Quoting a Bill of Materials (BoM) for an upcoming PCB build can be a time-consuming project. There are several distributors who offer upload tools which purport to streamline the process.
We have come to rely on automation for efficiency in manufacturing, but is this an assumption we can carry over to the quoting process?
Which is best: Manual or Automated component quoting processes?
Any component discrepancy or callout error must to be caught during the quoting, procurement, and kitting processes. Care must be taken to root out issues to eliminate expensive errors and delays during the PCB build. Even some of the best enterprise databases can hold undetected entry errors. It often takes a human eye to detect and resolve these issues. The manual quoting process will uncover:
- a discrepancy between the component BoM description and the manufacturer’s part number call-out
- an obsolete manufacturer’s part number (non-RoHS, revised, or no longer used p/n’s) and can provide the latest manufacturer’s part number with availability
- the most appropriate and available media type per manufacturer’s part number (e.g. 250 vs. 3K reel or bulk vs. reel)
- best available upgrade should the call-out be unavailable (e.g. flash gold vs. tin)
Manual BoM scrubbing and quoting are necessary to confirm discrepancies in the manufacturer’s part number call-out, attrition quantities, and available alternates.
A manual BoM quote process will ensure that component availability meets the timeline. If any component availability cannot meet the build date, an alternative component can be suggested. If no alternates are found, the engineer is contacted for insight or options.
The PCB assembly process requires some component attrition. The manual quoting process accounts for attrition in ways an automated system can not. A quoting specialist understands the capabilities of the assembly facility and the build requirements. Proper attrition will eliminate shortages during assembly. This ensures the build will be complete without interruption or delay.
Though we have come to rely upon the automated processing it is not always the most efficient method to fill your BoM requirements. Keep in mind even the best BOM upload sites may not represent every manufacturer. Uploads to several distributor sites may be needed to cover all components.
If a manual quote better suits your current requirements, consider California Integration Coordinators, Inc. Call and discuss your project or send an email to Cherie@cic-inc.com.