Assemblers Play the ‘Revise or Wait’ Game With Designers

Reading time ( words)

Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Duane Benson at Milwaukee Electronics and Screaming Circuits. Duane was pointing out a trend in moving designs into production, which he termed “revise or wait.” This excerpt provides a preview of our exploration of similar topics involving supply chain issues, lead times, and proceeding forward despite the supply challenges.

Nolan Johnson: Duane, the idea of “revise or wait” is interesting. Tell me more.

DuaneBenson_ScreamingCircuits_200.jpgDuane Benson: It really is. I keep going back to the old “build or buy” idea. See, there are people who say, “I can design that little module much better than someone else can.” But there are also submodules which nobody designs; almost nobody designs their own Bluetooth or Wi-Fi section of their circuit, for example. Instead, you buy a module. You have that decision, though: Are you going to build it, or are you going to buy it? 

The “revise or wait” design methodology is very similar except, instead of gambling against your ability to design something better, you’re gambling against the supply chain. We’ve got vendors who are saying some components are out 52 weeks, and then they’re telling us they will be late even to that wait time. We can’t even ask about expedite fees until after those 52 weeks are over. So, what do you do? 

Well, perhaps you’ve designed in one of these awesome new little power components that cut the size of your power supply in half; you don’t want to give that up. But is it worth it to wait an extra year before your design makes it to market? Sometimes the redesign will propagate off the board, throughout the system and all the way out to the packaging, but you must make that decision because a significant edge over your competition might be in the balance. 

The fun part, of course, comes when the part manufacturer quotes you 52+ weeks, and you go ahead and spend a month redesigning a tiny little bit of the circuit, lay it out again, and get a couple of prototypes made—only to have the original manufacturer surprise you by saying, “Oh, by the way, we happened to get some fab capacity early. So, all those parts that we said you’d never ever be able to get? Here’s a bunch of them.” 

That is absolutely the world we live in. Doesn’t matter if we like it or not, that’s where we are right now, and we must be willing to make those kinds of decisions. But trade-offs really are a big part of the stock-in-trade of the engineering world. "Revise or wait" is just another name for what we always do—create great things out of chaos.

I-Connect007 continues to cover industry topics and challenges. Subscribe to SMT007 Magazine, PCB007 Magazine and DESIGN007 Magazine to keep up with the industry conversations. 



Suggested Items

Printed Circuit Boards: Past the Lobby and Onto the Floor

08/08/2022 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
There has not been a time in recent memory when the U.S. legislative body is putting as much focus on the microelectronics industries. One bill, the CHIPS Act, was signed into law last year. A new bill introduced this year seeks to allocate funding for printed circuit board fabrication. In this exclusive interview, our team spoke with Travis Kelly, CEO of Isola Group and president of the Printed Circuit Board Association, and U.S. Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah), who has co-sponsored the bill now before the House. Travis and Blake both express optimism about onshoring domestic production, but the realities of the legislative calendar may pose some risks.

Balancing Talent and Procurement Challenges

07/27/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Ron Preston, vice president of supply chain at Green Circuits, outlines the company’s specific challenges with high-mix work. While the company excels at turning around boards in just a few days, difficulties in supply chain, materials, and staffing remain ever-present. What is to be done and how is Green Circuits working its way through these issues? The answers might surprise you.

Clean Energy and Critical Minerals: The Dichotomy and Divergence

06/20/2022 | Noelle Lovern, Consultant
There has long been a battle between environmental groups and the mining industry. Environmental groups push for clean energy and net zero carbon initiatives while the U.S. mining industry is buried deeper and deeper under overly burdensome permitting processes and relentless lawsuits that halt exploration, construction, and clean production of critical minerals.

Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.