PCB007 Magazine

PCB007-Jan2019

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26 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2019 that they're dissatisfied within electronics manufacturing and procurement? Antal: Right now, the component lead times are tremendous, and that's what I'm hearing across the industry. Of course, associated with that is increased pricing, and the tariff situation does not help on top of that. What I'm seeing is that the industry is always very skeptical on increasing capacity especially if they don't think it's going to last. The swell in component purchases is going to last. That's the number one concern I hear—how long the lead times are on certain components that were traditionally off-the-shelf components. Now, there are tremendous lead times and a tightening of supplies throughout the industry on what my customers would consider standard components. Johnson: I would have to think that when a buyer is trying to put together a finished assembly and the component lead times are now pushing up into the high double-digit weeks, that could affect scheduling for PCB fabrication as well. Antal: What you see is very volatile purchases where you'll get standard purchases from a particular circuit board for the first six months of the year, and as the component issues tighten up, you start to see it become more sporadic. They might order every other month or every three months, or order three and four times the quantity because they have to catch up, and then holds or pull-ins. A lot of that depends on the type of customer that you have. Some of the OEM customers don't mind pulling in the whole volume of a board, whereas the contract manufacturers may not want to hold the inventory. You see that swell of a pinch in the contract manufacturers especially on the component lead-time side because they must. I do not envy them. I have one component and the circuit board, and they have an entire BOM that they have to come up with and try to find. It has been increasingly difficult to have it completed on a regular basis. Johnson: For some of the sporadic work— especially the rush jobs that you run into—is it the trend that customers have been struggling to find some key components? Suddenly, they've been able to source those parts. Do they push through as many boards as they can simply because they have parts right now? Antal: Yes. They find them in alternate sources. They will find components, and all of a sudden, they will break loose and will have tremendous months. For example, this month was a pretty good month for me. People are trying to head off the tariffs and Chinese New Year delays on circuit boards in January so they're getting their orders in before the end of the year. I have a double barrel here going on from a purchasing standpoint. However, previous months—such as October—were tremendous. There was large, pent-up purchasing and a clog in the system that released from my customers at that time Wayne Antal

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