Supplier-Managed Inventory (SMI) Offers Protection Against Shortages, Long Lead Times

Supplier-Managed Inventory SMI Allocation Shortages Lead Times

Aerospace and Defense companies are already starting to see lead times 52 weeks and beyond. While the microchip shortage is front and center in the news, many related components are starting to extend as well. Supplier-Managed Inventory can be a tried-and-true strategy for avoiding allocation shortages.

While the defense industry can sometimes prioritize their components, the risk of delays and shortages won’t be going away soon. Smaller aerospace companies may also feel the pinch of competition with defense primes. The best time to prevent line-down impacts is now, while there is still time to plan.

Supplier-Managed Inventory, or SMI, is not new, but it may be a better strategy now than ever. In our 19 years of experience running SMI programming, it can be very effective. In an SMI program, a distributor like Spirit takes a material requirements plan (MRP) from a customer and manages ordering, inventory, and warehousing of product months in advance of the program’s needs.

For our customers, ordering higher volume and then protecting it on the shelf in the warehouse with space, manpower, and physical controls for risks like ESD can be costly. But letting a supplier manage that inventory instead can relieve cost, logistical effort and quality challenges while making sure product is on-site and ready for the production line.

For our customers, ordering higher volume and then protecting it on the shelf in the warehouse with space, manpower, and physical controls for risks like ESD can be costly. But letting a supplier manage that inventory instead can relieve cost, logistical effort and quality challenges while making sure product is on-site and ready for the production line.

How SMI Works

Setting up an SMI program starts with an MRP analysis. The program can be tailored to meet the customer’s workflows and procurement systems to manage ordering and make sure order requirements are flowed down correctly. The supplier can then manage those requirements and order quantities that support the production schedule long before the needed date. One program can manage just a few components or your full BOM.

When ordering direct, a customer often must manage minimum and multiple quantity requirements from manufacturers. Packaging, screening, and inspection of products can also be costly and require sending parts to multiple suppliers and locations for value-add work.

A supplier-managed program takes that burden off the customer. Quantities can be ordered and shipped as demand requires, and the supplier can manage any remaining stock. Bringing value add services like packaging, XRF analysis, board assembly, and testing in-house can also reduce the need for multiple stops along the supply chain.

Manage & Protect Inventory

SMI program providers experienced with aerospace and defense requirements can also warehouse parts under careful ESD, FOD, and environmental protections that are essential for high-reliability parts. Warehousing provides the same level of protection, control, and transparency as if the parts were at the customer’s facility. SMI can even be customized for on-site consignment programs, allowing customers to have the product at their facility until it is consumed for production.

Supplier-Managed Inventory makes your supply chain more efficient in times of allocation and shortage. By simply analyzing production needs, your SMI program can fill your production pipeline with the right supplier.

PolyPhaser RF Surge Protection Added to Spirit Line Card

PolyPhaser RF Surge Protection HEMP EMP

Spirit Electronics is now an authorized reseller for PolyPhaser, an Infinite Electronics brand offering radio frequency surge protection. PolyPhaser products include surge protectors, interconnect cable protection, grounding adapters and hardware, fiber optic protection, and data surge protection for industrial, commercial and military applications.

Similar to its sister brand Transtector, PolyPhaser products offer surge protection to prevent damage to sensitive equipment and systems in the event of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Often EMP is an environmental threat that can cause significant interference and damage. RF equipment like radios and antennas operating in harsh conditions, such as a lightning storm or a solar flare, are vulnerable to power surges and disruptions from EMP.

PolyPhaser RF surge protectors are also tested to MIL-STD-188-125 for High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) protection. HEMP is a particularly damaging EMP resulting from a high-altitude nuclear explosion. Military and emergency management systems can rely on PolyPhaser products to ensure continuity for systems and networks that would be critical during a HEMP event. PolyPhaser RF products have been designed and tested with our military customers in mind. Spirit Electronics is offering PolyPhaser surge protection as part of its comprehensive product offerings in high-reliability performance.

XRF Analysis Adds to Spirit’s Test Services

XRF Analysis Nick Pb scan

Spirit has expanded our testing and screening services to include X-ray fluorescence (XRF) testing and analysis.

Spirit’s new Hitachi EA6000VX bench analyzer can inspect the material composition of your product. XRF inspection is essential in military and aerospace supply chains to verify that leads and finishes contain the correct ratio of lead to prevent whiskering.

Results are delivered with the product to our customers in a detailed report showing composition values and detailed images. If your product fails analysis, Spirit can identify the issue and replace your failed lot before the product ever arrives at your dock.

Our XRF machine can also inspect coating thickness and visually map a product and inspect internal connections down to 0.025 microns. Both mapping and composition analysis are inspection tools that can save you time and effort, allowing you to receive your product fully qualified and ready to use in production.

“The cool thing about our Hitachi EA6000VX is that it’s very versatile in the workplace and for exploratory devices,” says Nick Freeman, Spirit’s XRF Test Engineer. “It will tell you how much lead, how much chrome, how much of each element is inside because you want a proper ratio. It tells you what percent it is off from the industry standard, and then it gives you back that information per pin or per solder dot.”

For a limited time with our service launch, customers can receive a sample XRF analysis with a regular electronic component order.