Dave's Desk

Supply chain issues for specialized electronics can be especially frustrating for product manufacturers.

Planning is important

When a company has built itself around a complete product, electronics components often represent a black box of mystical voodoo, making up just one of the hundreds of “parts” that make up the whole product. The benefit of product engineering groups is that they are focused on the whole product, or the integration of that product into their customer’s larger system. Purchasing departments are likewise set up to buy components to meet forecast metrics. Many companies may have separate product development groups, that function apart from their manufacturing engineers, but often do not have electrical engineers or people that develop or control their product’s embedded software (a.k.a. firmware). The bottom line is that most companies don’t have people in house who specialize in the intricacies of their electronics – that’s where a company like DE Design Works steps in to help. 

We help companies navigate the daunting and murky waters of electronics supply chain issues. Sometimes our customers’ engineering groups lead these problem situations and other times we are approached by purchasing people. In either situation, our specialty is refining these “black boxes of mystical voodoo” into scalable electronics systems so we can help steer the customer back on course within their long-term product road maps. 

We have repeatedly helped companies that have arrived at a critical fork in the road from these common supply issues: 

  • Your company has been buying the same PCB for years but that process has been disrupted by COVID 
  • Perhaps your company no longer has legacy expertise regarding the PCB assemblies currently in your products
  • In these highly unusual and unpredictable times, component or broker costs have now doubled or tripled and has caused serious margin issues to your profitability
  • Your product uses a system controller that was purchased as a custom solution totally supplied by a third-party electronics contract manufacturer, and they are now experiencing vaguely defined supply chain issues

The more stories we hear of uncertain supply chain issues, we see the path to success in simple terms – find the few problem components on the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) assemblies, find replacements that offer the least amount of design changes but are in stock, estimate the engineering hours it will take us to make the change(s), and get it done so our customers can get back in production! The reason this process comes naturally to us is that we are electronics engineering experts with a vast knowledge of PCB design and the machinations of the big silicon providers.