A Well-Designed Laminate Supply Chain has to Own It!


Reading time ( words)

Designing a supply chain for the provision of laminates and pre-pregs to the PCB fabricator shouldn’t be that complicated, should it? The laminate is simply manufactured and then shipped...what could possibly go wrong? It turns out it is more complicated, partly because the supply chain is not fully owned by one supplier, and hence cannot be fully customized to the needs of each customer. 

There are a number of things that make that supply chain complex beyond the fact that there are multiple parties involved, from the laminator to the distributor or sales agent to the logistics provider. 

Forecasting, as we all know, is not an exact science, especially in Western Europe and North America, where lower volumes, high mix and quick-turn are the demand drivers. The PCB industry is so unpredictable in its demand that most fabricators won’t offer their laminate supplier a forecast at all. This may not be a problem for the regularly used, standard materials that are most likely available locally and at short notice, or are perhaps even part of a consignment stock agreement. But what about those unusual requests, which seem to always be accompanied by a request for fast turnaround? These might not be available in your geography, and that delay in receiving material can be the difference between winning or losing an order, or even retaining or losing a customer.

Increasingly, the supply chain seems to want to shift any commercial risk involved in stocking goods onto the customer who isn’t refusing to forecast because they don’t want to, but simply because they can’t.

So demand is unpredictable, but there’s more to it than that. What about customization of materials, such as unbalanced copper or an unusual build structure? This is out of the question for typical laminate supply chains with third-party distribution, where the local vendor has to share your needs with his supplier or suppliers and find a solution that then has to be produced and shipped. All of that takes time—too much time.


Read the full article here.


Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue f The PCB Magazine.

Share




Suggested Items

Catching Up with Prototron’s Lee Salazar: Sales in the New Frontier

07/12/2022 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
In the business world, salespeople arguably were the most affected by the pandemic. These professionals had to be the most creative when trying to ply their trade. They had to work from home, make phone calls in lieu of face to face, and learn how to use social media networks and newsletters. This was all to reach their customers—who also were working from home. Even when they got vaccinated and managed to hit the road, they often found that their customers’ doors were closed and they were not allowed inside, if their particular contact was there at all. Many times, they had to resort to meeting their customers in parking lots or restaurants with outdoor dining. And guess what? It’s not even over yet. So, how does a salesperson create success when so much seems to have changed? I reached out to Lee Salazar of Prototron to learn how he met the challenges, and his tips for others who are moving forward.

EIPC Summer Conference 2022: Day 2 Review

06/29/2022 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Örebro, Sweden on June 15 brought a bright and early start to Day 2 of the EIPC Summer Conference for those who had enjoyed the previous evening’s networking dinner, but had resisted the temptation to over-indulge or to carry on their long-awaited catch-up conversations with old friends into the small hours. All but a few were in their seats for 9 a.m., awake and attentive for Session 4 of the conference, on the theme of new process technologies, moderated by Martyn Gaudion, CEO of Polar Instruments.

EIPC Summer Conference 2022: Day 1 Review

06/28/2022 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
At last, a live EIPC conference and this time in the Swedish city of Örebro, “where history and contemporary culture converge,” a pleasant and convenient location for an event that included a privileged visit to the Ericsson facility in Kumla. Around 100 delegates made the journey and the Örebro Scandic Grand Hotel was an excellent conference venue for the June 14-15 conference.



Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.