For a solder supplier, the value of knowing the potential demand volume for a part is more important than just to gauge future sales – it is important from a technical point of view as well. I’ve been a customer before and realize that ordering a large amount can get you price breaks, however it is very important to be reasonable as well. Order quantity affects which tooling is used for the order, material and packaging stocking, and workflow considerations.
Regarding tooling, preforms can be produced in many different ways. Stamping is just one way that preforms can be made, but it is a good example of how quantity affects tooling. Stamping dies cost thousands of dollars, and component longevity and production rate greatly influence the price. An initial order may be for only 50 preforms. If this is the volume that will be ordered once a month, lower cost tooling may be available. If the 50 part order is only a sample for 1 million parts per month, a very different type of stamping die would be used. Knowing that information during the specification process will save you money in the long run.
The other 2 considerations (stocking and workflow) are important for us to provide you with material quickly. If we know ahead of time that we need to be ready for a large order we can make sure the entire infrastructure is in place and we can dedicate the resources to fulfill your order as quickly as possible.
*This post is part of the World of Solder Preforms series