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Supply Chain Challenges - Tips for keeping your deadlines and budgets in the face of them
-Matt Stevenson

The electronics industry is in the midst of several challenges concerning supply chain. Shortage of parts, and laminates are some of the biggest challenges facing our industry today. Many of our customers are being caught by this nasty reality and for some of them it is a complete surprise. Do not let that happen to you.  Be prepared, be informed and stay ahead of part shortages and costly tariffs.  
Tip 1: At the design stage, availability and cost of parts and laminates should be a driving factor for selection, especially for the passive parts (capacitors and resistors) and low loss / high frequency laminates.  Parts manufacturers are recommending using smaller value passives as much as possible. They are in the midst of consolidation of values and are heading towards these smaller values, rendering the larger value components nearly obsolete and with longer lead times. It may even make sense to purchase these parts (or laminates) that you are designing to at this stage so that you know you will have them when you are ready for manufacturing. 

Tip 2: Spend a little extra time during design to use parts that have substitutes readily defined. When it comes time to get your project quoted, supplying these substitutes with your BOM can speed up the quoting process as well and increase your chances of finding available parts. The quoting stage would be a painful time to have to respin your design due to lack of available parts or long lead times on laminates, potentially jeopardizing your deadline. 

Tip 3: Staying ahead of tariffs can be a headache like nothing else.  Not all parts are subject to these, just certain types manufactured in certain places. On some parts this tariff can equate to fractions of a cent per part, while other parts this can substantially increase the pricing and blow your budget right out of the water. Knowing which parts and which suppliers are subject to these tariffs can help keep you ahead of the curve. 

It is challenging out there right now and it will not likely get any easier in the near future. Stay ahead of the game and keep your projects on time!



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