Sourcing PCBs for your ongoing production needs requires careful planning. If you are not investing enough time to plan your sourcing calendar, series of challenges could be faced. You cannot process any of your own orders without having the adequate supply of PCBs if you are an electronic equipment manufacturing company.
Your inventory should be stocked regularly and the PCBs should be constantly fed to the production department. You should not wait for the stocks to be exhausted to place the next order. For some reason if you fail to keep up to the sourcing calendar and happen to order your PCBs in the last minute you should know you will be running into a number risks which are discussed below.
Ordering your PCB in the last minute means your PCB manufacturer gets very little time to manufacture your order. They should either stop all their other production work and focus only on your orders or have a large facility that could handle even last-minute bulk orders and deliver on time. In case, your manufacturer is not equipped to handle such last-minute orders, it will result either in inferior quality PCBs that are not fully tested for the want of time or delays in the delivery of your PCBs or both. In most cases, both issues are present.
Regardless of whether the PCBs supplied are of inferior quality with issues or they are delayed, you cannot simply proceed with the production. Using inferior quality PCBs will affect your brand reputation or you should be prepared to stall your production until you get the required quality PCBs after returning the problematic batch of PCBs back to your manufacturer. All these lead to disruption in your manufacturing cycle and it will also result in customer dissatisfaction.
Even if your China PCB manufacturer is capable of manufacturing your PCBs with the fastest turnaround time based on your last-minute order, they need to ship the PCBs to you and it is not possible to shorten the shipping time beyond a certain limit. Even when the fastest mode of shipping is used, delivering the products to the US from China is a time-consuming process and you need to therefore be forced to wait for the orders to be delivered.
To avoid such issues and such delays try to plan your PCB sourcing calendar very carefully and ensure that you are closely keeping a tab on your stocks. To prevent the last-minute rush, your order cycle should be two cycles ahead of the production cycle. This will take care of all possible contingencies and keep your production process running without any confusions or commotions. You will need a dependable company to work with you and to deliver your orders in a timely fashion. Find companies with which you can establish long term association so that you can start focusing on the other variables instead of wasting a lot of time to screen your PCB manufacturers every you need to restock.