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18 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2019 problem early in the design process. This has been facilitated by using tools in Altium 18 such as ActiveBOM. Before, it was the other way around; often, engineering and procure- ment wouldn't even speak to one another. Now, we are making sure that the information available to us through ActiveBOM is being filtered throughout the company, so the deci- sions that affect the outcome of a design are known and decided on early in the process not once it is too late. Nobody likes getting those calls from the assembly house telling us that a part has been placed on a design that is no longer available; most likely, a design must be redone because of it. Further, no one likes making that long walk to the manager's office to explain why the deadline was missed because of failing to plan. 3. Use Multi-footprint Components Benjamin Franklin once said, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." To that end, we have started to use multi-footprint compo- nents, laying multiple footprints on the design for alternative components that we might use if there is a shortage of our first choice. This has resulted in some interesting layouts to accom- modate everything. In addition, there are the three "Ps" to get through this crisis: plan, prepare, and be proac- tive. Stay ahead of the problem by not starting with a design that is already in trouble. Many times, engineers will use a previous design thinking that those components are available when many of them may be obsolete or in a deprecated state already. We cannot assume that everything is okay. If you see that parts are already having stock problems or are not recommended for new designs, that situation will not get any better over time—it will prob- ably get worse. Also, realize the further some- one gets into a design, the harder it is to make changes without impacting your wallet or time schedule. A Helpful Tool ActiveBOM has become one of the most important tools for us. Since knowledge is power, being able to see "live" component stock availability information and appropriate AVLs is crucial. ActiveBOM gives us the abil- ity to rank vendors and set up multiple sources Figure 4: Screenshot of Altium's ActiveBOM tool.

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