Five steps to avoid getting fired over product change notifications (PCN)

By Staff

By Mark Zetter

It’s 7:00am and your program is being kitted for production at your EMS manufacturer. Reels were pulled and already staged for SMT. Your BOM was updated, changing your product to a new revision but a sense of urgency is nowhere to be found.

Who tracks timeliness, accuracy and thoroughness of PCN, anyway? You should.

Having access to timely and accurate info should be priority for anyone with manufacturing supply chain responsibility. From one commodity manager in an electronics OEM equipment manufacturing company, “[a] predictive PCN service is useful because once the PCN is announced you’re already late.”

How product change notices impact EMS program profit margins
Manufacturing financial restatements in EMS manufacturing

Below are five ways manufacturing supply chain careers can implode because your PCN routine is not a priority.

  1. BOM custody: Who owns the bill of materials? Who from the OEM is responsible for product changes? EMS manufacturers cannot be held accountable if OEM specs are wrong. What is the change of custody of a product change notice?
  2. Obsolescence: Is obsolescence eating your lunch? The result of the PCN or, engineering change notice (ECN) or, engineering change request (ECR) for that matter, is that whenever it is not addressed properly…more raw materials are ordered, further emphasizing the need to address the root cause of an issue that grows even larger.
  3. Write downs: Is today’s product run a write-off? Any loss impacts both EMS manufacturing and OEM profit margins. Both sides lose without proper capabilities in place for managing PCN effectiveness.
  4. Class action lawsuits: Mitigate risk by correcting potential hazards to your market share and reputation. Whether buying against authorized AVL or the wrong component was put in the wrong product version. These things happen and cost manufacturers millions. Even billions.
  5. Innovation: Is your innovation old? Is your version control consistent across your supply chain? Do Beta releases end up in consumer hands? Avoid reverse logistics nightmares and product recalls.

Most EMS manufacturers can confirm it is not uncommon for OEM equipment manufacturing customers to repeatedly evolve their products/programs – even as EMS manufacturer are deploying resources and money to serve those customer programs.

OEM efforts can often contradict previous PCNs and add considerable costs to programs, thus impacting manufacturing supply chain cash conversion.

Optimizing PCN challenges

What manufacturers need is to be able to take any data format, from any manufacturers and be able to easily tell what has changed and where.

Predictive (active) PCNs tell supply chain managers what changed. Unfortunately, the vast majority of PCN services available to manufacturers today are passive – you have to go in and find where the change is taking place in your supply chain.

This service can be automated as part of a manufacturer’s Industry 4.0 mandate and connected so you are notified ‘before’ any RFP/RFQ so your teams are working with an updated library. Always.

I see this being most useful for EMS manufacturers wanting to differentiate themselves with their OEM customers and prospective customers.

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