Finding & Selecting Electronic Components In Tight Supply Environment

Industry Fact:

In 2021, there's such a severe shortage of  semiconductors that the automotive industry is set to lose more than $100 billion in sales because it can't get chips. 'Desperation' is a term that has been kicked around.

EPSNews | September 23, 2021

Industry Objective

A central activity of designers, particularly in the early stages of design or redesign, is searching for and identifying electronic components. As designers choose specific components, their design inherits characteristics largely outside of their control. Some of these characteristics include availability, cost, life cycle, performance-to-datasheet, quality, reliability, environmental compliance and authenticity. All of these characteristics represent touchpoints of risk that, left unchecked, can delay design and manufacturing, inflate BOM costs and even result in spectacular field failures of mature products.

While some of these risks are unavoidable, many can be overcome by leveraging real-time supply chain awareness within the designer’s context. With easy BOM analysis, this capability can be used early, often and throughout the development cycle to identify part risks.

How This Affects You

Odoo • Image and Text

Selecting electronic components and managing BOM costs is more crucial than ever as availability, obsolescence, counterfeit products, and environmental non-compliance risks continue to grow. The worst time to find out that a low-cost capacitor or any of its substitutes is not available is after the product has been released for manufacturing. The business impact can be substantial in most cases, and disastrous in others. Late product introductions, marketing programs put on hold and wasted time are only some of the downside fallout to a problem that can largely be prevented with more proactive component supply chain practices.

Consider the widespread component shortages currently impacting designers and resulting in highly visible automotive assembly line closures. The components required for production were simply not available. Against this backdrop, small companies compete with larger companies for the available stock. Organizations that do not have access to easy, real-time, and accurate supply chain insight in similar situations, may not be able to get the parts they need. In turn, this could lead to risky sourcing decisions for components that turn out to be counterfeit. Counterfeit parts alone are estimated to cost manufacturers $7.5 billion annually in lost revenue.

It’s key to make proactive, information-empowered decisions in order to prevent becoming entangled into risks that can derail design timelines and business objectives.

If You Find Yourself Needing To

  • Perform late-design cycle heroics to find available parts or research substitutes when your manufacturing partner notifies you that they can no longer find part stock

  • Respond to a surprise end-of-life of a key component

  • Research and seek alternative parts, mid-design cycle, in order to cope with unexpected BOM cost escalation

  • Revaluate a design-in decision of a key component whose supply is being drawn down due to its popularity among large cell-phone, consumer electronics or automotive companies

  • Rapidly ensure that your entire component library has all of the component information, alternative part numbers and other parameters required for your design flow

  • Find and place the parts you need with minimal impact on your design focus

  • Control the manufacturing parts associated with the components in your design, so your procurement team will always have accurate and current information

This Leads To

  • Unexpected manufacturing delays that can erode your company’s market share

  • Unplanned, interrupted and lost time being imposed on your design process

  • Unnecessary and stressful “fire drills” exerted on design teams

  • Lost designer focus due to the need to address BOM driven surprises

  • Potential legal liability due to the use of counterfeit parts

What If You Could

  • Deliver design outputs to manufacturing confident that the components in your BOM are up-to-date, in an approved life cycle state and available from suppliers

  • Assess real-time stock levels from multiple sources before designing-in a component, and at anytime during the design cycle - all without leaving the design environment

  • Proactively assigning multiple parts suppliers, early in the design cycle, to components as contingent alternatives to eliminate availability and cost surprises

  • Easily build a library of complete, parameter rich and supply chain aware components accessible, and parametrically searchable by any member of your team

  • Quickly and easily know the health status of all your managed components from one centralized location in your design environment

  • Improve designer focus by minimizing disruption due to BOM surprises

  • Know that a part is end-of-life or where it is in its life cycle before deciding to use it

  • Take steps to assure you insulate your designs from inadvertently using counterfeit components

What You Can Do

Altium has partnered with IHS Markit®, the world’s most accurate component intelligence source, to provide actionable life cycle status updates throughout the design cycle. IHS Markit® part and supply chain intelligence for over 660 million electronic components is integrated within Altium 365.

Designers can manage components, get real-time supply chain data, and access millions of ready-to-use parts, all in one secure location. Altium’s ActiveBOM capability extends this supply chain connectedness to the designer’s desktop to provide anytime awareness into BOM status.

If issues are identified, life cycle information and alternative part options provided from IHS Markit® can be leveraged by Altium Designer and Altium 365 users to ensure successful supply chain continuity at any point in the design cycle, long before valuable design cycle time is wasted. Supply chainaware, parameter-rich components can be rapidly created from data available on the cloud. This enables designers to rapidly choose the component based on technical fit, but also on supply chain status.

The result is a smooth transition to manufacturing with the confidence that components in the BOM are up-to-date, in an approved life cycle state and available from suppliers.

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