I think that something is missing in this methodology of seeking board

First of all it will spin a lot of people's wheels who will never get an

Secondly a fabricator is someone with whom (ideally) you would like to
build a long term business relationship.
You get to know and trust each other, you learn the limits of both
technology and financial issues.
When things get tough maybe they can carry you a bit, when the push is
on for delivery maybe they will move it along without soaking you.
Maybe in the long term on the average you will get a better price for
repeat business.

OTOH, throwing out 500 RFQ's in search of the cheapest price does
nothing to further any of the above goals.
A board is a custom fabricated item with a heavy service element, not a
commodity part like buying a bunch of resistors at the best price.
So I think that price comparison is only an element.  
When you consider all the material value and labor that gets ADDED to a
board the difference of a few dollars can hardly matter compared to
other issues.
There is tremendous latitude in the pricing of a board, it all depends
on a lot of things, the specific details sometimes the least among them.
Everything else being equal it generally just comes down to size, so
many cents per square inch for 2 layer, 4 layer etc.

I think there is value in loyalty (to a point) and that stable
relationships most probably enhance overall quality and efficiency.
This other approach seem counter to that.

I speak from the often painful experience of dealing with a LOT of board
shops for many years, seeking the mythical cheap fast good board.
You just can't get all three wishes at once.

There is also the possible issue of being hounded by 500 phone calls or
emails to follow up on the quote and 'do you have anything else'.
Yet more time expended on both sides.

Some business transactions are one time by nature, others are repeat by
The former is typified by jack the price and take the money and run.
But in the board game there is a twist, have you noticed that when a new
vendor quotes a job it is often low balled to acquire a customer?
I have seen that a lot.

Now if Protel had something that would display the best price and
delivery of the moment on something like 100% Agave Tequila, I would be
all over that one.
Maybe little scrolling ticker tapes that roll the latest prices in your
pad designators and pop up Java apps that display the bottle labels on
your PCB workspace as you work.  Now that would be real progress.

Dennis Saputelli

Phil So wrote:
> Brad
> Good point.  How much control does Protel have over pcbmarketplace.com?  If
> it is as little as the control we have over Protel (or any other non-captive
> supplier) and it's direction, then I would be very hesitant to rely on the
> Protel/pcbmarketplace.com combination to serve my needs well, in the long
> run.
> Philip So
> Electronics Design Engineer
> PDL Electronics Ltd
> 81 Austin Street
> Napier
> New Zealand
> Phone  :++64 6 843 5855 ext. 7152
> Fax    :++64 6 843 0603

www.integratedcontrolsinc.com            Integrated Controls, Inc.    
   tel: 415-647-0480                        2851 21st Street          
      fax: 415-647-3003                        San Francisco, CA 94110

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