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Electronics Production | June 21, 2010

tbp: 'component market remains fickle'

Fabricating printed circuit boards (pcba's) within the programming schedule depends entirely on the availability of all materials. Solid agreements with customers and suppliers are essential
tbp buyers have maintained good relations with suppliers for years now to coordinate the flow of components with production requirements. But despite all efforts to remain organised, there's always that possibility of running into a snag somewhere. This has been especially true over the last couple of months.

After the downturn and capacity reductions, the industry is now experiencing a ramp up, but production is lagging behind. This means that delivery times for some components are months behind. In these situations, The EMS-provider falls back to the so-called crash teams. Tbp is part of a crash team including several colleague EMS companies.

Delivery problems are discussed and solutions are jointly. Despite the fact that these are competing companies, the mutual collaboration in this case is good. Another possibility is to turn to brokers, but only to those known to be reputable. Supplies coming from this niche are subjected to FAIR (First Article Inspection Report) at the EMS-provider. This means that the first component supplied by a broker is tested by way of X-radiation.

A worst case scenario is where component shortages escalate to the point where an end product cannot be delivered on time. To prevent this from happening, tbp advises the customer to employ second source components whenever possible in their designs. Customers submit their MPN (Manufacturing Part Number). In doing so, they provide a preferred source and an alternative second source.

To ensure the timely delivery of products, it is important for customers to provide timely forecast updates at regular intervals. Good communication between the customer, supplier, and tbp the producer, is therefore essential. If the communication is good, the expectations of the customer will be met. It goes without saying that tbp does their utmost to minimise the number of potential delivery problems on the list.

After all, a missing component could have disastrous consequences...

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