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IMparting Knowledge on element14.com

Derating: Designing in Operating Margins for Extended component & Product Lifetime on ebnonline.com

Imparting Knowledge pt 2 on element14.com

Im-PART-ing Knowledge: Component Engineering Resistors on Jameco.com

Douglas Alexander’s published article at Jameco.com

IMparting Knowledge at Electronicproducts.com

Components Engineering is a comprehensive Engineering Support discipline, and in many Engineering and Manufacturing companies, a highly respected department. A Components Engineer’s efforts significantly contribute to a product’s long-term reliability, continuing availability, and instant Sales and Marketing credibility gained through and recognized by a company’s repeat business opportunities, superior customer relationships, and an industry wide reputation for quality and excellent after-market support services. This website has been developed to first create a meeting place for Components Engineers who have gained the hands-on experience working as a CE and who also have a desire to network and share that knowledge with other CE’s. Over the years, I have tried to find a website dedicated to this discipline and have only found one, (The Society of Components Engineers in Orange County.)

Educational Articles on the Web

New Ships Can Carry 22,000 Containers

New Ships Can Carry 22,000 Containers - Douglas Alexander on EPS Imagine a freighter the length of five football fields hauling electronics from port to port in 22,000 containers.

Save Money on Rentals With RFID

Save Money on Rentals With RFID - Douglas Alexander on EPS

Radio frequency identification device technology can save money for companies concerned with the integrity of their supply chains.

Conflict Minerals: A PR Opportunity

Identify Your Sources of Conflict Minerals - Douglas Alexander on EPS

Corporations often rant about too much government in business. Here is a piece of legislation that could give a corporation a significant boost in both customer and investor satisfaction.

Identify Your Sources of Conflict Minerals

Identify Your Sources of Conflict Minerals - Douglas Alexander on EPS

As if we didn't have enough paperwork to support our day-to-day supply chain concerns, here comes another truck load of documents that may be worth their weight in gold.

No Charge, Nuclear Power for Mobile Devices

No Charge, Nuclear Power for Mobile Devices - Douglas Alexander on EPS

We all know that energy is the key factor that keeps the world’s economy going. From chemical energy in food comes muscle energy in the body. The muscle movement drives the arm and hand that designs the equipment that digs the wells that release fossil fuels that are available for some finite time and in some finite supply.

Engineering & Purchasing: Joined at the Hip

Engineering & Purchasing: Joined at the Hip - Douglas Alexander on EPS

In an industry where engineering is constantly feeding new products to the manufacturing floor, several disciplines must be in place to assure the smoothest transitions from the R&D group to the operations group.

No Charge, Nuclear Power for Mobile Devices

No Charge, Nuclear Power for Mobile Devices - Douglas Alexander on EPS

We all know ...

PRD: Where Engineering Meets Purchasing

PRD: Where Engineering Meets Purchasing - Douglas Alexander on EPS

At the beginning of every engineering project, certain items of information must be known. It is this very early stage of product development that determines what material and human resources will be required to go forward with the design and ultimately produce the final product.

Essential Design Tips for Purchasing Pros

Essential Design Tips for Purchasing Pros - Douglas Alexander on EPS

One of the most effective means of communication is by means of an illustration. If that illustration contains dimensional data and design characteristics that predict what a future product may look like, then the illustration can be referred to as a concept drawing. A concept drawing does not contain critical parametric or component values because at the time of the drawing’s creation, the product ...

Resolving Emergency Components Shortages

Resolving Emergency Components Shortages - Douglas Alexander on EPS

Every purchasing person knows that from time to time some suppliers are not going to be able to help with either emergency shortages or alternate source component research and subsequent supply. When this is the case, things around the factory start to heat up and depending upon the urgency of the requirement, the company firefighters such as component and sustaining engineers and purchasing/procurement professionals are called ...

Surplus Parts Firms Sometime Make Sense

Surplus Parts Firms Sometime Make Sense - Douglas Alexander on EPS

In my last article, I discussed electronics surplus houses and their role in the electronics supply chain. This article reviews one specific surplus electronics supply company and how the day-to-day operations take place. (See: Resolving Emergency Components Shortages).

Influence vs. Power in Electronics Purchasing

Influence vs. Power in Electronics Purchasing - Douglas Alexander on EPS

Purchasing is a very powerful function in a company. Buying too much or too soon can burden the cash flow to the extent that some suppliers may not be paid within their net terms schedule. Or worse yet, the company cannot meet basic payroll or other operating expenses. Buying too soon stunts inventory turn counts, increases carrying costs, and prolongs any returns on the ...

Purchasing Ethics: The Lies We Tell

Purchasing Ethics: The Lies We Tell - Douglas Alexander on EPS

As a buyer that was keen for big cost savings on behalf of the companies I’ve worked for, I crossed over to the dark side more often than not in my purchasing functions. I am not proud of it and I personally gained nothing from it except a feeling of accomplishment that I was able to help keep the cost of goods sold (COGS) ...

Why RFID is a Purchasing Dream Tool

Why RFID is a Purchasing Dream Tool - Douglas Alexander on EPS

Having just attended the RFID Live 2013 conference in San Francisco, I was reminded of the myriad applications for RFID in tracking assets, monitoring systems and transmitting key data to and from sensing and recording devices. As I considered the potential uses of RFID technology for purchasing and operations people, I mentally formulated an end-to-end supply chain solution that could be developed and ...

Capturing B2B Potentials of RFID

Capturing B2B Potentials of RFID - Douglas Alexander on EPS

With RFID technology coming on line for many different business sectors, I could not help but notice the impact for B2B applications with respect to the management of critical data to ensure they can survive the untimely demise of a product in the field. Why is this important? Instead of having to reconstruct the scene of a crime, if it were possible to view the ...

Purchasing and the Date Codes Tool

Purchasing and the Date Codes Tool - Douglas Alexander on EPS

One of the responsibilities for purchasing is to maintain a strong supplier relationship by providing critical feedback to the supplier from time to time. When there is a problem with a shipment or a sub-par performance of the product shipped, then the buyer should be in contact with the selling agent to determine the best and most timely solution to the problem.

Dream Cargo: Inspection-Free Shipment by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Dream Cargo: Inspection-Free Shipment - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Your company's cargo can ship anywhere worldwide without inspection delays, but it requires a level of trust and technology enablement.

Procurement Strategies: Follow-Up Reminders by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Procurement Strategies: Follow-Up Reminders - Douglas Alexander on EBN

We all need reminders from time-to-time. It tightens up business and helps avoid time-critical information vacuums.

Design Practices: Good 'Specmanship' for Optimal Cost by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Design Practices: Good 'Specmanship' for Optimal Cost - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The formula for success in engineering is to design products that offer optimal cost and yield after meeting all specifications.

Managing Procurement Risks by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Managing Procurement Risks - Douglas Alexander on EBN

There are best-practices that can help identify and avoid problems in advance of a catastrophic procurement mishap. Here are some examples.

Building the Efficient Supply Chain by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Building the Efficient Supply Chain - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Any action that can speed up any portion of the supply chain will increase the efficiency of the entire operating network.

Procurement Functions a PC Cannot Perform by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Procurement Functions a PC Cannot Perform - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The best procurement strategy is to never take humans out of the purchasing operations. That will take a company right over a cliff.

Reverse Supply Chain & Our Shared Values by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Reverse Supply Chain & Our Shared Values - Douglas Alexander on EBN

A strong reverse supply chain not only helps to improve operations, but it can also reduce costs and add bragging rights.

Critical Skills for Today's Components Engineer by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Critical Skills for Today's Components Engineer - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The component engineer is an important member of a company's supply chain. Cultivating and educating them should be a priority.

Leveraging Supplier Sample Parts for Design Efficiency by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Leveraging Supplier Sample Parts for Design Efficiency - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Getting the most from your new part or sample part system entails best-practices management procedures. Do you have one?

Save Those Failed Components by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Save Those Failed Components - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Valuable information is lost when the same components keep failing without being saved for further investigation.

China, Solar Power & the Supply Chain, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

China, Solar Power & the Supply Chain - Douglas Alexander on EBN

China is subsidizing solar panel production and hurting other vendors, but the US can still find ways to extract value from the industry.

Calibrating for Product Integrity, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Calibrating for Product Integrity - Douglas Alexander on EBN

A design is only as good as the actual measurements can confirm, but the integrity of the process depends also on the equipment used.

Reshoring the US Economy, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Reshoring the US Economy - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The possibility exists that many US companies may move some manufacturing operations back home from China as its labor costs rise.

Simplifying Design & Supply Risks, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Simplifying Design & Supply Risks - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The shorter the supply chain, the more manageable it is, but this length is often determined by strategies implemented in the design operation.

Where Are the Chinese Buyers? By Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Where Are the Chinese Buyers? - Douglas Alexander on EBN

China needs to extricate itself from the investment and export-driven growth model, and develop into a consumption-led economy.

The Art of Concurrent Engineering, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

The Art of Concurrent Engineering - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The discipline of concurrent engineering allows manufacturers to involve stakeholders early to ensure smooth and efficient production.

Robotic Revolution, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Robotic Revolution - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Robots could be the new top-level worker in tomorrow's factory, driving down operating costs and raising production efficiency.

An Ounce of Review, A Ton of Cure, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

An Ounce of Review, A Ton of Cure - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Design engineers are vital to product development, but manufacturing success requires the early involvement of the component engineer.

Building the 'Ideal' Supply Chain, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Building the 'Ideal' Supply Chain - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The ideal supply chain is not a transplant but must be specific to a product or organization and flexible for unexpected developments.

Greater Role Seen for RFID in Supply Chain, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Greater Role Seen for RFID in Supply Chain - Douglas Alexander on EBN

RFID will soon have an expanded role in the supply chain, and evolving battery technology is fueling this development.

Logistics Acronyms: Are You Confused Enough? By Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Logistics Acronyms: Are You Confused Enough? - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The logistics industry is filled with enough challenges for the multi-country shipper. Acronyms have only made it worse.

Tracking the Disruptions of Technology Convergence, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Tracking the Disruptions of Technology Convergence - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Technology innovations have advanced to the point where many products are converging and opening even more opportunities for developers.

Will US-China Trade Reform Put Technology at Risk? By Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Will US-China Trade Reform Put Technology at Risk? - Douglas Alexander on EBN

If products like microprocessors, microcontrollers, and other advanced components are exported with reduced restrictions, then we may be inadvertently giving up some of our core technologies in terms of development and processing know-how.

Technology Transfer Fuels Counterfeiting, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Technology Transfer Fuels Counterfeiting - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Stopping counterfeiting has been made more difficult by technology transfer and the availability of sophisticated cloning systems.

Anti-Counterfeiting DNA Marking Gets a Boost, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Anti-Counterfeiting DNA Marking Gets a Boost - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The practice of marking goods with DNA is headed for ubiquitous adoption across many industry sectors, especially in electronics.

ZigBee Transforms the Supply Chain, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

ZigBee Transforms the Supply Chain - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Any new technology, such as the ZigBee wireless protocol, can breathe new life into supply chain best-practices.

Design for Manufacturing, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Design for Manufacturing - Douglas Alexander on EBN

When it comes to choosing a contract manufacturer, forewarned is forearmed.

Design-for-Assembly Is Crucial to Design Success, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Design-for-Assembly Is Crucial to Design Success - Douglas Alexander on EBN

When products are being designed, the engineers must also consider product characteristics beyond functions, user interfaces, appearances, or operating conditions.

Counterfeiting as an Art Form, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Counterfeiting as an Art Form - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Imagine the counterfeiter's pride as he manages to reverse engineer and duplicate an Intel processor requiring millions of transistors with multilayer interconnects.

Apple iPad: iThink iWon't Upgrade, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Apple iPad: iThink iWon't Upgrade - Douglas Alexander on EBN

There aren't a lot of compelling reasons to upgrade from today's iPad, or other devices for that matter.

Trade Secrets for Sale, by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Trade Secrets for Sale - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Recent government reports tell us that North America is losing a fortune to IP theft, much of it involving China.

RFID Sparks New Supply Chain Demand - by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

RFID Sparks New Supply Chain Demand - Douglas Alexander on EBN

RFID makes it possible not only to increase the quantity and types of products streaming through the supply chain, but also to build higher-level products and services.

Fight Counterfeiting With Handheld DNA Sequencing - by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline

Fight Counterfeiting With Handheld DNA Sequencing - Douglas Alexander on EBN

We used to think it might be two to four years before a portable DNA sequencer might become available. Suddenly, it's here and affordable.

Games, Grandkids & the Supply Chain - by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

Games, Grandkids & the Supply Chain - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Games can teach kids a lot about life; so too can we learn about the supply chain from them.

22-Fold Rise Predicted for M2M Devices by 2016 - by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

22-Fold Rise Predicted for M2M Devices by 2016 - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Machine-to-machine technology is growing so rapidly that one report says there could be 10 billion connected devices by 2016. That's a big market opportunity.

30,000 Drones May Watch Americans by 2020 - by Douglas Alexander on EBNonline.com

30,000 Drones May Watch Americans by 2020 - Douglas Alexander on EBN

It’s reasonable to assume that tens of thousands of drones are coming soon to a neighborhood near you. How will they affect your privacy?

14 Key Considerations for the Winning Design

14 Key Considerations for the Winning Design - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Generally speaking, the more thoroughly a manufacturing team develops a design concept, and the more qualified the thought process involved, the more likely the end product's success in the marketplace. That's why most of us who are involved in electronics manufacturing or R&D are familiar with the acronyms DFT, DFM, and DFA. These three stand for Design for Test, Design for Manufacturing, and ...

Design Tradeoffs that make Financial Sense

Design Tradeoffs that Make Financial Sense - Douglas Alexander on EBN

In response to my last article, 14 Key Considerations for the Winning Design , a reader named Waqasaltaf made the following statement with regard to design considerations:

EU Rallies REACH Enforcement Troop

EU Rallies REACH Enforcement Troop - Douglas Alexander on EBN

In a series of articles on the Registration, Evaluation, and Analysis of Chemicals (REACH) published by myself and others for EBN and Velocity, there has been much information provided for understanding the basics of the legislation and the resources that can guide a company through the procedures for necessary compliance. (See: Bridging the REACH Gulf With Sitmae and The End of JGPSSI & JIG-101.)

Strategies for Using Third-Party Programming

Strategies for using Third-Party Programming - Douglas Alexander on EBN

When a company moves into volume production, the part-inventory requirements increase both in quantity and aggregated value. Some of the parts used are off-the-shelf components, while others are custom, or programmable, parts. While program code is being developed and tested, an engineering lab will often buy or rent an EEPROM, PROM, or other type of memory programmer for R&D low-part counts where turnaround for prototype ...

Rising REACH Compliance Costs may Force Rethinking

Rising REACH Compliance Costs may Force Rethinking - Douglas Alexander on EBN

To date, there are a total of 84 chemical listings on the Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list. The last thirteen additions were all carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction. The target number by the end of 2012 is 136 substances. Now for the sake of politics, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) plans to do hurry-up dossier submittals containing just the ...

ITAIDE: Towards Safer, More Secure Supply Chains

ITAIDE: Toward Safer, More Secure Supply Chains - Douglas Alexander on EBN

It's commonsense that the more one repeatedly does the same thing to complete a single task, the longer the job is going to take. If it were possible to identify every repetitive action and only do things once in order to achieve desired results, there would be an exponential savings in time and effort.

Six Degrees of Counterfeiting Detection & Prevention

Six Degrees of Counterfeiting Detection & Prevention - Douglas Alexander on EBN

In one of the recent articles I wrote, there was a comment regarding document security and embedded RFID tags. The questions related to how the recipient would know that the document had not been tampered with, even if the RFID tag was genuine. I followed up on that comment and discovered the author of the question was from a company called 6DCP.

Voice Control Powering Distribution Efficiency

Voice Control Powering Distribution Efficiency - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Back in the 1980s, I was on a supplier audit mission and requested a review of a distributor's warehouse system. I was taken to the back of a very large building, guided through secured double doors, and introduced to the unexpected.

Why a Regular Inventory Audit is Critical to Success

Why a Regular Inventory Audit is Critical for Success - Douglas Alexander on EBN

In most manufacturing companies a hands-on, manual inventory audit is taken at least once a year and is therefore referred to as the "annual physical inventory." Inventory-dependent businesses help maintain the integrity of the inventory by doing what is called a cycle count at least once a quarter. I will talk more about this a little later on. For now, let's ...

Strengthening the Weakest Link: Security

Strengthening the Weakest Link: Security - Douglas Alexander on EBN

When you absolutely need an overnight shipment from overseas, it can be difficult to know when you'll actually get the ordered goods.

The Raw Power of the RFQ Process

The Raw Power of the RFQ Process - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Way back before there was software for generating request-for-quotes (RFQs), there were blank ledger forms. These were multiple row and columnar pages in a paper binding that could be used for almost anything, from inventory records to purchasing logs. Filling in these paper sheets was very time-consuming, but it was the only option for early buyers

Star TRECs for the Supply Chain

Star TRECs for the Supply Chain - Douglas Alexander on EBN

I just returned from a two-week vacation in which I had to engage several airlines to get to my destination. I noticed something has changed with the Transportation Security Administration people. They did not ask if I had left my baggage unattended or if it was ever out of my sight. In the past, if you had answered these questions honestly, the TSA would ...

Aboard the Tech Express

Aboard the Tech Express - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Two weeks ago, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to allow driverless, autonomous cars on California roads by 2015. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has logged hundreds of thousands of driverless miles using modified Prius hybrids. My mental gears started mashing as I began to think in terms of what this could mean for the supply chain and job implications for individuals.

Leveraging the Raw Power of RFQ Process

Leveraging the Raw Power of RFQ - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Way back before there was software for generating requests for quotes (RFQs), there were blank ledger forms. These multiple row and columnar pages in a paper binding could be used for almost anything from inventory records to purchasing logs. Filling them out was very time consuming, but it was the only option for early buyers.

Can DNA Marking solve 'Mineral Conflict' Problem? - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Can DNA Marking solve 'Mineral Conflict' Problem? - Douglas Alexander on EBN

After reading Bolaji Ojo's article, Illusions of 'Conflict-Free' Minerals, I wanted to understand how this issue might be tackled head-on and what technology could come into play to counter the forces behind this insidious problem.

>Anti-Counterfeit Measure: Get it in Writing - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Anti-Counterfeit Measure: Get it in Writing - Douglas Alexander on EBN

What can I do as a purchasing agent for a small company to ensure I will not get counterfeit or used components from an electronics parts broker? This wasn't a big issue 20 years ago, but it is becoming more and more of a problem with just-in-time purchasing policies and more expensive integrated circuits like systems on a chip (SoC).

Time to redefine 'Waste' in the US - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Time to redefine 'Waste' in the US - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Raise your hand if you recycle. This means you are creating what is known as separate waste. Its pickup and retrieval is called separate collection. Plastic goes in one bin, cans and other tin and aluminum waste in another, and paper goods in a third, right? Well, that is how it is supposed to work, but let me dazzle you with some statistics.

RFID Tagging for Document Security - Douglas Alexander on EBN

RFID Tagging for Document Security - Douglas Alexander on EBN

In the olden days, secret documents and important papers and envelopes were sealed with hot wax that had been embossed with the author's signature or signet ring. This seal not only authenticated the sender's mail, but if the wax had been broken in transit, the document could no longer be considered secure. The owner of the ring usually did not remove the ring allowing free ...

The CAT in the Town - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The CAT in the Town - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Every once in a while, you find a company that is not high-tech or Web-based and whose products are not downloadable. Most people are familiar with the term "brick and mortar" for a company with a real, physical presence on the streets where we all live. If a brick-and-mortar company is doing well, then most likely it has a captured market, a very good product ...

The Dilemna of Growth vs Green - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The Dilemna of Growth vs Green - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Sustaining one industry can result in the depletion of another. Maintaining a balanced supply against a balanced demand is a counterintuitive concept. Manufacturers want a higher demand than current supply, and distributors would like to see a higher book-to-bill ratio. However, is it possible to sustain that growth without taking more out of the environment than we're putting back in?

Creating the 3D Printing Supply Chain - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Creating the 3D Printing Supply Chain - Douglas Alexander on EBN

What will be the next really big business opportunity? I wrote recently about 3D printers. If you already own an inkjet or laser printer, you know how aggravating and expensive it is to operate. I do a lot of printing, and I always make sure I have extra cartridges close at hand. It is not by accident that I have spent more money for ...

Wonder Alert: 3D Printing - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Wonder Alert: 3D Printing - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Technology is moving forward so rapidly that if you blink once, you will miss some significant advances. I am amazed at the products coming via convergence. As each new product is introduced, the supply chain takes on new characteristics in the form of supporting and aftermarket opportunities. Of particular note are the 3D printing technologies involving DIY (do-it-yourself) equipment, software, and supplies.

Get Ready for Design for Disassembly - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Get Ready for Design for Disassembly - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Probably one of the best efforts in the world for managing electronic waste is under way in the European Union.

Bridging the REACH Gulf with Sitmae - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Bridging the REACH Gulf with Sitmae - Douglas Alexander on EBN

In this continuing series on resources and services related to the European Union's environmental protection regulation known as REACH, for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of CHemical substances, I have covered some key providers including GreenSoft Technologies, Design Chain Associates, Total Parts Plus, and EEContent.com.

Intel, RFID & an Industry in Transition - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Intel, RFID & an Industry in Transition - Douglas Alexander on EBN

1968 was a big year for me. I joined the Air Force because I didn't have a clue about what I wanted to do with my life. I tested high in the aptitude examinations and was given a choice of anything I wanted to do. Still not having a clue, I chose a title that had a triangle, a circle, and a square ...

Sustainable = Green + Profitable - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Sustainable = Green + Profitable - Douglas Alexander on EBN

When I think of the word "sustainability," I imagine lasting value based on reliability, efficiency, dependability, availability, affordability, and consistency -- factors treasured by all manufacturers in the electronics industry. Though many other words may also apply, in general, these characteristics not only assure a long lifecycle, but when taken into consideration at the earliest conception and design stages, they also raise the probability of ...

Supplier Hit Parade, Part 1 - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Supplier Hit Parade, Part 1 - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Customer concerns cannot be ignored when evaluating factors that make a supply chain competitive. If it is true that the customer is the "bread and butter" for the supplier, then the supplier must take many cues from the customer in order to provide a fully satisfying buyer experience. I contend that meeting a customer's needs and keeping them satisfied is the key to not just ...

Tapping Innovation for Process Improvement - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Tapping Innovation for Process Improvement - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Technology has had no small part to play in reshaping and resizing the supply chain at every level of its existence. In an earlier article, I talked about the inner department supply chain, where I suggested that department managers should look at their internal operations as links in their own supply chains. I also indicated I would write about the technologies that have shortened the ...

The Bathtub Curve & Other Lifecycle Extension Tools - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The Bathtub Curve & Other Lifecycle Extension Tools - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Have you heard of the "bathtub curve"? The graphic representation looks like a very lazy "U." On the x-axis, we plot the entire lifecycle of a component or assembly, and on the y-axis, we plot the number or percentage of failures.

Strengthening the Weakest Link - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Strengthening the Weakest Link - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Continuing on with the pictorial representation of the supply chain and its many interlinks, I could not help but think of a chain link fence as a macro model. If one were to cut one link, the fence does not fall down, and the integrity is little affected.

Be Different: Hire an Industrial Designer - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Be Different: Hire an Industrial Designer - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Good grief! Every time I tune into CNET, there is another version of a mobile phone being introduced. I could list multiple manufacturers cranking out newer versions of their products before the batteries on a previous version need their first recharge. All these rapid release versions are generating an aversion to the high-tech market in general on my part.

The Mini Supply Chain: Overlooked, yet Potent - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The Mini Supply Chain: Overlooked, yet Potent - Douglas Alexander on EBN

When I hear the term "supply chain," I have two images in my mind. One is of a straight, finite-length standard chain, with each link assigned to a function like raw material mining, processing or synthesizing, transportation, manufacturing, distribution, etc. The other image is of a circle that begins and ends with recycling, reclamation, or raw material.

The Power & Benefits of Customer Survey - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The Power & Benefits of Customer Survey - Douglas Alexander on EBN

If I was a supplier and wanted to be as competitive as possible, I would poll my customer base on a semi-annual basis. I would send out a performance survey request to every customer that has done business with me more than ten times a year. Using the standard, quick completion method of asking for a 1 to 5 rating, the survey would ...

When a Supplier Goes the Second Mile - Douglas Alexander on EBN

When a Supplier Goes the Second Mile - Douglas Alexander on EBN

When purchasing goes into action, it goes to its Tier 1 suppliers first. Tier 1 is not always a function of size as much as it is a rating of performance history. Nothing is more irksome to a buyer than being told a component is available and then discovering that is not true.

Counterfeiters: Merchants of Death - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Counterfeiters: Merchants of Death - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Ever since EBN reader Rich K made a comment in response to one of my articles on counterfeiting, I have been considering the nuances of his statement, which in reality was a joke but one with an ironic twist. Rich said: "News Flash: Investigators today discovered that the entire mainland United States had been counterfeited and packaged to look like the original." (See: Calm Down: Counterfeiters ...

Supplier Hit Parade, Part 2 - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Supplier Hit Parade, Part 2 - Douglas Alexander on EBN

In the first part of this blog, I emphasized why it is important for component suppliers and contractors to take their cue from customers if they wish to establish a long-term relationship with one another. After more than two decades in the high-tech sector as a component engineer (during which I doubled as the buyer for many employers), I have identified many characteristics most purchasing ...

US Missing on REACH & Other Green Rules - Douglas Alexander on EBN<

US Missing on REACH & Other Green Rules - Douglas Alexander on EBN

After writing a number of articles about the European Union's Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and other regulatory compliance issues, I have become increasingly aware that Europe is at least 10 years ahead of the United States in demonstrating and mandating concern for the safety and health of its people.

Supply Chain Basics: Know Yourself & the Enemy - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Supply Chain Basics: Know Yourself & the Enemy - Douglas Alexander on EBN

If I were to ask the most critical question with regard to what assures a company's success in its business sector, I would expect a variety of responses, including product quality, efficient operations, an aggressive and effective sales and marketing effort, key inside industry contacts, a good reputation, and, of course, innovative ideas for the products themselves.

>Calm Down: Counterfeiters Can Be Stopped - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Calm Down: Counterfeiters Can Be Stopped - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Imagine taking the Sunday edition of the New York Times, cutting out every single word, one by one, and stacking them in a completely random order to form a pile about three and a half feet high. Now add to these other words in a language only you know and then create one single sentence from the entire stack by selecting words that only ...

7 Essential Services for Environmental Compliance - Douglas Alexander on EBN

7 Essential Services for Environmental Compliance - Douglas Alexander on EBN

For those of you who have been following these REACH Best-Practices articles, I have been doing my best to be as comprehensive as possible in the overviews. Recently, I met with the staff of GreenSoft Technology and was treated to a demonstration of its services and software product, GreenData Manager. GreenSoft specializes in environmental compliance document retrieval and has developed software to manage the ...

Top 10 Rules for Alternate Parts Sourcing - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Top 10 Rules for Alternate Parts Sourcing - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The most effective purchasing professionals understand the significance of anticipating changes that could derail carefully laid out procurement plans. One challenge is sourcing replacements for items on a component list that may need to be swapped for a variety of reasons, including temporary scarcity or a supplier's decision to stop making a part.

Updated Primer on WEEE & RoHS

An updated Primer on WEEE & RoHS pt.2 - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The European Parliament, in its Resolution of 14 November 1996 (7), asked the European Commission to present proposals for directives on a number of priority waste streams, including electrical and electronic waste, and to base such proposals on the principle of producer responsibility.

If I were a Counterfeiter... - Douglas Alexander on EBN

If I were a Counterfeiter... - Douglas Alexander on EBN

If I were to think as a counterfeiter, I would want to exploit every weakness in anti-counterfeiting technologies and also want my illicit products to slip into the supply chain as quietly as possible.

An Updated Primer on WEEE & RoHS, Pt 1 - Douglas Alexander on EBN

An Updated Primer on WEEE & RoHS, Pt 1 - Douglas Alexander on EBN

This blog discusses the Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directives and how they affect the design, manufacture, marketing, and sales of products sold in the European Community member states and North America.

Purchasing: Best Materials Management - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Purchasing: Best Materials Management - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Before a new product is released or a major factory production begins, the materials group should have published a materials strategy procedure for the anticipated build plan. Here are a few strategies to choose from and the benefits and conditions for each strategy:

Avoiding Production Fire Drills by Douglas on EBN

Avoiding Production Fire Drills - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Continuing with our discussion on the Original Equipment Manufacturer-Contract Manufacturer (OEM-CM) relationship, it is important to note that, while many contractor operations are similar, they may have very different procedures and methods for mapping workflow.

Counterfeiters meet their match in DNA tagging by Douglas on EBN

Counteiters meet their Match in DNA Tagging on EBN - Douglas Alexander on EBN

A comment on one of my earlier articles in March, Counterfeiting: The Battle Is On, asked me to look into Applied DNA Sciences (APDN) and its botanical DNA applications. So, I have been reviewing various publications and press announcements and discovering that APDN's use of plant DNA for supply chain tracking is rapidly gaining the world's attention.

REACH Scrubbing? Try Total Parts Plus by Douglas on EBN

REACH Scrubbing? Try Total Parts Plus on EBN - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Achieving compliance with the EU's Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemical Substances regulation, otherwise known as REACH, can be onerous, but harried electronics equipment makers and suppliers can more easily scale this hurdle by partnering with companies specialized in components verifications and scrubbing.

Talking Points in OEM Contract Negotiations by Douglas on EBN

Talking Points in OEM Contract Negotiations on EBN - Douglas Alexander on EBN

If your company works with a contract manufacturer (CM), then there are certain expectations for the quality and scope of work the contractor will perform. Today, CMs are sophisticated enough to take an Original Equipment Manufacturer's (OEM) Bill-of-Materials (BOM) and Approved Vendor List (AVL), including the manufacturer's name and part numbers and key engineering documents, and do everything product related.

Component Purchaser's Ultimate Nightmare by Douglas on EBN

Component Purchaser's Ultimate Nightmare on EBN - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Everyone knows the worst-case scenario: A critical component cannot be found anywhere in the supply chain because it is no longer being produced, and even the original manufacturer has no clue as to how a buyer could solve the problem.

How are your contractors doing with Human Quality control - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Human Quality Control - Douglas Alexander on EBN

One of the more intriguing concepts for understanding a production or development cycle is the "Quality Triangle." Picture a triangle with its sides labeled "fast," "good," and "cheap." The rule that has applied for so many years is that you could have any two of the three. If you wanted something fast and good, it wouldn't be cheap. If you want something fast and cheap, it wouldn't be ...

The Post Mortem that Heals - Douglas on EBN

The Post Mortem that Heals - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The post mortem, though not a very pleasant topic for a Best-Practices discussion, is a meeting or series of meetings intended to critically analyze problems, challenges, and successes experienced during a development cycle. The mistakes made and the lessons learned can serve to create more fool-proof guidelines for subsequent projects.

Reducing Risk through Supplier Quality Assurance

Reducing Risk through Supplier Quality Audits - Douglas Alexander on EBN

For companies with products that are not entirely vertically integrated, there are necessary dependencies with outside companies that, if not managed properly, can create added risks. These risks derive from outside supplier processes, procedures, people, and performances that are not 100 percent visible because many suppliers are remotely located, speak languages other than the company’s native language, and have their own supply chains upon which ...

The SCAR design engineers must have - Douglas on EBN

The SCAR Design Engineers Must Have - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Everyone makes mistakes. When we do, we all swallow our pride, get past the embarrassment, learn, and move on. But what happens if the same mistake is made over and over again or goes unrecognized? We move into a cycle of perpetual failure, with the associated corrective action and lost opportunity costs. That's why you need best-practices for handling process, procedure, and people failures.

Counterfeiting, the Battle is On - Douglas on EBN

Counterfeiting, the Battle is On - Douglas Alexander on EBN

A few months ago, I was watching a CBS 60 Minutes feature called "Wasteland." The investigative team was tracking electronic waste (e-waste) from a recycler here in the United States. After the owner of the recycling business had sworn that he was not exporting goods out of the US, 60 Minutes caught him doing exactly that.

Douglas on EPN Online - REACH, RoHS, EOL, PCN resources

REACH, RoHS, EOL, PCN Resources - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Last week I interviewed Cliff Frescura of EEContent.com. Cliff and his team have contributed to the success of leading companies such as IHS, PCNAlert, i2 Technologies, and TACTech. Among other things, they provide product change and obsolescence management expertise to top OEMs, electronic manufacturing services (EMS) providers, and component manufacturers.

Getting Vendor Part Approval Process by Douglas Alexander on EPN

Getting the Vendor Part approval Process Right - Douglas Alexander on EBN

In a previous article, I introduced the use of the Sample Part Request (SPR) form so that a vendor has the responsibility of doing most of the footwork in retrieving the proper specifications for any part it is requesting for addition to your company's approved vendors list (AVL). (See: Opportunities & Challenges in Alternate Parts Sourcing.)

Douglas Alexander on EBN - resources/services for REACH

Resources for REACH Compliance - Douglas Alexander on EBN

One week ago, I had the delightful opportunity to interview Michael Kirschner, president of Design Chain Associates (DCA). His company, which was founded 11 years ago, focuses on helping companies around the world comply with environmental regulations like RoHS and REACH.

Douglas Alexander 'Art of Contract Negotiation Pt I' on ebnonline

Mastering Contract Negotiations Pt I - Douglas Alexander on EBN

How many times have you walked up to someone, introduced yourself, and held out your right hand to receive or offer a handshake? We all do it without thinking about the original significance of the handshake, but it is more than a greeting.

Douglas Alexander 'Mastering the Art of Negotiating Pt II on EBNonline

Mastering Contract Negotiations Pt II - Douglas Alexander on EBN

The first part of this article focused on pre-meeting preparations ahead of a major contract negotiation. In that blog, I discussed the importance of making sure key participants and departments were represented in the preparatory phase. (See: Mastering the Art of Contract Negotiation, Part 1.)

Douglas Alexander 'The Reach Conundrum' on ebnonline

The REACH Conundrum - Douglas Alexander on EBN

REACH is a regulation of the European Union, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, while enhancing the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. It also promotes alternative methods for the hazard assessment of substances in order to reduce the number of tests on animals.

Developing the Preferred Parts List on EBNOnline.com

Developing the Preferred Parts List - Douglas Alexander on EBN

One of the most effective time and labor savers for a product development effort is the use of a selective part list produced from the company's Item Master.

Strategies for Components Documentation - Douglas on ebnonline

Strategies for Components Documentation - Douglas Alexander on EBN

When a manufacturer offers a product for sale, the design engineers expect to have access to documentation that provides sufficient information to determine whether the product will perform as needed for the design under consideration. This is a fundamental requirement for electronic component parts and assemblies.

Douglas Alexander's Understanding Alternate Sourcing, Pt II on EBN

Understanding Alternate Sourcing, Part II - Douglas Alexander on EBN

When searching for an alternate part, there are basic requirements, procedures, and creative efforts that will provide timely and effective responses for identifying the appropriate replacement component needed for line-down factory emergencies.

Understanding Alternate Sourcing, Pt I on EBN

Understanding Alternate Sourcing, Part I - Douglas Alexander on EBN

Parts listed in the components Item Master list should have multiple sources for as many parts as possible. (See: Top 15 Component Qualification Questions.) By sources, I mean manufacturers and suppliers.

In addition, I have talked to many Components Engineers who have indicated their intention to “Write a Book Someday”. Well, to that I say. “Me too”. I have written the beginnings of just such a book in the White Paper section of these pages. This site hosts many of the resources one needs to create and maintain an effective Components Engineering department. Everything is free for the taking and distribution. Most of these files are in downloadable PDF format, but if you would like the original, editable documents, please contact me via the “Contact Us” page, request the document you want, and I will send it to you as an email attachment. The second reason for developing this site is to offer some visibility to Components Engineers who have not worked in their field for a while and are not ready to retire. Your experience and knowledge should NOT be retired even if you are. Now, here is where you keep it alive. This site is open to your contributions. I have populated it with forms, procedures, processes, and flowcharts. If you have anything you believe would be additive to this site and would be willing to contribute your content free of charge, then let’s build this community of professionals together.

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Finally, if you would like to be listed as a Components Engineering consultant on these pages, then by all means, submit an email listing your work history, the general geographical area in which you would be available to consult, and let’s start talking. You set your own consulting fees and keep that information confidential between yourself and your clients. When you sign your content on these pages, your clients will have an opportunity to preview your work and get an idea as to the comprehensiveness of your knowledge and your worthiness for hire. For more information, please use the Contact Form or email me directly. Thank you for visiting these pages.

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