2014 04 29  |  BLOG

The benefits of multi-sourcing of PCB factories compared to single sourcing

20 years ago, when customers was dealing direct with the local PCB shops they were forced to create an organization to do all necessary actions to make a factory perform according to their demands.

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They had to have audit staff, technicians, quality-, logistic- and purchase staff to be able to get the correct boards. They have to use 6-7 factories to get the absolutely best offer. This was fairly easy to handle when the factories was in the vicinity and price wasn't such a big issue.
Then transition started - basically all production moved to Asia, the reasons we all know. Things changed as the distance became greater, different languages and culture came into the picture, the factories were bigger and situated in a different time zone – but price was right.
It was due to this transition companies like NCAB was formed to overcome the gap.
Many customers, especially larger OEM´s, like the idea of working with companies like NCAB to handle the daily business with all the part numbers. But they kept the factory approval process themselves – and might only approve one of our factories to produce their boards. This might be old traditions that is still hanging on, or it might be us that haven´t done our job in convincing the customer about the beauty in buying the full offer from us.

What negative effects might this have and why is multi sourcing important?

To stay competitive we all need to perform and deliver every single day. If something goes wrong, which does happen due to factories moving to new facilities, installing new production lines, lacking of skilled employees etcetera, we need to have a second source so there will be no interruptions. If we don’t have a second source this might, in the long run, get the effect of higher prices, lower quality and late deliveries.
Today, we are doing 15 to 20 annual 3-days audits and 50 process audits. I would say that we are one of the best companies in the world to make audits of PCB factories. Our demands are tough and we set our expectations high. A factory that may get 95% from an OEM audit might only get 65% in an NCAB audit.

So this is my message to all customers:
1. Audit NCAB´s processes instead of the factories.
2. If you still need to approve the actual factory make sure its at least two within all segments.

Make sure you buy the whole NCAB Group offer and not only a part of it!

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