In the June issue of Electronic Sourcing North America, there is an interesting article titled Today’s Smart Buyers Need Smarter Software. We all thought software from Mentor Graphics was intended for circuit designers, manufacturing engineers, quality engineers, test engineers and manufacturing managers at all levels, and of course this is true. So why did Mentor target the professional buyer by publishing an editorial in a purchasing magazine? Simple. Buyers need good software too. In fact, since it is very common for purchased material to comprise 80% or more of the added value in an electronic product, especially from the point of view of a contract manufacturer, it is obvious that buyers can have a great deal of impact on the success of a New Product Introduction from purely a bottom line perspective. But a buyer’s contribution can reach much farther into the success of a manufacturing operation, provided they have the right tools. That is where Mentor Graphics Valor Division software comes into the picture. How is this possible? I’m glad you asked.
Profitability in manufacturing often hinges on the ability to be flexible, to quickly react to changing conditions. This includes components. Suppose you are sole sourced on too many items, and due to some unforeseen market condition, perhaps a product recall, you wind up with a shortage on parts the prevent your on-time delivery. Ouch. There may be penalties, certainly lost revenue and lost confidence in the eyes of the customer. If you had spent the time to find and qualify more alternate parts and have them listed in the AVL (Approved Vendor List), such a shortage may have been prevented. Many manufacturers use an AVL that simply lists several “approved” vendors who supply equivalent components in what is presumed to be equivalent packages. Ah. There’s the rub: assumed equivalent packages. If I had a nickel for every time I have seen an assumed equivalent package fail to fit the pads on the circuit card, well, I would have a lot of nickels. Mentor’s vPlan engineering solution together with the VPL (Valor Part Library) can be used by buyers to build and validate their AVL. The software captures the physical models of over 30 million part numbers and links a detailed dimensioned package model to the manufacturers part number. Then the software provides detailed comparisons of the packages of “equivalent parts” in all dimensions that impact the assembly process. In this way, the buyer can ensure that every alternate part on the AVL is in fact an equivalent interchangeable packages, based on the tolerance level he can live with. No guesses. No assumptions. Now that is smart buying! And this is only one of several ways that smart software can help the buyer become the hero he always dreamed he would be. Read the article and you will find several more keys to unlock the buyers potential for success!