PCB Assembly Services - Screaming Circuits: What Can You Do About Parts Shortages


What Can You Do About Parts Shortages

I hate to put such a grim face on things, but the supply chain is a mess. There is no way to sugar coat it - a coating of sugar may make things taste better, but it mucks up the pick and place machines.

A lot of parts have really long lead times. In many cases, we aren't even being given answers as to when they might be available again. It's not just availability. The shipping is pretty messed up too.

  • We can't depend on overnight shipping from our parts suppliers, even with small quantities
  • We ask for patience - we simply don't know when many parts will be back in stock
  • It's getting worse and will continue to get worse before it gets better.

Okay. Now I'm depressed about this. We're doing or best and there are a few things you can do to help.

First, be flexible and fast with substitutions. Be creative in components selection and if possible, design for greater tolerances to accommodate a wider range of components.

Second, don't ask for a lot of quantity quotes. Please try to limit it to three different quantities.

Third, understand that prices and availability can change quickly and without notice. We have to expire and requote parts quotes in two weeks.

The good news is that none of this is affecting our assembly labor pricing right now. We really struggled through fires, Internet outages and ice storms late last year and early this year, but we're back up to full speed so once we have the parts, we're good to go.

TH resistors
I might be sitting on a gold mine here!

Sorry to be a downer, but it will get better. We went through this in 2018 and things got better. It will be rough for a while, but the good news is that on balance, this is a sign of strength and demand in the design and manufacturing industry. 

Duane Benson
Please calculate the total resistance shown from lower right to upper left
Consider wire oxidation and the jumbled mess factor


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