3 tips for reducing single source component risk | Arena Solutionshttp://www.arenasolutions.com/blog/post/reducing-single-source-component-risk/[3/28/2014 2:34:46 PM]
By Alyssa Sittig |Posted in Arena, Business Strategy, Product Development
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Designing with a single source part—meaning a part that is only available from a single vendor ordistributor—is one of the riskiest moves an engineer can make. With all your eggs in one basket, whathappens if the supplier raises prices, begins limiting component quantities or goes out of business alltogether?However, that risk may also deliver rewards by enabling you to differentiate your product. And if you optfor the single source strategy, you’ll be in good company. Our 2011 manufacturing outsourcing surveyfound that about 62% of manufacturers rely on a single source for critical components in their designs.Regardless of the prevalence of single sourcing, you’ll want to mitigate the risks associated with singlesourcing a part or parts. Below are our top 3 tips for protecting your product from single sourceuncertainty.
Tip #1: Know how to handle worst-case scenarios
If you discover that your sole source for a critical component has dried up, can you avoid a production halt,lost revenue and lost time?The best way to keep production moving is to take advantage of reliable component searching tools likeOctopart. Octopart is a Google-like search website for electronic components that makes it easier to findalternate components or sources in a pinch. Arena PartsList is a nifty tool that integrates with Octopart to organize and track your part information inone place. Because PartsList connects directly with Octopart, you can instantly pull the latest datasheets,compliance status, pricing and availability information for any component in your PartsList—saving youhours of copying / pasting this information from scattered websites into a spreadsheet.
Tip #2: Nurture your existing supply chain relationships
In the business world, relationships are everything. By building trust and loyalty with your existing supplychain, you’re opening up the opportunity to leverage your suppliers’ networks to help you out of a sourcingbind.GSCS, LLC, an Arena partner, is a group that helps small to mid-size manufacturers manage theircomponent supply chains. If you’re interested in tailored advice on making your component sources moreefficient, check out what GSCS, LLC can offer.
Tip #3: Keep track of the lifecycle of your critical components
You can get a good sense of how risky a component is by paying attention to its lifecycle. Is it stillevolving? Reaching maturity? Close to being discontinued?If you discover that your design stability is lower than you realized or are comfortable with, adjust yourdesign decisions accordingly.
When the risk is too high