An over-engineered cable assembly can increase lead times and drive up costs.

You want your project to be a success; you have come up with a robust cable assembly design and selected components that meet (or exceed) your requirements. Now you are ready to find a manufacturer to build it for you. There is a problem however. You have very little time to get this cable assembly made, and every manufacturer is telling you that the lead time for your design is going to take 3 months to source the components. You find one manufacturer who can do the job for you on time, but it is more than what you budgeted for. What do you do now?

Don’t Panic

There are several things you can look at to try to bring the lead time and cost into line with your goals.

The first is looking at the design itself.


  • What are the performance requirements?
  • Will it actually be exposed to harsh conditions?

    At MRO we often see cable assemblies that are designed for these types of scenarios, even when it is not needed. Scaling back your design to fit closer to the needs of your application can go a long way towards reducing lead times and lowering product life-cycle costs. Your manufacturer should be able to help analyze your design and look for opportunities to help you achieve your applications goals without going overboard. MRO provides design evaluations prior to accepting any job, and we will review with you any changes we would recommend that could reduce your lead time and lower your costs.

    The second way is to substitute components.

    Design engineers like to use components that they are familiar with, either by design or by brand. This makes sense—you want to avoid having to do lengthy research into new components or take risks on something unproven. The downside is that brand name components cost more and typically have longer lead times to produce.

    Let’s look at an example.

    Mil-Spec connectors are used in applications that have nothing to do with military or defense work because they are rugged and high performing. These connectors could be substituted for Amphenol’s Industrial PT Series Connectors. They provide the same fit and function as your Mil-Spec connectors, but they are more readily available and have lower costs.

    When you select a custom manufacturer, you should ask them if they can provide substitution suggestions—if they cannot do that, perhaps it is time to find a manufacturer that can. At MRO we qualify all of our vendors before allowing them into our supply chain. This means we can provide quality substitutions that will still perform as needed but with a lower cost and lead time.

    Do you have a cable assembly that you think is over-engineered? Are you not sure? Contact MRO today and have us review your design!

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