Our world now extends far beyond the traditional brick and mortar of the domestic board suppliers of yesteryear. Now our customers demand that PCB fabricators provide them with a complete and total printed circuit board solution, from domestically built ITAR-registered defense and aerospace boards to high-volume, offshore solutions. Customers demand that we provide them with everything they need—with great service, the highest quality and on-time delivery, and the best price possible. Today’s PCB suppliers should be able to offer their customer a complete solution and the very best value possible.
Customers have come to terms with the fact that if they are going to get all these things from a single PCB supplier, that supplier is going to need to offer a global solution as well as a domestic one, which of course means that it will have to engage in some partnerships with offshore suppliers.
As the world changes so do our customers and more than ever they are demanding their vendors to not only provide them with boards but also with technical expertise and information. We are moving from transactional sales to consultative sales and the best global suppliers are the ones who can provide this.
But as a customer looking for the advantages of choosing the right global sourcing partner, the best solution is a domestic house with their own offshore solution. Here are five things a total global solutions supplier can offer:
1. Total Solution
By choosing a domestic board shop with an offshore solution, you can eliminate many of the problems that you would have by going directly offshore. The company you work with can offer a complete“womb to tomb” solution. It will also provide you with excellent customer service.
When a domestic shop decides to provide their customers with a global solution they expand their capabilities exponentially. They will be able to get you the customer everything you could possible need when it comes to technology, qualification, registrations, and specifications, as opposed to dealing directly with an offshore supplier who cannot provide you with ITAR registered boards, or with a domestic supplier who cannot offer you that great mega volume pricing. Instead, you get everything from one source.
2. Fully Qualified Offshore Suppliers
Your local suppler has gone to the trouble of finding, sourcing, and qualifying all their offshore suppliers for you. They are responsible for the ongoing suitability of those suppliers giving you the assurance that you are dealing with the best fully-qualified suppliers in the world, saving you the time and money you would have to expend if you were doing it yourself.
3. Fast and Easy Problem Solving
Once again, there is ease of doing business. If something goes wrong with the boards that were sourced offshore they will be able to build them in their domestic shop. Also, if there is any sorting to be done it can be handled quickly and efficiently in that domestic facility. In many cases, your global sourcing domestic company has set up an office near their Asian suppliers, manning them with native engineers, expeditors, purchasing people as well as quality people to make sure that only fully acceptable product will be shipped to North America, saving you the customer precious time and money.
4. Competitiveness of Volume Pricing
Because your domestically-owned global supplier is servicing many companies with their offshore partners, they will be purchasing enough boards to have influence with their suppliers, thus enabling them to give you a more competitive price by taking full advantage of their volume pricing.
5. Ease of Doing Business
Simply put, a domestically based global supplier will just make everything so much easier providing you the customer with all the advantages of an offshore supplier with the ease of dealing locally, and that is without a doubt the most valuable aspect of dealing with a domestic PCB board house with a global solution. If you as a company were to go to Asia to find your own sources, you could end up spending thousands of dollars and not finding exactly what you want.
Let’s be clear, global sourcing is not for amateurs. Although it may look easy, the many moving parts can make offshore sourcing precarious at best. Your good domestic global sourcing supplier has spent a great deal of time, effort and money to develop a smoothly running global sourcing supply chain for PCBs and it’s up to you as the customer to simply find the best global source for you to use.
You cannot be too careful when choosing offshore suppliers, but like everything else in business, in the end it is a people-to-people business. Choosing the right people to deal with is what it’s all about. Choose carefully, taking into consideration these five things that a good global supplier can do for you, and you’ll be fine.
Anaya Vardya is CEO at American Standard Circuits. To read past columns or to contact Vardya, click here.