6 Steps to Prepare Components for Successful PCB Assembly

Ordering, confirming, tracking, verifying, preparing and identifying electronic components for a PC assembly can be very time-consuming and a bit tricky.

1.  We highly recommend ordering components only from an Authorized  Distribution source or directly from the manufacturer.  Rule #1 will help avoid the issue of counterfeit components.

2.  Confirming the component intended delivery date, expediting (as necessary), and tracking the order until delivery takes effort.  It’s a necessary step to avoid missing shipments going unnoticed until it’s critical.

3.  Once materials arrive, they need to be counted; but most importantly, verified.  All handling of the components needs to be done within an ESD safe zone with ESD safe handling processes.  A digital microscope is a valuable tool as you read part markings, values, etc.  Always decipher or compare with the datasheet to know that the component ordered is indeed the part received.  Most all issues are uncovered during the verification process.

4.  Should a board-level performance issue arise, it is very important to have retained the original Lot Code and Manufacturing data from the shipping packages of each of the components to ensure the traceability.  This information will be required to enlist manufacturers support.

5.  Prepare the components for the chosen assembly requirements.  Each assembly facility has a list of consigned kit requirements.  These requirements need to be under consideration at the time of purchase and again at material prep time.  They may include items such as length of leaders and trailers, reel preference, allowable types of splicing, and overage (attrition) guidelines.

6.  Label the components to provide an efficient and  accurate audit prior to assembly.  The label does not need to be fancy.  The information must be easy to read, consistent with the original BOM, and contain all pertinent information.

Assembled PC boards can consist of thousands of components.  At best, one issue slipping by can throw a deadline out the window;  the worst that can happen is unimaginable.

In addition to the processes identified so far, the kit preparation may involve numerous phone calls, issuing of purchase orders, packing slips, invoices, RMA resolutions, etc.  California Integration Coordinators, Inc. is known as a leader in the area of procurement and kit preparation.  Call us – (530) 626-6168 if you have any questions or would like some assistance.

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?


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.


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.




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.

(530) 626-6168 Read More

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

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.    

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. 
·         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