That Dreaded ‘Allocation’ Word

Here at the old Screaming Circuits homestead, we have a strict policy about parts substitution. We won’t do it unless you have approved the sub. If you ask us, we’ll look around for something close, but we’ll still get your approval before using the substitute part. No big deal: We always do it that way and we’ll keep doing it that way.

The reason I bring this up has to do with the blasted economy. Rumor has it that the industry is starting to heat back up a bit. That’s pretty cool, except that some of those parts suppliers that cut back this time last year are still in cut-back mode. We’re starting to see parts on allocation and with annoyingly long lead-times.

Interestingly, most of the long lead-times seem to be with passives at this point. Actives may end up that way too, but for now, it’s mostly in resistors and caps.

So, what do you do about it? Well, if you spec’ed the parts out a couple of weeks ago when starting the design, you might want to drop on over to Digi-Key (or equivalent) and check to see if the parts you specified are still available. If not, find a sub before sending it off for assembly. It helps for you to do this even if we’re buying the parts for you. If we can’t find what’s on your BoM, we’ll look around for a couple of options, but if you’ve already found a replacement that works with your design, that will save some time and back and forth email or phone call steps. It also prevents a last minute surprise and keeps you on top of the planning.

Anyone else out there seeing allocation and lead-time problems?

Duane Benson