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.

Efficient Purchasing to Accelerate PCB Assembly

Knowing when to source materials can accelerate the schedule of your PCB build and significantly reduce the transition from engineering design phase to product delivery.  Purchasing material too early can result in procuring material that may be unnecessary for the final design.  Likewise, waiting too long to begin the purchasing will likely lead to an unnecessarily extended production time.  In purchasing timing can make or break a production schedule.  Not every build is the same but the following guidelines can provide a path to efficient and timely purchasing decisions.

When a design is 50% complete, it is time to get a budgetary quote and DFM from the PCB fabrication source and an assembly provider.  At that time, ask the assembly provider for their list of consigned material requirements.  These are an outline of the documents, labeling and material requirements for the assembly process to proceed efficiently and without significant additional preparation.

When the design is 80% complete and the major components have been chosen, it is time to get the initial quote for the component material kit.  The list of material requirements for your chosen assembly provider should be provided with the RFQ.  The material quote and feedback should be provided within 4 hours to 48 hours from the request.

The feedback on the initial Bill of Materials quote should include:

  • any obsolete components and suggested options for replacement
  • lead-time for components and suggested options for items which will impact the initial build
  • an alert for any components found identified by the manufacturer as End of Life
  • any components which need additional prep for the assembly process and estimated time

Resolve any issues from the feedback on the initial BoM; finding replacements or approving suggested alternate components.  Components, which are design-firm and have a lead-time, should be authorized to be purchased so the component lead-time and finalizing of the design / layout can run concurrent.

With the design 100% complete, the board fabrication and the remainder of the components can be ordered.

If you need help planning your PCB assembly or would like to discuss your upcoming project with a professional project coordinator, send me a note or call.  We’ll be glad to discuss how we can help to improve your product delivery timeframe.

Cherie@cic-inc.com
www.cic-inc.com
(530) 626-6168 Read More

How to Kit Components Prior to Assembly

Anyone can use the internet to locate and buy the components for a PCB assembly.

Why is “Kitting” important to the PCB Assembly? Kitting is the term used to describe the function of bringing all material requirements together. With all required items received, verified, placed in suitable packaging and given to the assembly facility; the assembly process may then begin.  Sounds simple.  So why do the Electronic Manufacturing Service (EMS) providers encourage professional kitting services?

Professional kitting services can be found within, or independent of, an assembly facility. With either choice, the function of bringing all material requirements together is essential for the assembly process to perform with the highest efficiency.  Professional Kitting services far exceed the simple act of finding and buying.

· The Bill of Material (BOM) descriptions and the material call-outs are reviewed for any discrepancies.

· Authorized sources for materials are to be found and the BEST source for availability and pricing requirements is evaluated and identified.

· If availability conflicts with the assembly timeline, options need to be found and presented to the BOM owner for approval.

· A Costed BOM should be given to the purchaser of the Kit or BOM owner for approval prior to any purchase.

· With approval, the purchasing is completed based on the Costed BOM.

· All purchased materials are tracked to ensure on-time delivery.

· Incoming materials are counted, inspected and verified with the manufacturers datasheet to ensure the item ordered is the item received.

· Industry standards for ESD prevention are utilized to ensure the condition of all components.

· Materials are identified, organized and packaged to present to the assembly for efficient production.

Professional kitting services are appreciated for the many functions performed, especially the pre-screening and verification of the electronic components.  No assembly line should EVER be down due to incorrect or missing components!  Using a professional kitting service ensures the efficient assembly process and timely delivery of PCB projects.

When evaluating professional kitting service providers, please include CIC, Inc. on the list.  California Integration Coordinators, Inc. has focused exclusively on  kitting services since 1988 and is continually setting the bar for all kitting service providers.  For more information call for any of the Project Coordinators (530) 626-6168 or email cic@cic-inc.com.

Capabilities of CIC, Inc.

California Integration Coordinators, Inc. has focused on Procurement and Kitting electronic components for PCB Assemblies since 1988.  We’ve developed processes and proprietary software which allow us to present a real-time quote for components, including lead-time, availability, and part number clarifications, within hours.  Our goal is to compliment our customer’s needs as a partner. 
CIC’s experienced project coordinators are assigned to a customer.  This central point of contact specializes in understanding the individual requirements and expectations of that customer.  It’s like having a Personal Shopper for your PCB Assemblies.
We’ve helped numerous customers through the years.  The following is an example of a typical engagement. 

CIC was approached for the component kitting of prototype boards.  The potential customer had a staff of production buyers utilizing an established MRP system equipped to forecast and manage long-term production builds.  Unfortunately, their system was not nimble enough to adjust for quick-turn prototype production.  The MRP system could not manage components in the reduced timeframe.  The customer needed a side by side system which would compliment not complicate.  California Integration Coordinators methodology offered the perfect partnership.


Customer Service and Support is a major element of our overall performance; so much so that it is measured internally as a quality standard. 

  • It is our goal to acknowledge the RFQ from a customer and begin working on the quote within minutes of receipt. 
  • It is not always possible due to custom parts or overseas factory confirmations, but it is our goal to provide a Costed BOM and formal quote within 24 hours. 
  • The CIC project coordinators acknowledge a new customer Purchase Order within 30 minutes from receipt, order all materials per the PO within 60 minutes and provide assurance of the specified dock date within 24 hours.

Consider:

Have you been involved with recent small PCB assemblies? 

Was the timeline for the project extended?  Were there any communication delays which jeopardized the project? 

Did you have to “cross your fingers”  and hope it all came out right? 

Please discuss your project expectations with us.  You may be amazed how little it costs to add quality and timeliness to your PCB assembly project.   www.cic-inc.comor Cherie@cic-inc.com


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

3 Options for Kitting PCB Quick-Turn Projects

The process of purchasing and kitting of electronic components for PCB assemblies can have challenges, but none more than a quick-turn or a quick timeframe.  For projects, such as prototypes, which are scheduled to be built in 10 days or less with a limited quantity, the challenges can be daunting.

Focusing on the components only, envision the time it will take to load the MRP system with the BOM, schedule the project, and run the MRP / issue the purchase orders.  How many days are to be allocated to these processes?

Purchasing and processing flexibility, speed and accuracy are required to have the materials “assembly-line ready” for quick-turn projects.  Available purchasing staff with a strong skill-set to propose In-Stock options, understand sourcing options, and problem-solve quickly are vital to a successful project.  If a purchasing staff cannot be allocated on short notice, or if the current processing systems cannot be tailored for quick-turns, you have options.

  1. Depending on the MRP system,  schedule a build of one (parent) and use the BOM ID as the place holder.   Do not import or load the requirements.  Use a spreadsheet of the BOM requirements and assign to a staff member capable of searching for stock for each of the BOM requirements.  Place either credit card orders or manual PO’s to procure the requirements.
  1. Again, depending on the MRP system, import the BOM and set for manual scheduling.   Do NOT send out RFQ’s.  Assign a buyer to immediately source and procure based on search engines for electronic component distributors.
  1. Outsourcing is available for purchasing and kitting of electronic components required for quick-turns.  Without impacting the current staff or trying to muscle the processing systems, consider adding an “ace up your sleeve” to your team; make the magic happen!

With one call, you can add a dedicated Project Coordinator to your team.  A professional, capable of quoting, sourcing, and offering options for a typical BOM in less than one day.  Once the decision is made to proceed with the assembly, the Coordinator places all orders for materials within 60 minutes.   The assembly line can be ready to set-up in four days with materials verified, inspected, and documented.

Interested in discussing a Quick-Turn PCB project with a professional ready to become part of your team?   Call (530) 626-6168 and ask to speak to a Project Coordinator.

Cherie@cic-inc.com or visit our website 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.

Challenges of Lean Manufacturing in High Mix/Low Volume

Manufacturing in the USA has undergone highs and lows over the last 20 years.  This is especially true in the assembly of printed circuit boards.  There have been the high times with numerous manufacturing sites popping up, investing in state of the art equipment and running 24 hours with 2 to 3 shift changes. 
The most enticing manufacturing projects are high volumes of a stable product with no variables.   These jobs run long enough to develop lean processes and efficient material handling. 
There are many products which do not have a high volume demand such as medical equipment or semi-custom products.  Some electronic manufacturing facilities accept a mix of high volume assembly projects along with the smaller build quantities.   Boutique assembly houses tend to cater exclusively to the low volume projects and have found their niche market. 
There are challenges unique to running multiple variations / projects through assembly in low volumes:
  • ·         High demand on administrative processes and scheduling to maintain floor capacity
  • ·         Documentation and labor in machine changeovers
  • ·         Employee training
  • ·         Lack frequency and/or volume to develop lean processes or process improvements
  • ·         System management and data entry of P/N’s used only used once
  • ·         Material handling costs for ordering /pulling, verifying, and staging for set-up

Despite the challenges, there are electronic manufacturing facilities which have developed the expertise to provide high quality, affordable, low volume assemblies.   Employee retention and healthy partnerships may be two of the keys to address the challenges. 
  • ·         Employee training can be minimized with strong retention, good initial documentation and established best practices for small volume builds will cultivate lean processes at the start.
  • ·         System management and data entry of P/N’s to feed MRP as well as managing material handling issues can be resolved by outsourcing to a kitting provider to allow absolute focus on producing a quality assembly.

Focus, focus, focus.  Success is found in focusing on the strong suit and partnering with others who do the same. 

You can do anything, but not everything. —Anonymous

Controlling Costs moving PCB Design to Assembly

Design and layout are generally the most labor intensive elements of any new PC Board.  Once complete and moving into the realization stage, material component costs are typically 80% of the overall assembly costs. 
Message:
·         put safe guard measures in to all aspects of design and layout
·         pay special attention to materials for realization
Utilize the software checks for design and layout.  Follow design guidelines and have the files double checked prior to board fabrication.
Use a professional material procurement source for the kitting of the components prior to the assembly process.   A professional procurement source will:
·         double check the BOM for part descriptions to match the assigned manufacturer’s part number
·         provide lead-times and search for in-stock alternates to suggest for engineering approval
·         provide alert for any components Mfg has designated for “End of Life”
·         provide cost and can suggest cost saving alternates for engineering approval
·         Scrub BOM – filling passive call-outs with Mfg and Mfg P/N for procurement
2nd and 3rd spins can eat a project budget quickly.  Spend time and money wisely with professional services to reap the benefits of a project well done. 
California Integration Coordinators, Inc. has been providing professional procurement sourcing and kitting for 27 years with a full staff of experienced project coordinators.   Contact me with any questions or to discuss your upcoming project – Cherie Myers

More information at 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”