New Year’s resolutions are often the focus of humor as people admit that they are difficult to keep. The old joke is; “last year I resolved to lose 15 pounds, only 20 more to go.” The important thing about resolutions though is that they show that you are taking charge of something in your life. Diet, exercise, learning, or whatever, the point is that you have seen something that needs to change and you are committing yourself to make it happen.
In today’s world of PCB design, we are seeing a significant problem with component shortages and supply chain issues. It is such a big problem that it can be tempting to stick our heads in the sand and hope that it just goes away. Or, we could look for ways to take charge of the problem and try to make it better. One thing that can help is by using design tools that have the capabilities in them to better organize and manage our components. These tools are already available in a PCB design system, and you can find out for yourself with a bill of material software free trial.
The Problem and How it Relates to You
The electronic component shortage crisis is big news these days, and a lot of people are talking about it. Even more people, such as PCB designers like you, are suffering because of it. To put it simply, the supply of components is much lower these days while their demand has gone through the roof. Lead times for some components have exploded and prices have as well. What this means for PCB designers is that the parts that they are used to having at their fingertips may no longer be readily available and they may cost a lot more than they used to.
This crisis is being driven by several factors including the exploding demand for new technology as well as manufacturers trying to conform to the demand by changing their production lines. Some of the parts that you are used to using may now be produced in lower quantities that you’ve grown accustomed to. This will drive PCB designers to re-evaluate their designs for different components, and redesign boards to switch to components that available.
Reels of components in a chip shooter machine on an SMT assembly line
If It Were a Perfect World…
Face it; this is the new normal now, and it isn’t going to do any good hiding from the problem. In a perfect world we would be conducting business as usual, but now we need to find ways to combat the component shortage problem. The best way is to be on top of our PCB parts before it impacts our projects.
Traditionally sourcing parts has been the domain of the procurement department. PCB designers would send their part requests their and someone else would do the research and find the parts. This process isn’t going to work in the current crisis though, PCB designer need immediate accessibility to part stocks and resources so that they can design knowing what’s available. In a perfect world, you could just query part availability and price directly from your PCB design tools. The good news though is that these tools are already available for you to use.
Active BOM will give you the component information that you need
How You Can Get a Bill of Material Software Free Trial
Altium Designer comes with “Active BOM,” a bill of materials management tool that opens up another portal into your design data. Instead of querying part information from the schematic or the layout, you can use Active BOM to easily search, select, and report on any part in your design. With cross-select functionality, you can also use it to highlight parts in either the schematic or the layout making design reviews much easier.
The feature though that makes Active BOM ideal for PCB designers in today’s component shortage crisis though is its ability to connect through the cloud with your part vendors. You no longer have to wait for someone else to do part research for you, you have that ability in your design tools. Whether you are searching for parts to use in a new design, or verifying design parts before your board goes to production, Active BOM is the tool you need now.
PCB design software, like Altium Designer, has the online part search and verification tools that can help you through this current component shortage crisis. Active BOM is more than a simple document generation tool, it is part of the entire unified design platform giving you the ability to take charge of your design. Find out more information about getting a free trial by talking to an expert at Altium.
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