PCB Assembly Services - Screaming Circuits: More On Allocation


More On Allocation

Not long ago, I wrote a bit about allocation and parts substitution issues. Once again, I can't stress enough that if you're in a hurry, you need to be prepared with some subs ahead of time. Especially with the don't-think-about-them passives. Right now, that's where the biggest issues seem to be. IC's are starting to show supply problems too, but the passives are the big hitter at the moment.

BOM line items Something else to be wary about in times like this is the prospect of counterfeit parts. Unfortunately, when supply gets tight, that's when the opportunists come out of the woodwork. Legitimate suppliers like DigiKey do a pretty good job of keeping their parts real, but unknown suppliers need to be looked at with caution. We do use some brokers here, but we qualify them carefully and keep watch on how they are doing things.

If you really, really need a specific component that has 12-week lead times everywhere and some unknown Internet supplier can get you some now, be careful. It may be a lifesaver, but be prepared to test the part to make sure it's really what you are expecting. And, if you just can't get that perfect part, maybe a slight design change is the only way to get some of that 12 weeks back.

Duane Benson
Drivin' over Kanan, solderin' on my soul
There's people out there turnin' duds into gold


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Our board assembler has been warning us for the last month about the impending ‘on allocation’ issue. This is starting to bite us now with some parts that we typically get in 4 weeks now on 20 week lead-times. We’re finding that this is particular true with TI ICs but that could just be because we use a lot of TI parts. We’re now trying to source components from distributors we don’t usually use, as finding substitutes is not always possible or even feasible given the re-testing that can be required. One catalogue distributor told me last week that they couldn’t completely fill my order as it wouldn’t leave any parts for other customers, which was something I’ve never heard from a supplier before. It has been suggested to me that this is just a few manufacturers trying to drain reserves of old stock, but I’m not convinced. Given my company’s experiences I’m surprised that more people aren’t talking about this issue. It will be interesting to see how all this pans out in the next few months.

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