It happens to Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) companies all the time. A new customer you’ve chased for a year finally gives you the chance to bid on a job, but the documents they send you with the request for quote (RFQ) look like a flashback from the 1980’s: A bill of material (BOM) is in the form of a scanned pdf with coffee stains on it or worse; assembly drawings have blurry, shorthand footnotes that are hard to decipher. Here are four options on how you can handle these situations without losing the customer:
1) Ask Your Customer for the Spreadsheet
It never hurts to ask. In a recent meeting with an original design manufacturer (ODM) who was seeing CalcuQuote for the first time, the CTO asked the director of manufacturing if he prepares the BOM with the required field and structure. “No one told me this is what they need. We have all this data in our BOM, but we strip it out because we don’t want to burden the EMS companies with it.
Turns out, their EMS partners whom they’ve worked with for years, never actually went back to them with a recommended RFQ structure. If they had simply asked for the BOM to have certain data in it, the engineers would have gladly provided it.
2) Use a PDF Converter
Sometimes, you’re not so lucky as to have a customer that can provide the bill of material in a spreadsheet. It may be due to a legacy product or it may be due to a bureaucratic mess. Either way, if the customer cannot provide the information in the correct format, then you have the option to use a PDF converter. There are many programs to choose from.
PDF conversion can only be so effective. If the PDF was digitally generated, then you’re more likely to have an accurate output that only needs minor cleanup. If it was scanned or e-Faxed, then it is a different story.