It is no question that monitoring PCN alerts in today’s market is a daunting task. Changes happen daily and the impact can be both immediate and high priority. Managing PCNs requires searching multiple sites, monitoring many different manufacturers and deciphering multiple formats to find the answers you need. With so many variables, it’s not uncommon to miss a change for a critical component.
Dealing with a Missed PCN
Time for a reactive approach, but you may be a little late to the game.
1. Understand the Type of Change & Impact
Start by understanding exactly what has changed. Product Change Notifications cover a number of updates: Lifecycle Changes, Assembly Processes, Datasheet Specifications, Materials Used, Assembly Site Changes, Marking Molding, Labeling, and Packing.
If the impact is low, as in the case of a labeling change, your reaction is less time sensitive. You should make note of the PCN, as it can be used as a qualification for detecting counterfeit parts in the future. Typically, no further action is needed in these cases.
Higher impact updates, such as a sudden lifecycle change, require immediate and potentially costly action. In the event of part obsolescence, companies fall victim to a high demand and limited market availability situation.
2. Identify Potential Solutions
In high impact cases, the next step is to identify potential solutions. In the obsolescence example above, the options include: finding a replacement part, making a last time buy, and/or finding an unauthorized distributors for inventory. Your solution will be influenced by how valuable this part is to your product design, how unique it is (can it be replaced or even upgraded?), and whether it is reused in other parts lists or Bill of Materials.
3. Take Action
If you choose to replace the part, your best option is to find a FFF (form-fit-function) replacement part. Learn more about the 7 best practices for evaluating cross references.
If a replacement is not available, consider a last time buy and holding the necessary inventory in a warehouse. This can incur high holding and overhead costs; however, it comes with assurance of part availability.
Your final resort is to utilize an unauthorized distributor to find inventory. This is not typically advised due to the reliability risk, counterfeit risk, and potential price increases when you move away from your standard (Approved Vendor List) AVL.
Why not proactively monitor your parts list all in one location? Manage your risk with SiliconExpert here.
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