What is the current situation in most cases in electronic product design?
When making a new product, a new PCBA, Electronic Engineer need to first choose components. What are the solutions they use to apply?
Search in ERP database
Benefit of ERP is to have an up-to-date database since it’s used for the production, moreover, they are prices available. The real story is that search tools in ERPs are often not really convenient for such usage, and the part description often not enough detailed. MPN could be an interesting search keyword but it’s often not entered, or not correct. At last, R&D guys often do not have access to the ERP!
eCAD is obviously a very appropriate environment, but the problem comes here at the database maintenance level. How to have the information that components are already active in the company. The most frequent solution is to synchronize eCAD the database with ERP. Which requires the ERP to have the appropriate fields to store the component information, and to do it!
Search in major vendor website
This is the most popular solution! But it takes time to search and collect all necessary data. Finally, it comes out with a BOM made of rough description for most of the components and some MPNs or SKU. Everything entered manually in an excel spreadsheet.
BOM Check, recommendation, design modification
By the end of the design stage, the R&D engineer will ask the purchasing team or the EMS contractor to quote the BOM for prototype manufacturing purpose. Here will start with headaches! First search for real components based on very rough descriptions, take advantage of the few MPNs provided and finally detect that some components are obsolete, or no inventory available or requires large MOQ!
Some component modifications may be mandatory, requiring design modification, project schedule will be delayed.
After design adjustment, quotation update by EMS, or purchasing, will take additional time, if components have long lead-time, project schedule will be delayed too. Time to market will be postponed again.
Quest for the Holy Grail
Have appropriate sourcing tool to centralize component data, check parts lifecycle status, inventory, collect prices will drastically change the game. Avoid multiple loops at the design stage, anticipate long lead-time component procurement, streamline data exchange within R&D, purchasing and EMS contractors. In global a major improvement to control time to market schedule and product cost.