How designers and purchasing managers can plan for bottlenecks

If the designer takes accessibility into account from the beginning of his design (design for accessibility, DFA), long lead times or costs for a redesign with alternative components can be avoided. If the necessary parts cannot be obtained, the designer must inevitably fall back on alternatives. If this is considered from the start, the developer is well prepared if the situation arises. By taking this hands-on approach and working with a trusted distributor like Mouser, several alternative solutions can be found from a variety of other vendors that will equally meet the needs.

A recommendation is the building elements must be categorized from the beginning according to priority:

  • Category 1: Converters, microcontrollers and processors are essential and should therefore be selected and ordered at the earliest stage of the design cycle (even before using design software).
  • Category 2: Other components such as LEDs, connectors and amplifiers should be selected and specified in the BOM as they are not abundant but have pin-compatible alternatives.
  • Category 3: Passive components such as resistors and capacitors, for which there are several alternatives, can be selected and purchased once your design is complete.

Close cooperation with an authorized electronics dealer

While component shortages may be a new experience for some, distributors have encountered this situation many times before. Mouser is well prepared to help its customers choose alternatives.

Authorized distributors like Mouser regularly communicate with their manufacturing partners to better understand their challenges and gain valuable insight into current and future availability. Building relationships with channel partners gives customers a better understanding of what’s happening in the industry.

Buy only authentic products

In today’s market, design engineers can become frustrated by disruptions in their supply chain and end up sourcing components from unknown distribution sources. However, this decision is extremely risky, as components can come from unauthorized dealers on the gray market. The origin of such parts is often unknown, so their authenticity cannot be determined. It can be difficult to distinguish a counterfeit component from the genuine article, as they can look completely identical from the outside – with the same manufacturer’s brand and part number. Whether a part is fake or real can only be determined by carefully examining the inside of the box – a task that requires the use of an X-ray machine and special inspection skills.

A big problem with counterfeit parts is that they likely haven’t gone through the same rigorous testing and quality control procedures as original parts. This means that in practice they are more likely underperform or even fail. Engineers who use counterfeit components may face legal action if product defects occur.

With chip shortages expected for the remainder of 2022, individuals and OEMs are advised to only purchase components from authorized distributors who have systems in place to trace their components back to the manufacturing site. This is especially important for devices intended for medical or aerospace applications that require documentation and certification.

Mouser is the industry’s first authorized distributor accredited to AS6496, the aerospace industry’s high standard for anti-counterfeiting measures in the authorized distribution of electronic components. The AS6496 standard specifies requirements for the prevention, detection, mitigation and elimination of counterfeit products in the authorized distribution supply chain. This international standard requires authorized distributors to have a counterfeit control policy and a control plan for counterfeit electronic components. AS6496 is aimed at all industries and individuals who want to reduce the risk of counterfeit electronic components in the supply chain.

Mouser is also AS9100D, ISO 9001:2015 and ANSI/ESD S20.20-2014 registered, the industry’s highest standards for quality, control and electrostatic discharge (ESD). Registration to these standards demonstrates to customers that Mouser is an authorized distributor of components of the highest quality, providing traceability, risk management, process control, customer support, product availability and document control.

Mouser has strict procedures designed to prevent counterfeit products from entering the supply chain, so customers can be confident they are purchasing 100 percent authentic components.

Leverage tools to support DFA implementation

Many online tools help simplify DFA tasks, including Mouser’s intelligent BOM tool Forte, a free and easy way to manage complete BOMs for a product’s lifecycle. Forte offers a number of valuable and time-saving features that reduce risk, including:

  • Flexible BOM import process from almost all spreadsheet formats
  • Part matches confidence level to ensure correct part selection
  • See design risks to avoid inventory and obsolescence issues
  • Easily add, modify and delete parts without leaving the tool
  • Check price differences for multiple quantities without having to change the BOM
  • Export, share and print BOMs

Distributors such as Mouser also provide comprehensive design information for each component, including PCB footprints, symbols and 3D CAD models. These important product files contain all information about the circuit and mechanical aspects of the design, facilitating product selection and the design process. (reach)

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