September 7, 2021:

Henry Ford said it best: “Competition is the keen cutting edge of business, always shaving away at costs.”

That applies to PCB vendor pricing as well. It’s crucial to keep your vendor base on its toes. You can lower costs, with minimal risk to your manufacturing operation, by ensuring all your vendors feel the need to remain competitive.

So when was the last time you stirred your PCB pricing pot?

Here are five ways to do that:

1)  Price checks: A vendor that is too comfortable with your business will usually charge you more. Let all your vendors know you will be testing the waters and comparing their pricing to others. Then be sure you follow through on that. Don’t be reluctant to bring on new vendors if necessary. (Check-out my video on how to properly onboard a new PCB vendor.)

2) Keep a scorecard: How often do you review the performance of your vendors? A vendor that is being regularly evaluated for on-time delivery and quality acceptance in comparison to its competitors will generally also offer better pricing.

3) Vendor visits: Demand your vendors pay a visit to your operation. The more business they do with you, the more visits should be required. The more excited the vendor is about your operation, the better the service and pricing will be. If a vendor doesn’t visit, this means they are too comfortable with your business (or don’t care if they lose it), and that likely means you’re paying too much.

4) Pay on time: The one thing the vendor should never have to worry about is on-time payment. Consistent payment makes it easier for you to demand better service and pricing.

5) Get trained: Training in the right way to buy PCBs will show you how to leverage your annual spend, negotiate for lower board pricing, and get better payment terms. It will also give you the confidence to move business from one vendor to another, when necessary. A well-trained buyer will be able to strengthen and manage a high-performing PCB vendor base.

Want to learn more about the right way to buy PCBs? Reach out to me at