As you need a regular supply of PCBs for your manufacturing unit to continue with the production process, you are required to carefully schedule your PCB sourcing calendar. You cannot put some random dates for ordering your PCBs but a number of factors go into the planning and scheduling process. Here are some of those important factors for you to consider when scheduling your PCB sourcing calendar.
Start with your own requirements and have a clear understanding no the number of fully assembled PCBs you would need per month. The volume involved will have a definitive say on the sourcing calendar. The complexity of the PCBs you need will also determine the sourcing calendar. The assumption here is that you have already identified the best PCB fabrication company that matches your requirements both in terms of their ability to handle the volume involved and the complexity of the PCBs.
Secondly, the manufacturing time taken by your PCB manufacturer will also define your sourcing calendar. Your manufacturer should be able to supply you with the required number of PCBs as frequently as you want. If they need a long lead time, then ideally you should be at least two cycles ahead of the production cycle only then your orders will be delivered to you in a timely fashion. Take into consideration the production time and the time required for your China PCB manufacturer to deliver your order.
Your manufacturer will also have their own peak times whereby their manufacturing needs increase. During such times will they be giving priority to your orders or will they need longer turnaround times during such times of the year? You are required to work closely with your manufacturer and understand their capabilities. Only when there is an open dialogue between you and the manufacturer you could schedule a purchase calendar that your manufacturer could fulfil.
If you are going to leave out your manufacturer while planning your sourcing calendar then you could end up with a schedule that is not feasible. Just because you have come up with a schedule it does not mean that your manufacturer will meet it. You need to find out what is likely to work and what is not based on the practical challenges and limitations. Only when you take into account the manufacturing capabilities of your manufacturer, it is possible to plan your calendar that is likely to work. The next time you are planning your PCB sourcing calendar do not forget to take these factors into account.
If there are any lapses with your planning, then there will be delays in the delivery of the order. This will affect your production cycle and it will result in delays in your deliveries to your customers. Therefore, it is vital that you review the entire sourcing calendar as carefully as possible so that even if you happen to run into minor glitches, when you complete an entire sourcing cycle, you will be able to sort things out.