When it comes to component procurement for their PCB projects, OEMs are confronted with three separate scenarios, each with its own set of daunting issues. One, with technology’s fast paced advances, OEM designers are bombarded with new component announcements. Those new devices are said to be the fastest, the smallest, the best, etc. etc. Then, OEMs are confronted with old and obsolete components, but in many cases some OEMs are intent on keeping those older components in their system designs.
Sandwiched in between are the foreign OEMs, mostly startups, that begin with components from their respective countries, but then want U. S.-based contract manufacturers (CMs) to produce their PCBs using U. S.-made components.
In cases like these, procurement must constantly interact with the incoming inspection team at the CM facilities and encourage stringent procedures to avoid these and other problematic areas such as counterfeit components (as shown in figure).
To learn more about these three scenarios and how you can avoid certain pitfalls be on the lookout for NexLogic’s article appearing in PCB&F/Circuits Assembly Magazine in the coming month.
In the meantime, here are some guidelines to follow to help you better understand how best to deal with this trio of procurement scenarios.
- Be cautious about selecting ‘new’ components. Your designers may take a keen interest in a brand new device. But it’s wise to check out its availability and specification status.
- Make sure your CM’s procurement team has a good understanding of component cost/availability tradeoffs. Otherwise, you can expect to pay more or extend your time-to-market or both.
- Along the same line, get assurances the CM’s procurement team is savvy enough to select lower cost components that operate equally as well as those with a bigger price tag.
- Assure that CM procurement is tenacious enough to successfully comply with your BOM even though team members have to conduct worldwide searches.
- Check to see if procurement understands currency fluctuations when it comes to finding the right components outside the U. S.
- Make certain the CM can make correct component substitutions to include designing in old source code, all the firmware, and is able to take the old database and design it with new components, new source code and firmware.
Overall, ideal procurement is synonymous with technical depth, as well as experience in bonded inventory, just-in-time warehousing, price negotiations, contract procurement, and an array of other skills that are well honed over time. A good procurement team has at least two to three savvy negotiators who can doggedly pursue and locate hard-to-find components.