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

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”

Electronic Component Inventory Management

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?

If you are interested in having an evaluation performed, please let us know. Call (530) 626-6168 or send a note to either darrin@cic-inc.comor cherie@cic-inc.com

What is Kitting?

The definition of Kitting furnished by the www.businessdictionary.com is the “Process in which individually separate but related items are grouped, packaged, and supplied together as one unit. For example, in ordering a PC online, a customer may select memory, drives, peripherals, and software from several alternatives. The supplier then creates a customized kit that is assembled and shipped as one unit.”

At California Integration Coordinators, Inc. (CIC, Inc.) the kitting of electronic components for PCB assembly is our forte. It is the “heart” of what we do! CIC, Inc. has been providing electronic component kitting for major manufacturers for over 20 years.

Kitting is a very important process prior to assembly. All the components required per the BOM must be included; properly identified, properly packaged, with appropriate overages for the PCB assembly process to take place. Skilled and knowledgeable quoting of the BOM, and timely procurement of the requirements, are the Key elements to being able to produce Kits for assembly. California Integration Coordinators www.cic-inc.com is known as an assembly “favorite” because of the attention to every single detail that can impact an assembly.