The Positive Impact of Supply Chain Visibility on Design to Cost

Zachariah Peterson
|  Created: July 13, 2022  |  Updated: February 11, 2023
The Positive Impact of Supply Chain Visibility on Design to Cost

Design to cost is a lofty idea that is only perfectly executed when supply and demand for components are in perfect harmony. Unfortunately, the current landscape for component sourcing makes design to cost more of a balancing act rather than an exercise in price reduction. The volatile nature of the electronics supply chain forces PCB design teams to default make difficult choices related to parts availability. It's never been harder to design for cost given the rolling shortages that have persisted over the past 5+ years.

Design teams must now balance multiple competing aspects of component selection as they work to fill their BOM with sourceable components:

  1. Fast-moving changes in inventories from major distributors and component manufacturers
  2. A grey market for electronics that often engages in price gouging
  3. The unknown state of inventories in the near future

How can companies address these challenges and continue to source components sustainably? Design teams need comprehensive supply chain visibility, including pricing information, inventory data, historical inventories, tools for comparing parts, and a workflow for quickly qualifying and including alternative components in a design.

Altium's goal has always been to ensure every designer has the tools they need to be successful as they create and build electronics. One of the critical pieces in creating new hardware is sourcing, which is one of the more time-consuming administrative tasks required to produce a new design. No one wants to spend hours looking at distributor websites, copying down part numbers, and creating PCB footprints for their components.

To help designers in their efforts to balance cost, capabilities, and procurement, we created this ebook to help users understand how modern supply chain tools can help in these complex design problems. To learn more about this topic please see the full solution - The Positive Impact of Supply Chain Visibility on Design to Cost - or click the link above to view the full ebook.

As part of our commitment to supporting designers with the best supply chain visibility tools, take a look at our list of paid and free supply chain data resources:

  • Octopart, the world's largest aggregator and provider of parts data, has a search engine that allows anyone to find new components.
  • The Manufacturer Part Search Panel compiles CAD data for components, as well as sourcing and purchasing information, into Altium Designer.
  • The ActiveBOM feature compiles all sourcing data and parts descriptions into a configurable BOM format.
  • IHS Markit data integration in Altium 365 provides comprehensive supply chain intelligence.

Altium Designer on Altium 365 delivers unprecedented integration to the electronics industry until now relegated to the world of software development, allowing designers to work from home and reach unprecedented levels of efficiency.

We have only scratched the surface of what is possible to do with Altium Designer on Altium 365. Start your free trial of Altium Designer + Altium 365 today.

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About Author

About Author

Zachariah Peterson has an extensive technical background in academia and industry. He currently provides research, design, and marketing services to companies in the electronics industry. Prior to working in the PCB industry, he taught at Portland State University and conducted research on random laser theory, materials, and stability. His background in scientific research spans topics in nanoparticle lasers, electronic and optoelectronic semiconductor devices, environmental sensors, and stochastics. His work has been published in over a dozen peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and he has written 2000+ technical articles on PCB design for a number of companies. He is a member of IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE Electronics Packaging Society, American Physical Society, and the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA). He previously served as a voting member on the INCITS Quantum Computing Technical Advisory Committee working on technical standards for quantum electronics, and he currently serves on the IEEE P3186 Working Group focused on Port Interface Representing Photonic Signals Using SPICE-class Circuit Simulators.

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