Following a close analysis of the required needs, Intermec implemented site wide licenses of SiliconExpert's Part Search & BOM Manager tools for its engineering teams. "We were able to upload our BOMs and have them validated against SiliconExpert's much larger parts database quickly and easily. The BOM Manager tool has had an immediate impact on the way our component engineers review BOMs and seek second sources," says Starr. Automated scrubbing of BOMs gave Intermec's component engineers comprehensive amounts of component data, such as RoHS compliance, lifecycle statuses, market availability, last time buy dates and cross references. "With the inclusion of the BOM Manager tool, we've nearly doubled our productivity, while scrubbing BOMs and generating comprehensive data reports," says Starr. "Finding the latest datasheets for all of our parts alone has reduced our data processing efforts by a factor of five."
Additional features that Intermec uses actively are the parametric search and research tools:
One case in particular stands out, which involved a device that had been identified by an Electrical Engineer as having an extremely long lead-time. Through the use of the parametric search function, an alternate was identified the same day, as well as some distribution channels where the part could be purchased quickly. This activity saved the company several weeks of development time, and potentially thousands of dollars of lost revenue, due to a late arrival in the market.
In addition, Cross-Referencing components to other sources has been an essential part of Intermec's obsolescence mitigation strategy using SiliconExpert's tools. John Starr explains:
A second incident involved an obsolete part. Our Component Engineers were able to use the tool to find a replacement component with improved characteristics, a smaller package, lower cost, a longer lifecycle and readily available stock. This search could have potentially spanned one of multiple weeks through phone conversations, publication reviews and internet searches. But because of SiliconExpert's tools, we were able to complete this step in a significantly shorter time span.
SiliconExpert processes tens of thousands of Product Change Notices (PCNs) a year and associates them to their applicable part numbers. Intermec's component engineers receive automatic alerts whenever a PCN has been issued for a part in an uploaded BOM. These email alerts for lifecycle, datasheet changes and even manufacturer acquisitions allow Intermec to stay ahead of obsolescence issues and adopt proactive approaches to manage its component data.
Intermec also works closely with SiliconExpert's customer service and data teams to procure data on components not currently listed within the database. "Responses to questions or concerns by the SiliconExpert staff are handled in a timely manner, which we've come to appreciate greatly," adds Starr.
"As far as component data management is concerned, if it weren't for SiliconExpert's tools we would still be living in the Stone Age- -this tool has increased our overall effectiveness and allowed us to broaden our horizons and capabilities." SiliconExpert's tool empowered Intermec's engineering team by providing access to information critical to the health and viability of each component. Intermec's Component Engineers could now upload Bill of Materials (BOMs) into the web-based tool system and validate those parts for identification accuracy so that other technical, lifecycle, supply chain and environmental data could be generated for both internal operations management and for customers.