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Managing Component Supply in the current Supply Chain Crisis

There are a lot of highs and lows in electronic manufacturing, but the one constant challenge that manufacturers experience is navigating through the supply chain for components. At Precision, our priority for purchasing components are based on three main attributes:

  • To always ensure we get the right parts,
  • in the quickest timeframe,
  • at the right cost.

This doesn’t necessarily mean we source the cheapest parts either, as that’s a red flag for us. We only source components and chips from APPROVED suppliers. To become an approved and accredited supplier, companies must go through our qualification audit. You can read more about this in our previous blog post: The Rise in Quality Issues due to the Global Components Shortage.

Factors during Quoting stage

Person checking the details on a component using a magnifying glass
Checking details on component

While price is an important factor in how we quote to our customers, the most critical factor is lead time and reliability. We can source the world and find the cheapest parts, but there’s hardly any benefit if the part is of poor quality and does not perform as expected. This is likely because:

  • The supplier hasn’t stored the parts correctly, or
  • The parts have been previously used or
  • They have been passed through many hands before being sold for a cheaper price

Keeping Procedures up to date

With the current supply chain crisis impacting manufacturers across the world, we take great care to ensure our customer’s expectations are met while managing our suppliers carefully. We recently updated our counterfeit parts mitigation policy and have added extra steps in our purchasing procedures, which include:

  • Asking suppliers to do initial tests on critical IC’s to verify their authenticity
  • Only ordering from approved suppliers (Suppliers can only be approve after a qualification audit)
  • Suppliers must provide correct documentation for traceability purposes.
  • Only ordering parts with a date code of less than 3 years ago. This ensures we aren’t buying parts that have potentially been passed through many hands or stored incorrectly leading to quality issues.

We have also added extra steps in our Inward Goods inspection procedures, which includes:

  • Inspecting batch code of components
  • Comparing part labels to manufacturing pictures, and
  • X-raying parts that we suspect are faulty, if required

These extra measures have served us and our customers well since the beginning of the year.

Engineer checking quality issues on a circuit board using an Xray machine
Engineer testing an assembled circuit board using our Xray machine

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