• December 7, 2023
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By Greg Papandrew, cofounder of DirectPCB

As I mentioned in Part 1 on this subject, a solid PCB buying strategy is more important for the coming year than ever. Do you have one?

When was the last time you stirred your PCB pricing pot?

Here are five ways you can do that:

1)  Price checks: A vendor that’s too comfortable with your business will usually charge you more. Let all your vendors know you will be testing the waters and comparing their pricing to others. Then be sure you follow through on that. Don’t be reluctant to bring on new vendors if necessary. 

2) Keep a scorecard: How often do you review the performance of your vendors? A vendor that is being regularly evaluated for on-time delivery and quality acceptance in comparison to its competitors will generally also offer better pricing.

3) Vendor visits: Demand your vendors pay a visit to your operation. The more business they do with you, the more visits should be required. The more excited the vendor is about your operation, the better the service and pricing will be. If a vendor doesn’t visit, this means they are too comfortable with your business (or don’t care if they lose it), and that likely means you’re paying too much.

4) Pay on time: The one thing the vendor should never have to worry about is on-time payment. Consistent payment makes it easier for you to demand better service and pricing.

5) Get trained: Training in the right way to buy PCBs will show you how to leverage your annual spend, negotiate for lower board pricing, and get better payment terms. It will also give you the confidence to move business from one vendor to another, when necessary. A well-trained buyer will be able to strengthen and manage a high-performing PCB vendor base.

Need help managing your PCB vendor base? Contact me at greg@directpcb.com.

Click here to get a free copy of my book, PCB Basics for Buyers.