5 Rules of BoM Scrubbing

Our Project Coordinators have been helping customers ensure successful builds with their PCB assembly materials since 1988.  They have some secrets to share which are often the key to successful PCB assemblies.

The biggest source of potential problems is in the Bill of Materials (BoM).  When a new or legacy product is to be built, the BoM needs close scrutiny for issues; this is called BoM Scrubbing.

  1. Look up the manufacturer’s part number called out in the BoM and compare it to the description on file to ensure all parameters match.
  2. When looking up the manufacturer’s part number, is there availability or is this component noted as NRND (Not recommended for new design) or Last Time Buy? This may not be a serious concern if the requirement is supporting a final legacy build.  If this is a component chosen for a new product, alternates should be found.
  3. Compare the number of reference designations to the quantity required. Occasionally, during the design stage, removal or additions of locations may not carry through to the quantity required.
  4. Is the manufacturer’s part number complete? Often, manufacturer’s part numbers will have the basic part number on the datasheet, but the order code will be the part number plus the package code.  Make sure the package code is included.
  5. Are their approved alternates included in the BoM? Approved alternates, especially on commodity components, can help the project stay on target with pricing and availability when there are changes in the marketplace.

Doing a BoM Scrub will provide the buyers with a clean BoM and ensure the materials are exactly as intended for the PCB assembly.

Any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Cherie or visit our website for additional information www.cic-inc.com.

Which is best: Manual or programmed component quoting processes?

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?

Data

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.

Time

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.

Manufacturability

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.

Summary

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.

www.cic-inc.com

Supporting Legacy PCB Assembled Products

Many great electronic products  were produced 10 years ago or more.  If the function is true and the production quantities don’t justify a redesign to upgrade the board level components, the challenges are numerous.

There have been so many changes over the past  10 years within the electronic component industry that affect legacy product.  The conversion from leaded components to RoHS forced many manufacturers to reconsider which products were justified keeping in their portfolio.  Those who did support their products with a RoHS conversion often changed the part number.  Challenging the documented Bill of Materials and the buyers with both obsolescence and updated part numbers.

The semiconductor and passive manufacturer’s are trying to keep up with design engineers and are offering smaller component package sizes and are focused on the surface mount application.  The common sizes of 1206 and 0805 are now 0603, 0402 and smaller!  Dip packages are rare and many components are now exclusively offered in surface mount packages.  Manufacturer’s are adjusting production offerings to meet the demands.  The legacy electronic components in the larger package sizes are becoming less common and more difficult to source.

A long history within the electronic component arena is extremely valuable.   Sourcing, procurement and kitting to support legacy product is now an “art-form.”  California Integration Coordinators, Inc., has been focused on supplying board level components to OEM’s and Assembly Facilities since 1988.  Our Project Coordinators on staff have a combined average of 10 years exclusive to electronic component sourcing.

Tell us  the issues your legacy BoM faces and allow us to help you.  Call (530) 626-6168 and we will assign an experienced Project Coordinator to you.

Cherie@cic-inc.com

www.cic-inc.com

 

Advantages of Electronic Component Procurement and Kitting

We have come to learn that not all things are equal in outsourcing.

At one time outsourcing was a way to eliminate routine,  low skill, business functions. The other side of outsourcing is that it can be a great tool for efficiency and growth of business.  Procurement outsourcing and kitting of electronic components has earned its place as a key advantage for high-end, technical business applications (OEM’s and EMS providers alike).

Procurement outsourcing and kitting of electronic components makes use of specialists with skills, assets, and expertise that are specific to your industries needs.  This kind of expertise allows a fluid transition from concept to creation, allowing you to focus on the core competencies of your business.  Your procurement specialist has the contacts, expertise, and buying leverage to see your project to completion on time and on budget.

Outsourcing through a specialist in the electronics industry means that the risks associated with product procurement and unexpected costs resulting from erroneous components and the resulting downtime are minimized.

Advantages:

  • Reduce purchasing impact of adding multiple new suppliers and purchase order costs
  • Eliminate time/cost of receiving, verifying in-bound materials and inventory accounting
  • Eliminate the warehouse demand to pick and pack 100’s of lines of materials for PCB assembly
  • Reduce design engineering time by receiving suggested available alternates for obsolete items

Consider California Integration Coordinators, Inc. an ISO 9001 certified and ITAR registered company specializing in PCB related sourcing, kitting and procurement since 1988.

5 reasons to outsource PCB component kitting

PCB assembly is the process of placing all electronic components on the printed circuit board exactly as the design plan dictates.  Some assembly designs can require 100’s of different components.  Those components are purchased through a variety of Authorized Distributors.  With complicated builds requiring hundreds of components it is not unusual to purchase from 5 to 15 different distribution sources. 
Imagine the time, attention and manpower it takes to place, receive, inspect, approve and organize for line readiness:
          ·        15 separate shipments
          ·        15 email notifications/issue alerts
          ·        15 packages to track
          ·        15 boxes to inspect
Now imagine the outsource option requiring 1 purchase order.  Shortly after placing the purchase order you receive 1 complete kit containing all the components required, with each component type already inspected, full trace-ability documented, and prepared for the assembly line.
Top 5 Reasons to Outsource
#1 – The electronic component kit is TIME (which can be translated to multiple trained, skilled staff members).  TIME = MONEY
#2  – Eliminating the numerous problems which arise with distribution warehouse picking errors, damage in shipping, etc.  These issues take time to resolve.
#3 – The knowledge base gained when partnering with outsourced staff whose only role is to understand the marketplace, the various manufacturer’s, the requirements of the assembly floor. Partnering with a staff that is knowledgeable on how to calculate assembly attrition, read datasheets, understand the part numbering systems and find alternate sources or drop-in replacement components to recommend.
#4 – The efficiency gained in the PCB assembly process.  The electronic component kit is prepared to be auditable, quick and efficient.  With a successful audit, the PCB pick and place assembly process can begin immediately saving precious TIME ( = MONEY) for the assembly.
#5 – Full trace-ability of all the components.  Lot codes, date codes and distribution sources should held for at least 2 years to aid in identifying any errant issue down the road.  
Outsourcing procurement and kitting has proven to be a very successful option for OEM’s and assembly facilities.  The cost savings and efficiency gained by partnering with a kitting source can more than pay for the service!  www.cic-inc.com

Material Kitting variations based on PCB Assembly facility

The process of procuring PCB component materials and kitting varies depending on the requirement of PCB Assembly facility chosen.  If the kitting source does not take the assembly requirements into consideration, there could be a great deal of waste and over-expenditure for the PCB materials.

Choose the assembly facility prior to preparing a quote for the PCB component materials.  

There are several standard assembly requirements found within the industry.  Depending upon automated Pick and Place equipment and assembly engineering staff, assembly material requirements at Assembly facility #1 might be:
        1.   All materials must be on 7″ or 13″ reels with minimum 18″ leader and trailers.
        2.   Trays are acceptable.
        3.   No rails/tubes
        4.   No cut tape or 3″ reels.
Material requirements at Assembly facility #2 might be:
       1.   Cut tape with minimum 12″ leader and trailer is acceptable
        2.   Trays, rails/tubes are acceptable
        3.   Accept bulk items when packaged and identified properly.
Material requirements at Assembly facility #3 might be:
       1.   Cut tape with minimum 8″ leader is acceptable (no metal joiners/brads)
        2.   Trays, rails/tubes are acceptable
        3.   Accept bulk items when packaged and identified properly.

The quantity of the current PCB build and cost is not the only factor when choosing the Assembly facility.  Other considerations include investment of NRE costs for multiple, future builds; proximity and transportation; engineering capabilities; and on-site add-on services such as testing, packaging, etc. 

All other considerations set aside, it is typically most cost effective to choose assembly capabilities consistent with Assembly facility #2 when populating 5 – 100 boards.  Assembly facility’s with #3’s criteria work great when populating 1-10 boards depending on complexity.  When running a high volume of boards or when multiple set-ups may be required, requirements at Assembly facility #1 might prove to be the most cost effective option.
The procurement and preparation of PCB component materials taking into account the requirements of the assembly facility will be most accurate and will allow the assembly process to be efficient and cost effective.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss these options further, contact us at cherie@cic-inc.com or call (530) 626-6168 and ask to speak to a Project Coordinator.

Advantages of Outsourcing for Electronic Component Procurement


We have come to learn that not all things are equal in outsourcing.  

At one time outsourcing was a way to eliminate routine, low skill business functions. The other side of outsourcing is that it can be a great tool for the growth and efficiency of business.  Procurement outsourcing has earned its place as a key advantage for high-end, technical business applications.


Electronic component procurement outsourcing is a resource that makes use of specialists with skills, assets, and expertise that are specific to your industries needs.  It is imperative that the person procuring components has a strong background in the electronics industry, not just in general purchasing.  This kind of expertise allows a fluid transition from concept to creation, allowing you to focus on the core competencies of your business.  Your procurement specialist has the contacts, expertise, and buying leverage to see your project to completion on time and on budget.  

Outsourcing through a specialist in the electronics industry means that the risks associated with product procurement and unexpected costs resulting from erroneous components and the resulting downtime are minimized.

Today’s businesses rely on continual improvement to products and processes.  This same rule should be considered when selecting a company to fill your procurement needs.  Here is a list of questions to ask when selecting a company to fulfill your electronic purchasing needs:

  • Does this company have a reputation of outstanding customer satisfaction among its peers?
  • Does this company have a measurable plan for continuous improvement in efficiency and productivity?
  • Does this company have the certifications necessary to meet the standards of your industry?
  • Does this company have staff with knowledge in your specific industry that will allow them to maximize the benefits to your company?

Please consider California Integration Coordinators, Inc. an ISO 9001 certified company specializing in PCB and PCB related sourcing, kitting and procurement for over 27 years.    

Successful Partnerships for PCB Assembly Services

Numerous aspects are involved in the PCB Assembly; board fabrication, component procurement, programming and set-up for assembly, component placement, quality inspection and testing (if applicable). 
For prototype PCB Assemblies special consideration should be given to the processes used before, during and after the manufacturing.  Experienced partnerships add substantial value to both manufacturability and production quality. 
·         Partner directly with a board fabrication provider.  The board fabrication engineering group will review the functionality but also will perform a DFM (design for manufacturability) review.  This value added process often costs little to nothing but can save the project.
·         Partner directly with a component procurement specialist.  The Costed BOM will be provided and should include all information regarding pricing as well as availability.  If the prototype project has a timeline, alternate components should be presented by the procurement specialist to keep the project on time.  The value of the vitality check and part number verification can be a cost-effective source of information.  The procurement specialist also provides the assembly line-ready Kit for assembly saving valuable assembly prep time.
·         Partner directly with an assembly facility which is capable of accepting components in various media types for placement.  The assembly facility able to place components from cut tape, tube and trays will allow the components to be sourced in the most economical methods possible.  Prototypes often will have minor changes and draining the budget for a full reel of components, which may be removed from the BOM later, can be costly.
·         Partner directly with an assembly facility which can provide DFM prior to the PCB build and thorough inspections after the build.  The outcome of the DFM and inspection reports should be shared with the design team to review for potential improvements prior to production quantity builds.
·         Partner directly with a test facility if needed.  The quality of the information and the engineering insight can save precious budget money and time for the design engineers.
We look forward to questions, comments and your insight.  Email Cherie@cic-inc.com
California Integration Coordinators, Inc.  “Helping people build electronic products”

Reduce the timeline for PCB Assemblies

Speed is often everything in taking products from development to release.  The faster the delivery of the “brains” (assembled printed circuit boards), the quicker to testing, making adjustments and launch can occur.  The biggest obstacle to overcome is often the board level component lead-times.
Sometimes your product’s unique performance is linked directly to a unique component.  Unique components often are not STOCK but special order items.  Lead-times are a PCB manufacturing reality.  Identifying your boards unique components early in the design process and planning your development timeline will allow the components to be pre-ordered and arrive prior to the day your printed circuit boards will be assembled.
Fluctuations in basic material availability, component demand and “mother nature” can create lead time challenges in commonly available components.  You can prepare by identifying alternates at the design phase and choosing drop-in replacements from different manufacturers. 
If possible, avoid choosing components at the far end of the spectrum on a manufacturer’s datasheet.  For instance, if a capacitor is available in a specific package from 4 volts to 150 volts from one manufacturer and all other manufacturers offering range is between 6.3 volts and 100 volts, consider utilizing the more common range. 
Have an electronic components life-cycle check done for all board level components.  Make sure the components (especially the unique components) aren’t identified for obsolescence during your planned active product life cycle.  Software is available to aid in quick checks for alternates, life-cycle verifications, etc. 
Any additional thoughts for minimizing the time from concept to market?  Please share as we are always trying to find new ways to help our customers build to meet their time-frame.