In order to keep your electronic equipment production unit running you need to continually feed your unit with a regular supply of PCBs. The moment the inflow of PCB stops and you run out of stock, your production will stall. Stalling the production floor even for a single day could result in huge monetary losses and a series of deadline related problems. This calls for impeccable planning when it comes to PCB sourcing.
One of the important factors to keep in mind when you are sourcing your PCBs is that you need to allow a certain amount of buffer time so that even if there is a delay, your production need not have to stall, you will have enough stock at hand to take care of your production process.
The following aspects need to be factored in when you are sourcing the PCBs. First you need to calculate the PCB fabrication time. This will depend on the volume at hand and the production capabilities of your manufacturer. What is the average monthly production capacity of your PCB manufacturer? Will they be feeding your orders to their full capacity or do they have other orders that fill a portion of their production capabilities? Ensure that you have a clear picture about these figures only then you will be able to plan your production calendar and sourcing calendar.
PCB assembly is another time-consuming process. Will your manufacturer handle this process manually or will it be an automated process? You need to have a clear understanding of the process. Remember to take into account the component sourcing process. If not, you could end up facing issues with your PCB manufacturer. Your supplier should have access to the best component sourcing networks or else, they could end up facing problems in getting the required supplies on time.
The next factor to be focused upon is the PCB testing process. Will your PCB manufacturer check all the PCBs before shipping then this will consume more time and has to be accounted for when you are calculating the total time for production. Finally, the shipping duration has to be included. If the company is located in China and if you are located in the US, there is going to be a certain waiting time for the orders to be shipped and delivered to your location.
After adding up all these factors that increase the total duration of the entire order delivery process, you should plan your annual calendar. What is the required quantity per month and based on your requirements? You need to ensure that the orders are placed well in advance. You need to be at least two cycles ahead of the production when sourcing the PCBs. This will save you from unnecessary delays. It is crucial that you take into consideration all these basic factors and have your requirements met fully by a seasoned PCB manufacturer so that they will deliver your orders as per the promised deadlines.