Staff Contributor – Darrin Richards
The subject of managing inventory has been demonstrated and illustrated many times over. So much so, employees, supervisors, and managers are bored with the topic.
However, the focus is redirected and the interest increases when the topic is on how to manage your customer’s inventory of electronic components after an assembly job of PC boards. There is a sense of pride when the emphasis is on customer owned inventory and that “feel-good” feeling is realized once the cost savings is reported and the appreciation is received.
The importance of managing excess inventory is equal to the component procurement process and acquiring those hard-to-find long lead items. The underlining goal is to reduce PC assembly costs wherever possible. And it begins with proper management of excess inventory.
With a well-maintained inventory management process in place, the costs incurred by buying components only as requiredover the life of a PC board are captured. Also, the following are potentially alleviated:
· Multiple purchase orders (internal personnel costs / overhead costs)
· Multiple shipping costs
· Multiple handling, inspection, and documentation of components
· Shortages due to component manufacturing fluctuations
· Unanticipated component obsolescence
In addition to saving internal labor and processing costs, there is also the value of purchasing at a higher volume and having longer reaction time to shortages or component obsolescence.
Inventory management of electronic components, specifically excess materials, still carry a cost. The handling and counting of materials contain a cost associated with the process, but those costs return major savings in comparison to over-procuring components on an “as needed basis” for reoccurring PC assembly jobs.
Lastly, understanding the potential savings to justify the investment of materials upfront must be identified. An evaluation of such savings needs to include:
· How many printed circuit boards are required each year?
· Are there multiple boards with common components?
· What is the current and projected PC build schedule?