had a partlist, here is one example, for a while and are thinking of bringing it back, that would be another great way to wake up suppliers to this opportunity.

Now I don’t take credit for this idea, Dangerous Prototypes, Folknology & many others have been getting these ideas out there. There are also many related issues relating schematic and board design with part libraries. More on this in coming posts.

So, this is a shout out for everyone to:

  • encourage their favourite suppliers to add shareable shopping carts, and
  • use the shared shopping carts that already exist.

I have started a forum for further discussion on this.