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Savvy Procurement Saves You Big Headaches

It takes a highly experienced procurement team today to navigate through a variety of new issues that new, old, and foreign-made components present to PCB design and assembly. In some instances, inexperienced OEM designers are intent on selecting the most advanced component a leading industry chipmaker comes up with. But in those cases, those leading-edge devices haven’t yet been time tested, and therein lie pitfalls for both contract manufacturer and OEM customer. Then, there are the old and obsolete devices. It takes a seasoned procurement team to search out those parts or if they’re no longer available, to find the best substitutes possible.

Our procurement article slated to appear in PCD&F/Circuits Assembly Magazine in the next couple of months will provide you greater depth and understanding of today’s component procurement process and the right steps you should take to assure you’ll successfully get your PCB project completed.

In the meantime, here are some tips to follow to get a good understanding of what it takes to maintain effective component procurement from your CM:

  • When ‘new’ components are discussed among your OEM designer, make sure the term ‘new’ is clearly defined to ensure particular components are stabilized and time tested.
  • Avoid the temptation of relying on early component spec sheets. Wait until more detailed and validated documentation is provided.
  • Find out if procurement is savvy enough to grasp the effects of monetary fluctuations and effects associated with components available in foreign countries only.
  • An experienced procurement team knows where to locate so-called ‘obsolete’ components even though those same components may be officially listed as obsolete.
  • Assure that the CM’s procurement has technical depth, experience in bonded inventory, price negotiations, contract procurement, and other important skills.

Also, a good procurement team knows when to spot shady brokers. Not all brokers are created equal. Most are reputable and provide highly acceptable components. But a good number are shady, creative, and in some cases, outright crooks. The last thing a reputable CM wants is to innocently use counterfeit components on OEM customer PCB projects. That’s where the ideal procurement team assures that only high-quality components are used during its watch.