BOM Monitoring from an Engineer’s Eyes

By Logan Wamsley

When viewing the electronics manufacturing industry from the outside, it is easy to gloss over the market conditions that have every bit as much to do with the production process as the design and assembly of the product itself.

Just as a chef can only cook with the right ingredients, or a car technician can only get an engine running with the right tools and parts, an engineer is largely constrained in his role by what is available to him. Should a single semiconductor or resistor become unavailable at any point in the product lifecycle, it can permanently alter the course of that lifecycle for as long as it lasts.

From the engineer’s perspective, critical electronic inventory procurement takes place in two distinct phases: the design phase and the production phase. If he or she does not take the necessary steps in either phase to properly understand the state of the market, then the manufacturer is forced to accept significant supply chain risk that can result in costly redesigns, open market transactions with unauthorized third-party suppliers, or even the discontinuation of the product altogether at a great cost to consumer goodwill.

In both of these phases, Partstat BOM Monitoring can prove an invaluable resource that can allow the engineer’s work to be designed as originally intended, and remain unimpeded and free of supply chain disruptions until the product approaches end-of-life.

During the design phase, for example, an engineer can upload his or her prospective bill of material to the Partstat platform. From the intuitive customer dashboard, the engineer will be able to quickly gauge the state of the market for each critical component through a series of automated trending charts. Powered by advanced algorithms that use over 50 billion points of Big Data, the engineer will instantly be able to view average price, lead time, and distributor inventory levels for each component, which is the strongest safeguard an OEM can have against disruption early in the production process. A component that has an average lead time or price that has rapidly increased in the last six months may not want to be included, for example, and knowing this early on makes the course of the product’s lifecycle much more seamless.*

In the middle of the production process, Partstat BOM Monitoring becomes even more valuable for an engineer. Not only does Partstat present an up-to-date overview of the market of any given component, but our algorithms present the supply chain industry’s only proven method of not only monitoring components for obsolescence and allocation, but predicting obsolescence and allocation before it occurs. BOM monitoring has quickly become a staple of virtually all OEM obsolescence management strategies, but monitoring alone often does not give the company proper time to make the necessary alterations to their inventory procurement strategy. Many components, for example, are obsoleted with an immediate last time buy date, which often grants customers only the smallest of windows to comply. Should the customer miss the date by even a day, then its BOM monitoring strategy might as well have not existed at all.**

By accurately predicting obsolescence and allocation before it occurs, however, brings the full potential of Partstat BOM Monitoring to life. With months of added buffer before the formal receipt of a PCN, an engineer will be able to work with the procurement team to determine the best course of action, whether that be finding a suitable alternative or making a last time buy.

In short, in today’s supply chain, an engineer cannot properly fulfill their role without a BOM monitoring strategy, and even then such a strategy is limited by what that BOM monitoring platform is capable of. And with the ability to predict electronic component obsolescence and allocation across the entire electronics manufacturing ecosystem, no platform is capable of more than Partstat BOM Monitoring.

*For more on how Partstat BOM Monitoring helps engineers during the design phase, be sure to check out our follow-up piece here.

**For more on how Partstat BOM Monitoring helps engineers during the production phase, be sure to check out our follow-up piece here.