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The Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands is a long established engineering university catering for the academic needs of over 7,000 students across its campus. These students, during their studies within the various engineering departments, are required to build a certain number of projects using different components. Previously, these components were provided by the university, but due to the disparity between the student’s projects and escalating component costs, storage and so forth, this policy was changed to one where the students would have to source and purchase their own components from various suppliers.
The downside of this was that projects suffered due to long lead times, product quality and the rise in costs to the student as well. These issues were explained by the EUT student union (E-Lucid) to the key account manager in the Netherlands for RS-Components, Bas Driessen, out of this discussion an innovative solution in the form of onsite RS Components shop was born.
This campus shop provides a full range of products, all with a student discount to meet the needs of the trainee engineers, offering quality products and next day delivery, and is open from 12 to 2 every day. The shop premises also features a series of workstations, fitted with equipment sponsored by RS Components, where the students can work on their projects whenever they like regardless if the shop is open or not. This great idea provides a perfect solution to the purchasing and storage issues faced by the university and students and gives the trainees first-hand experience of interfacing with a world leading component supplier, plus a good place to work on their designs.
Busy students can purchase products instantly as high selling items are stored onsite, or they can be ordered by the shop and delivered the next day, exactly what was required by both the university and the engineers in training! The student purchasing process is simply carried out via prepaid RFID tokens, which students can top-up as required in another facility on the campus. The use of these tokens negates the handling of money at the components shop, and products can only be purchased if there is enough money stored within these pre-paid tokens, items are only supplied once paid for, and as such there is never any outstanding balance to chase. This simple and effective process ensures a minimal transactional interface, and of course, the consequential reduction in the processes and facilities that would support other financial methods.
This RS University shop was the first of its kind, offering the perfect solution for the students and the university, expensive storage facilities, management and transactional activities have been removed from the universities cost base, and students no longer have to struggle to obtain components. As a result, of RS Components, E-Lucid and the Eindhoven University working closely together to solve their issue has laid the foundations for other similar facilities to be created. Two more university shops have recently opened: One in Singapore in the Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and the other in Taiwan within the Tatung University...the beginning of many more facilities of this type around the world, of that I am certain.