When sourcing components for harsh environments it is essential that the end product’s performance characteristics are clear from the outset. Likewise, time should be devoted to finding a supplier who can deliver overall value for money as this pays long-term dividends.
Quality is critical. Find a supplier with outstanding credentials, quality standards and a proven track-record. Whether electronics face -40°C in a Siberian wasteland, the relentless 57°C heat and dust of the Saharan desert or the vibrations of agricultural machines, component failures are not acceptable.
Check the strength of the supplier’s supply chain relationships. On-going global semi-conductor shortages will have stress-tested these, so ask how they performed and discover what relationships they have with major global component suppliers and distributors—useful when times are tough.
Capability is key. Is a supplier required who can design, develop, manufacture and test products in-house? A supplier with these skills can bring significant advantages in delivering on-time and within budget. Alternatively, is a design-for-manufacturing partner required to bring a product to life? Check references, as finding the right partner offers lasting benefits.
Flexibility is another consideration. Can the supplier modify a product’s base version to create new versions quickly and cost-effectively? This is important to maximise initial development investment and helps with handling challenges like component shortages and obsolescence.