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50 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2022 PCBs already in hand, I then proceeded to delay/cancel my assembly orders and inform the customer that I could not produce a pro- totype, let alone a production-ready device to meet their launch window; the current status is in limbo. Cost Increases Massive product component cost increases due to the use of brokers to procure compo- nents have been a standard process of late as well. I have designs in production that doubled or tripled in cost due to a few hard-to-find ICs that were once considered plain, run-of-the- mill components. I typically avoid using bro- kers due to the increased level of scrutiny (cost) needed to ensure the components are indeed authentic, not reused/reclaimed parts, and undamaged. Typically, I would initiate a rede- sign to mitigate the unavailable component(s). In today's barren component landscape, rede- sign has become second place to using a broker because of the risk of not being able to procure the replacement components. Board Respins e increased number of board respins I have performed lately has been troublesome and expensive. I have not been able to produce a design within the last year without having to perform a respin based on component unavail- ability. I now commonly hear from customers and colleagues that non-recurring engineering (NRE) cost is becoming more like recurring engineering (RE) cost. e sheer number of delivery cancellations and delays has caused me and many others to respin PCBs before they even hit the assembly line. In an attempt to stay positive, I will jokingly say, "ese res- pins spin me right 'round, like a record, right 'round, 'round, 'round." Where to Take Action Now that we see unmet delivery promises stalling product launches, material costs are increasing at an alarming rate, and product development is taking much longer. What can we do about it? A "one solution fits all" typi- cally does not work. I have, therefore, broken the down the types of actions that could be taken into three categories: enterprise, small business, and entrepreneur/consultant. Enterprise Enterprise or large corporations can affect supply chain behavior in significant ways. A corporation's policies carry the weight to affect the adoption of procedures and prac- tices their vendors use. Large-scale adoption of Lean manufacturing and just-in-time man- ufacturing are well known and documented examples of corporate policy driving sup- ply chain behavior. What I see as two benefi- cial opportunities for large scale supply chain behavior modification are integrated product development and adaptive material procure- ment. Truly integrating supply chain logistics into the product development process will give design engineers insight into component availability at the time of selection; conversely, this should allow component manufacturers early insight into what components are being considered for use, which should, in turn, yield more accurate silicon wafer allocation. e good news is that steps toward this end appear to have been taken with Siemens' acquisition of Supplyframe and its Design- to-Source Intelligence (DSI) ecosystem. e ability to systematically procure materials is crucial to many enterprise organizations, in particular aviation, space, and defense, where the supply chain processes are centered around AS 9100, a standard with the intent to focus on the supply of reliable products. To this end, I propose giving component brokers a formal- ized place within the procurement process. ere has been a large amount of procurement from component brokers due to widespread supply chain breakdowns, most likely through non-conforming material review boards or something similar.

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