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Propeller 1 (P8X32A-D40 and P8X32A-Q444) Supply Expectations — Parallax Forums

Propeller 1 (P8X32A-D40 and P8X32A-Q444) Supply Expectations

Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 7,274
edited 2015-07-20 21:34 in Propeller 1
Hey there, 
I was out for a few days and was unable until now to reply to the concerns about Propeller 1 availability in both QFP and DIP format. First, please understand that this post is made on July 20th, 2015. The actual numbers will be changing as soon as I finalize this post. The takeaway that's most importantis that (a) we have chips, coming and going in medium-low volumes; (b) significant replenishment occurs in October; and (c) our Sales staff will try to serve as many customers as possible with available supply. I've got to run through the numbers myself just to get an accurate moving picture of what the inventory looks like for the next month or two, so I'll share them without much lower-level explanation.  
P8X32A-D40 (the DIP Propeller 1) Our present inventory level shown on-line is 0, but we're actually in backorder -1,498 units due to a single distributor's order. We will put the distributor order on a 12-week lead time for our October deliver. By putting the distributor on a lead time and having our staff add another 1,714 units to inventory I expect to see an inventory of D40s in excess of 3,000 units available on-line within two weeks and will be visible here https://www.parallax.com/product/p8x32a-d40. The presently-shown October supply date will disappear as inventory trickles in from our Manufacturing and we have more than one in stock. The stock level is expected to increase as we test chips, but will decrease at some point as we start to run out of chips. I expect that we can fill a normal two month's demand from our untested chips.   
P8X32A-Q44 (the QFP Propeller 1)

Similar situation with large distributor orders for their standard stocking levels. We will put a lead time on their orders for the QFP. Between this step and bringing more tested chips into inventory from our untested stock we should have in excess of 5,000 QFPs for delivery in the next coming weeks. You will see this inventory value reflected at https://www.parallax.com/product/p8x32a-q44. The presently-shown October supply date will disappear as inventory trickles in from our Manufacturing. This is a typical supply for a month or two.   
Propeller 1 Inventory is Under Manual Allocation by our Sales Staff
The strategy here isn't one of playing games, but involves putting our available inventory under some sort of manual allocation control. It's an attempt to match our available inventory to a larger number of small customers who may not plan with lead times. Specifically, we'll use the inventory we have to serve as many customers as possible and provide the best service and communication we can. Larger orders will need a lead time, but it's likely we can satisfy some of their initial needs for prototyping or small production runs and help them avoid "line down" situations. 
We will avoid having all the chips go to a single customer at this point. Our sales staff Kristina, Chantal and Julia determine where our available inventory is shipped. Just place your purchase orders to sales@parallax.com and order on-line as usual. 
For both DIP and QFP packages, you should have no problem ordering small quantities on-line as inventory levels increase over the next few days and two weeks. Inventory will go up, then it will go down. By sometime in September we will be entirely out of stock. A very large inventory increase will occur in October. 
Apply 12-week Lead Times in your Material Requirements Planning (MRP) Software
Almost all customers who normally use significant (> 1,000/order) volumes of Propeller chips manage their purchasing through an MRP system. MRP software has planning lead times. I strongly suggest you show your Purchasing Manager this post and ask them to put a 12-week lead time in for Propeller chips. While many in the forums will find this practice abhorrent in some ways, I assure you it's common. Once lead times are properly set throughout the supply chain there are fewer production planning issues and lack of supply isn't a surprise. Please enter a proper lead time and allow your MRP to get orders placed before you need the chips. 
Why does it seem we're short of Propeller chips?
Because we are short, for two reasons. First, we've had higher orders than expected and some of our customers rely on us without a lead time [please enter a 12-week lead time in your planning system]. Next, we made a minor change in our own MRP system that went unnoticed for over a month. This change set the planning warehouse to a different warehouse than where demand is created. Sometimes we make these changes to make our physical inventory count smoother, like we just did in June (our inventory quantity and dollars were 99.85% accurate). Our Purchasing Manager and IT sorted out the problem and everything is in order again.
Thanks, 
Ken Gracey  
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Comments

  • Thanks for the update Ken.
    There are other distributors that can supply low volume users at this time.
    I'm sure thre world will be a peace. :)
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 17,727
    Thanks Ken. I thought it very unusual not to have a comment from you.
    I do hold more than 3 months stock of QFPs for our commercial product. For my hobby products I just buy in blocks and replenish when low.

    The fact that you are not physically out of stock is pleasing to note. I guess some have forgotten that you have untested chips and test as required.
  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 7,274
    edited 2015-07-20 21:56
    I should also add that our future stock levels are looking very high - many wafers beyond normal demand have been ordered. 
    And finally, while sometimes it seems the sky is falling I'd like to point out that we've only had one or two similar shortages in prior years. This isn't a common problem, but it is certainly a problem of significance and we welcome the pressure to get it resolved. 
    Ken Gracey
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 17,727
    It's great news that you are having to order a lot more wafers. Increased volumes is great news for all of us as we share the P1 dream with you, and the thoughts that more are finding and using the prop too.

    BTW Ken, would Parallax sell a wafer and if so, what would it cost? I think it would make a fantastic framed showpiece! I presume you don't get single dice as they are likely cut an inserted into the carrier (DIP etc) in one step. I also presume you don't get reject wafers.
  • +1 for the show piece.

    A new way to market rejected wafers?
    Interested.
    Mike
  • BTW Ken, would Parallax sell a wafer and if so, what would it cost? I think it would make a fantastic framed showpiece! I presume you don't get single dice as they are likely cut an inserted into the carrier (DIP etc) in one step. I also presume you don't get reject wafers.

    I could only look into this if there were an inquiry coupled with a very high-volume project, not for artwork unfortunately. It's a fair amount of communication, coordination, and modification of processes that run on their own to do this. Possible? Yes! Practical? No. 
    A single wafer, if we sold it that way, would cost more than the packaged chips. There are no reject wafers that I'm aware of, not even rejected die (we do no wafer probing and only test packaged chips). 
    Ken Gracey
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 17,727
    Thanks Ken.
    Might it then be possible to get some die unpackaged? I would suspect there would be a number of Us who would just love to buy one. I guess the same applies... Too costly to organise :(
  • Thanks Ken.
    Might it then be possible to get some die unpackaged? I would suspect there would be a number of Us who would just love to buy one. I guess the same applies... Too costly to organise :(

    Also not. You see, the wafers go from Austria Microsystems (Linz, Austria) to Greatek Packaging (Taipei, Taiwan). At Greatek, the wafers are sliced and diced, wire-bonded to a package. We're a small customer in both ends of the process and I have no business trying to squeeze in and extract some bare die. The packaging company managers would look at me and ask "really, we're already doing you guys a favor packaging up 100 wafers at a time - now, where is that Propeller 2 we're all waiting on? It's supposed to have the real volume we're all expecting!"
    Not only too costly, just not very possible. I've got to save my favors with them for issues that benefit the whole customer base. Know what I mean?
    Ken Gracey
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 17,727
    edited 2015-07-26 07:28
    Absolutely understand Ken. Just thought I would ask in case it were possible.
  • JRetSapDoogJRetSapDoog Posts: 875
    edited 2015-07-27 22:44
    Hey, Cluso99, aren't you the one who took a saw to a D40 and made a version with fewer pins?
    Get some fuming nitric acid and have at it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT1FStxAVz4
    Okay, I'm kidding. If it were easier with less chance of offing oneself, maybe some process like this could be done for some jewelry pieces and so on. But this doesn't look so easy or predictable, let alone safe. Still, I can see the ad now: For just $24.95 AUD/USD this clear epoxy-encased Propeller can be yours. I'll bet Apple could get away with something like that.
    Anyway, that was an informative update from Ken. And it's nice that Parallax is looking out for the little guys while still being responsible to its large customers.
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 17,727
    Yes, I did the Prop DIP24 and the DIP8.

    Might be easiest to make a disc sander with 800 wetanddry sandpaper and grind. Might give that a go on my DIP8 when I get home :)
  • This BOMB was just dropped on me today. I order from mouser so I dont get on Parallax website very often. Now today I find that the props are on backorder for 3 months. This is devastating to me. I built a business with all my money making products requiring the prop chip. I devoted my programming learning to this chip. My business has been growing and doing amazing over the last 3 years. Now this is going to destroy all that I have worked hard for. Im a small business with 4 employees. I use around 75-100 props a month. This is the only component in my business that I cant just replace with an alternate part. I put my full trust in Parallax and for that my business may not be able to survive. I now have to let my employees know that they wont have a job in the new week or two. Never saw this coming because when I saw that mouser was out a couple weeks ago I ordered some from parallax and saw they had around 2000 in stock so I had no idea they were the last ones. Well at least I had 3 good years.
    Randy
    www.leashelectronics.com
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 17,727
    radialrandy,
    It's wise to keep a number of electronic parts on hand for any unseen shortages. We haven't seen real shortages for some years.

    I recall numerous times when some parts were on 18+ months lead times which blew out from the usual in stock to 18 months within a couple of months. When shortages happen, enterprising!!! people stockpile and then ransom them to the highest bidder.

    This doesn't help your problem now though. I suggest you contact Ken Gracey via PM or phone. Perhaps he can help with a few to tide you over.
    What package do you use? Perhaps some on the forum have some excess inventory.
  • jmgjmg Posts: 14,663
    Never saw this coming because when I saw that mouser was out a couple weeks ago I ordered some from parallax and saw they had around 2000 in stock so I had no idea they were the last ones.
    ? Which part code do you need ?
    Parallax shows In Stock: 1,198 for DIP & Jameco shows QFP Stock 15779 ?
  • All of my products use this one. P8X32A-Q44 the one thats on back order. If my business survives this you can bet I will stock pile these. But I doubt my business will survive. In 3 months I will loose $150,000 in sales and bankrupt my small business. And have to lay off all my employees next week. This problem has never crossed my mind. This it the only component in my products that I dont have an alternate part for. It was my mistake to put all my trust in one company. Now I wish I would have started with a bigger microprocessor company. Lesson learned! But now its too late.
  • LeonLeon Posts: 7,620
    edited 2015-08-11 13:16
    Jameco has plenty, as jmg pointed out:

    http://www.findchips.com/search/P8X32A-Q44
  • max72max72 Posts: 1,152
    I cannot get it. Jameco has them. RS components has some too.
    Massimo
  • Ok Im checking into Jameco right now. That might be a lifesaver. thanks
  • Most of these places dont actually have them in stock. Checking with Jameco now
  • Jameco does not have any at all. RS components does not have any. Looks like no one has any. THis is just great.

    Parallax has failed me as a supplier for my business.
  • Silly question: Have you actually tried talking to anyone at Parallax (namely Ken) about the particulars of your situation rather than ranting and raving on the support forums?
  • PublisonPublison Posts: 11,914
    edited 2015-08-11 19:04
    Jameco does not have any at all. RS components does not have any. Looks like no one has any. THis is just great.

    Parallax has failed me as a supplier for my business.

    Randy, Give Ken a call at Parallax. They keep these parts in stock for their products that do not show on the product page. Maybe he can help you out.

    I have 4 or 5 if that would help you out.

  • pjvpjv Posts: 1,903
    Randy,

    In the morning I can see how many we might have in stock. How many would save your bacon?

    I hate to see you in such a pickle.

    Cheers,

    Peter (pjv)
  • Parallax has been able to meet my needs for prop QFPs, which in quantities are comparable to yours. If you read above, the parts are on allocation, which means specifically that you really do need to talk directly with Ken or Chantal. 888-512-1024.
  • pjvpjv Posts: 1,903
    Randy,

    Apparently my stock shows 98 pieces, and you would be welcome to 90 or even all of them of them if that would help.

    Let me know, and we can make some arrangements.

    Cheers,

    Peter (pjv)
  • Randy, send me an e-mail at kgracey@parallax.com and we'll see what we can do to assist you. I need to know your minimum needs to get you out of a bind and how many you'd ideally receive.

    Also, in your MRP system it's a good idea to put us on a 12-week lead time even though we normally have stock. This assures you won't be in the same situation again because your purchasing system will plan ahead according to your build schedule. We've had abnormally high volume lately and every customer has assumed we will hold hundreds of thousands of chips. While we try to do that, surprises will happen and our supply can dwindle very quickly.

    Ken Gracey
  • Ken Gracey wrote:
    We've had abnormally high volume lately ...
    If it keeps up, that's actually great news! -- despite the short-term pain it may cause to some. Let's hope that "abnormal" becomes the new normal, with supplies adjusting accordingly, of course.

    -Phil
  • Ken Gracey wrote: »
    ...put us on a 12-week lead time even though we normally have stock.

    That's a real problem for smaller businesses though...It'd be great if customers would give 16-weeks notice. (12 weeks to obtain the parts plus 4 weeks to finish the goods). They don't.
  • LeonLeon Posts: 7,620
    edited 2015-08-18 09:08
    https://twitter.com/ParallaxInc

    How will Parallax make these badges if they won't have any QFP chips for a couple of months?
  • Leon,

    It sounds like the chips are on "allocation" rather than completely out of stock. Orders need to be placed and quantities negotiated through the sales staff rather than just ordering what you need and waiting for the package.

    Since they are on allocation, I'm sure Parallax has negotiated supply and demand with itself to make sure chips are available for their projects. :smile:
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