As the world goes global, so does the PCB industry. It is no longer sufficient to have a domestic PCB vendor; it has become critical to have a portal to offshore PCB acquisitions as well. Because there are so many variables in buying boards from a global supplier, it is often much safer and more productive to go through your domestic PCB supplier and use their offshore connections. Here are six reasons why, in many cases, it is better to go through your own domestic PCB supplier when you want to take advantage of the global PCB vendor base.
Note: Keep in mind that very large companies buying vast amounts of PCBs globally don’t need to use their domestic PCB supplier because they have resources to set up sourcing offices and take care of everything themselves. This column is meant for smaller companies buying set amounts of PCBs each year.
1. Buying Offshore Is Not for Amateurs
You need to source the suppliers, visit them, survey them, and qualify them. Then, you need to visit them regularly. This can be very expensive, time-consuming, and precarious. I once heard of an incidence where someone wired a $100,000 payment to a vendor in China and the money got lost on the way. Talk about panic! Who are you going to call when that happens? Going through your domestic PCB supplier eliminates all of this effort and worry.
2. Buyer Power
The chances are good that your domestic PCB supplier is buying millions of dollars of PCBs globally each year, so they have much more buying power than you have. This means that you can take advantage of that buying power and get the best process possible, even with your domestic supplier’s modest mark-up.
Your domestic supplier is also your board expert. Their engineers can handle any technical questions or problems as they occur. And since they are already your supplier, they are already very knowledgeable when it comes to your needs and quality requirements. They know what you need to be successful and can pass that knowledge on to their suppliers to make sure the product they buy for you will be as suitable to your needs as the product they make for you themselves.
It all gets down to quality. Once again, your domestic supplier will make sure that you are getting the same quality PCBs from their global supplier as they send you. They will also handle all of the quality issues, such as making sure their sources have all of the right specifications and qualifications that you require. If there is a quality problem, they will be the ones dealing with it. Speaking of quality problems, if there is a serious problem with the boards from offshore suppliers, and the boards need to be scrapped out (putting you in a schedule bind), your domestic supplier will be able to build the replacement boards very quickly and take care of your immediate needs.
5. Supplier Selection
Because your domestic supplier is working with a number of board shops, they can make sure there are other alternatives if something happens to one of their regular suppliers. This is a great advantage to you as their customer because they have you covered no matter what happens.
6. No Borders
By working with your domestic supplier, you should be able to get any board, technology, capability, and service you require. Once a company makes the decision to buy globally, they are able to provide all PCBs solutions without exception.
Overall, it is good to work and talk with the same accommodating people you know, have the great customer service you’re used to, and receive all of the advantages of buying PCBs globally with the ease of dealing domestically.
Anaya Vardya is president and CEO of American Standard Circuits. Vardya is also a co-author of The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… Fundamentals of RF/Microwave PCBs and Flex and Rigid-Flex Fundamentals. Visit I-007eBooks.com to download these and other free, educational titles.