Evaluating True Board Fab & Assembly Costs

What about Components?

Do it right the first time – we have all heard this from our parents as kids and throughout our working careers. As professionals, responsible for company dollars, it’s no different.

As electronic design professionals, it may not seem like much money in the beginning of the year, but at the end of the year – are your projects getting pushed out or budget squeezed? If yes – who is procuring your components for PC Board manufacturing? Are you lucky enough to have a buyer in-house? Or do you let the fabrication or assembly houses do it? There are at least 4 options available for filling the component requirements, with those costs averaging 75 – 80 % of your total PC assembly budget.

There are many reasons why electronic component procurement should be done by a professional. The assembly provider you choose should be a reputable firm you’ve become comfortable with and know your proprietary design will be respected and safe guarded. Are they as good at component fulfillment as they are at assembly?

From an in-house perspective: are your buyers experienced with the industry and have the knowledge of cross-referencing parts, ensuring you are getting the “right” part for the job? If so…excellent! If not, consider the electronic component procurement professional.

Many Electronic Component Distributors in the marketplace offer Kitting Services. The components a distributor can source and provide are limited to the manufacturer’s for which they are Authorized. This will undoubtedly leave holes on your PC Assembly. Where are those components going to come from?

A 4th option to consider is an independent professional procurement and kitting provider.

It is possible to have the peace of mind knowing your professionals are identifying and procuring the best components in America, at the best price; performing stringent receiving, inspecting, and flawless kitting of all the materials for your project to be assembly-line ready. Also, any logistics or supply chain situation is managed by the team of professionals and corrected same day; all the while, keeping you abreast on the progress of your project lead-time relieving you of any worry and having to do “project management” of material procurement.

Please post a response – I’d like to hear what solutions you have in place to alleviate the head-aches of procuring parts for your board fab and assembly of PC Boards. We have an Expectations Matrix with more information regarding the options and considerations when preparing for a PC Assembly Project. Send your request for a copy to Cherie@cic-inc.com and I’ll be glad to send it to you.

Controlling PCB Assembly Costs, Part 3

We’re still exploring ways to help control the costs associated with small volume printed circuit board assembly.

If a forecast demand is possible, inventory management can be utilized to minimize costs. The forecast can be undefined, and limited to “Yes, we will build this again”. Knowing this same configuration will be built a 2nd or 3rd time, components can be procured at the higher volume for the best price break and a 1-time in-bound shipping charge. Choose the assembly facility carefully to insure that the NRE (Non-Reoccurring Expenses) are only paid for the initial assembly and are waived for all subsequent assemblies. Monitor the excess materials between builds to insure assembly attrition (loss) is at an acceptable rate and the excess is usable for the future builds.

Summarizing, controlling the costs on the materials and the assembly can be a key to avoiding sticker shock for a low quantity build of printed circuit board assemblies. We’d be very happy to explore options with you. Just call (530) 626-6168 or email me Cherie@cic-inc.com