How to Raise the Bottom Line on the Bill of Materials

Lately, we’ve used our blog to discuss an important topic for manufacturers everywhere: cutting costs without going offshore. Previously, we covered how to manufacture a lower cost circuit board assembly through smart design and smart communication. 

Today, we’re talking about how to achieve a low-cost BOM.

It Starts with Supply Chain Expertise
(But there’s more…)

Supply chain expertise is required for a low-cost BOM—but it’s not the only element that requires care and attention. In order to smooth the actual process of assembly, PCBA designers must work closely with contract manufacturers as well as component suppliers.

For a lower-cost bill of materials, try to follow these guidelines.

  • The contract manufacturer and the client company need to be on the exact same page regarding the BOM. Therefore, each component needs to have comprehensive documentation: manufacturer and manufacturers’ part number, a quantity per assembly, a reference designator, and a part description. This last must include general information like commodity type, package size, and a component footprint.
  • Designers should select components for availability first, then unit cost, and then package size (again, with an eye toward minimizing the size of the PCB).
  • Provide multiple sources, or allow for equivalent parts, particularly for passive components such as resistors, capacitors, and diodes.
  • Standard component packages from standard manufacturers will tend to have the highest availability—use these whenever possible. Components that are in production and available through a source such as Digi-key will fit these criteria, with a reasonable lead time.
  • SMT components tend to be smaller and less expensive, and can be mounted to both sides of a board, increasing flexibility in design. For all the most rugged applications, SMT components should be considered before through-hole components. For more guidance as to which components to select for various use-cases, work with a Field Application Engineer from a major distributor.

Have a question about contract manufacturing or assembly? Trust the expertise of New England’s first electronic contract manufacturing company. 

Author: Distron Corporation

Distron Corporation is New England's original electronic manufacturing company, serving business and industry across the country with robust and comprehensive surface mount and pcb capabilities.