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Board Buying

Greg PapandrewIt’s adding unnecessary costs to your supply chain.

Want a more robust and cost-effective supply chain? Shrink it. Remove the expensive middleman. You don’t need to pay a PCB broker a 20 to 40% markup to, basically, relay information from you to overseas vendors.

The truth is the PCB broker business model – where companies buy printed circuit boards from an overseas manufacturer and then resell them to a customer – is outdated. And it’s adding unnecessary costs to your supply chain.

Years ago, brokers were small operations, with perhaps three to five people. And at one time, they did provide a valuable service to their customers, offering lower prices on boards made overseas, while handling all the details of procurement from foreign vendors in what was often a challenging PCB buying cycle.

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The tariff situation has given rise to questionable add-on costs.

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Greg PapandrewIt’s time for an industry program to train board buyers.

A printed circuit board is unique to every different application or customer, has over one hundred separate required manufacturing processes, and may come from down the street or halfway around the world. In other words, PCB purchasing is a complicated business. The traditional way of board buying can lead to costly mistakes and may expose companies to financial liability.

I am on a mission to fix that.

PCB buying has changed a lot since I started as a salesman in this industry more than 25 years ago. Back then, purchasing departments were larger. Buying was broken down into specific commodities, with buyers assigned to manage only one or, at most, a few of them. Buyers had the time and available resources to be well-versed in their assigned commodities. Many buying teams resided in the very facilities that designed the boards’ products and used the parts.

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