DebOn any given day, Deborah Osenbau, the Inventory Manager at MJS Designs, headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, could be fulfilling a parts request from the extensive in-house inventory, managing materials for a new project or assisting in a search for an obsolete part from a worldwide supplier network.  In essence, Deborah is the liaison between the production team and the purchasing team.  Her job is to make sure the production team has the parts they need for any given project and has them in a time frame to meet strict deadlines.  When the needed parts are not in inventory, Deborah works closely with the purchasing department to obtain the needed materials.  Then she logs them into inventory and then issues them to production.  At MJS Designs, all materials are received, stored and used in an ISO compliant facility. In fact, MJS Designs is ISO 9001: 2008, AS9100: 2009 Rev C (Aerospace) and  ISO 13485:2003 (Medical) certified. In addition, Deborah is Counterfeit Component Detection and Prevention PRO-STD-001 Certified.

Over the past several decades expert knowledge of materials has gained increased attention and training in the electronics industry.  This is partly because of the increased level of sophistication required of engineering materials and partly because the selection of materials and the technology to put these materials together in the designed structure are an integral part of almost every modern engineering project. In short, when one is managing the inventory for electronics development, they are also playing a critical role in managing the quality of everything that is produced by that company.

The process of managing, ordering and fulfilling the materials associated with electronics manufacturing is common for many manufacturers.  However, not all inventories are alike, and not all inventory management systems are alike.

Below are five questions every customer should ask before awarding a manufacturing contract and materials procurement.

1.       How do you vet-out your suppliers?

With the demand for electronics in the private, government and public sectors, constantly on the increase, there is also a dramatic increase in material suppliers in the market place.  Many suppliers provide industry standard parts from established franchised distributors, while many others have no tie or verifiable information on the quality standards of the parts they supply.

A reputable manufacturer, like MJS Designs, will have an established process to vet-out and prequalify suppliers assuring quality to the customer.  New suppliers may have to endure credit checks, references and answer in-depth surveys to become an approved supplier for an established manufacturer.

2.       Do you maintain proper materials codes and history?

Quality parts will have a code on them. This code tracks the materials from the point of where it was produced to the end component they are used in.  This process is called traceability.  Like all industries, counterfeit parts are a concern. Proper coding and documentation is just one of the ways an established manufacturer is able to consistently produce quality products, free of second-rate parts.  Experts like, Deborah Osenbau, who is also PRO-STD-001 Certified, know what to look for to assure all materials are at the standards that are required for the job.

3.       Do you maintain a Lead vs. Non Lead inventory?

If you have an aerospace or satellite project, you will want to make sure your manufacturer has lead materials to meet the requirements of space travel, while other projects are produced with lead-free materials.  Maintaining an inventory of both lead and lead-free materials assures that budget and time lines are met.

4.       If we supply the materials, do you have proper storage and tracking?

materialsOften a customer only needs assembly; they have all the parts, materials, schematics – they simply need someone to put it all together. There is a special area in the MJS Designs facility to manage inventory for customers who just need assembly.  This segregated area assures the inventory is used exclusively for the intended project, and the coding and documentation protects the materials from being used in other projects.

5.       Will I be notified if there are any challenges in obtaining materials for my project?

Inventory managers are a critical element in the overall project.  In the event a material can’t be found or must be substituted, the customer should be brought into that discussion.  Substitute materials may not impact the function of the end product, but could dramatically impact the longevity of the project.  A reputable EMS will communicate changes, updates and challenges in a proactive manner with their customers.

Learn how MJS Designs inventory management standards and part procurement can support your project.  Live chat with us at www.mjsdesigns.com or follow us on facebook.com/mjsdesignsinc