Positive findings in the PCB Market for February 2013
Based on the activity levels in February and March, it was no surprise that IPC’s book to bill ratio for February would be down over January’s numbers. We felt the slowdown in quoting activity and for us, typically, February has historically been our slowest month for PCB Sales of the year. The good news from the report below is that the book to bill ratio has pushed above parity for three straight months. This is positive news considering the rough numbers the industry suffered four months ago…
PCB Industry Growth Rates and Book-to-Bill Ratios Announced
Total North American PCB shipments were down 10.2 percent in February 2013 from February 2012, and bookings decreased 9.2 percent year over year. Year to date, PCB industry shipments were down 5.7 percent and bookings were down 6.7 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments in February decreased 6.5 percent, but bookings increased 1.1 percent. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American PCB industry continued to strengthen in February, reaching 1.06.
“Sales are still sluggish in the North American PCB industry, but the book-to-bill ratio strengthened in February for the third straight month,” said Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research. “When orders exceed sales over several months, this is an encouraging sign for future sales growth.”
There are definite signs of new life with our customer and March’s quoting activities. In addition, we are seeing our overseas factories beginning to push out lead times due to an increase in sales. With two of our factories, we have seen 3 week lead times move out to four week leads times for printed circuit boards. Flex and rigid flex lead times remain consistent with 7-10 days as standard. In addition, we continue to have great success at moving lower and medium volumes at in 7-10 days off-shore as well.
One of the continued strengths for PCB Solutions is we keep adding big name customers to our client list. We received great news this week of a very large cell phone manufacturer awarding us as a printed circuit board supplier a PCB contract in conjunction with an assembly contract. We are extremely excited about this and the details will be posted on a future blog once the PO is secured. Their message to us is they need a consistent partner for future prototype and preproduction builds. A future blog will show the highly technical nature of this customer’s wired circuit and after over 5 companies no-bidding the project because of technical design, we were awarded the bid because we could produce it.