The global pandemic, along with wars and embargos, continues to harm our supply chains significantly and, as a result, electronics manufacturing. On top of that come domestic challenges, from labor and raw materials shortages to natural disaster disruptions and delivery challenges. We feel that impact in our work. Here we discuss how to conquer cable assemblies in the electronics industry supply chain.
Cable Assemblies for Electronics Industry Manufacturing
Let’s start with the basics and go from there. A cable assembly is a group of wires or cables encased in a single tube of heavy-duty material ranging from thermoplastic rubber to vinyl to polyurethane. It is designed for specific environmental factors, including heat, friction, moisture, and similar hazards.
Cable assemblies benefit from pre-testing and drop-in use in electronic product manufacturing. The alternative is routing single wires and cables throughout a product. With that approach, instead of troubleshooting a single cable assembly, you’re working on the entire product, which ramps up time and cost.
How You Can Overcome Electronic Cable Assembly Supply Chain Challenges
There are no simple solutions to all too many supply chain challenges. Moreover, those challenges are subject to rapid change. We’ve assembled a short list of recommended approaches to mitigate your cable assembly supply chain challenges.
- Improve Forecasting. If only we had that legendary crystal ball. But there are other data-driven approaches to provide insight into changes that are underway and those that can be expected around the corner. Build your data collection process and systematically review that data as part of your ongoing schedule.
- Substitute Components. During the design process, we often find just the right connector or cable, only to discover that it’s unavailable due to a supply chain issue or that it’s been discontinued. Open your design efforts to consider substitute components that can help address these issues when they arise, not only at start-up but throughout the lifetime of the cable assembly.
- Speed Up Prototyping. Rapid prototyping can quickly surface problems and start the effort to find solutions. It can also help shorten the overall design process, which can help ensure that specified components are still available for manufacturing.
- Accelerate Final Approvals. Once the prototype is approved, the final approval process also needs to be accelerated to avoid delays that can result in parts that are no longer available. In summary, everything in the design process, from original thought to final approvals, must happen as quickly as possible.
- Find the Right Partner. Start working earlier with every element in the supply chain. That can start with your cable assembly provider. Tap their insight into where you’re most likely to run into problems. Then respond early and often to head off those problems before they happen. The right partner can provide real-time supply issue updates, from shortages to discontinued connectors.
What Cables Unlimited Does to Overcome Electronic Supply Chain Issues for Cable Assemblies
We’ve found that overcoming supply chain obstacles requires a wide range of approaches. This chiefly includes building resilience and developing flexibility that, in turn, allows lightning-quick responses to changes in the supply chain landscape. Here’s our key list.
- Pre-Buy Critical Materials and Parts. We pre-buy copper and fiber. Does that optimize our inventory levels? Not really. But it does optimize our ability to respond quickly to customer needs. We also have thousands of parts on hand, ready to build custom cable assemblies as soon as we have the order.
- Buy Local. Buy American. We have production facilities in multiple locations across the U.S.A. This allows us to work with nearby suppliers, minimizing shipping time and costs. We also buy American parts whenever we can to further avoid shipping delays. For additional insight, see our article USA-Based Cable Manufacturing Helps Overcome Supply Chain Issues.
- Supplier Relationships. We do everything we can to build strong partnerships with all our suppliers. Unfortunately, finding the lowest-cost option isn’t always the best; those low-cost options are rarely there when needed. We also make a particular point of paying our vendors fast to get the quickest service and build a solid business relationship.
- Increased Visibility. To keep on top of every level of the supply chain and the manufacturing process, we use state-of-the-art data systems that help keep everything on target. Or, if on-target deliveries are not entirely possible, we get plenty of notice of problems as they arise so that we can respond quickly with alternatives.
- Open Communication. We are also driven to communicate openly and honestly with our suppliers and customers to involve them in every stage of our efforts to deliver cables and assemblies on time and to their exact specifications.
As you can see, from both the perspective of what you can do and what partners like Cables Unlimited can do, you do not have to risk shutdowns due to an unreliable supply chain.
We Can Help with Cable Assembly Specifications to Address Supply Chain Challenges
Our name is Cables Unlimited for a reason. Whatever cable assembly or wire harness you need, we can provide it.
If your requirements are already specified and ready for a quote for your current projects, we are prepared to meet your deadlines and pricing targets. Our extensive in-house services and advanced manufacturing capabilities are in place to meet your requirements.
But Cables Unlimited offers much more than state-of-the-art manufacturing—our dedicated team is also known for going to great lengths to meet the needs of our customers, including working round-the-clock to meet tight turnaround time requirements.
Our sales representatives are standing by to assist you with product questions and quotes Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern. Of course, you can also email us or complete our contact form, and we’ll get right back to you.