3 Key Things to Know About Product Change Notifications

Product change notifications often contain critical information for crucial parts. Here are 3 things you should know regarding PCNs.

3 Key Things to Know About Product Change Notifications

Equipment manufacturers often need to modify, update, or discontinue a product or its manufacturing process. When this change is conducted, the supplier is required to release a product change notification (PCN), which details the changes made to said product/process.

PCNs fall under a range of varying categories such as discontinuance, assembly site, reactivation, and new releases. Staying current on PCNs allows companies to make appropriate modifications and be proactive in their component selection process.

But what if a supplier isn’t releasing PCNs reliably enough for a customer to make the necessary changes to their supply chain processes?

That’s where JEDEC comes into play...

What Is J-STD-046?

With over 3,000 volunteers representing over 300 member firms, JEDEC is the global leader in producing open standards for the microelectronics industry.

JEDEC brings together manufacturers and suppliers to engage in more than 50 committees and subcommittees with the objective of developing standards to address the industry's broad technical and developmental demands. The JEDEC publications and standards are used to ensure product interoperability and are used worldwide.

The particular standard relevant to PCNs is J-STD-046.

According to JEDEC, this standard applies to suppliers and affected customers of electronic products and the components within said products. This standard specifies the criteria for timely reporting of changes to electronic products and associated procedures to customers.

Specifically, the standard requires a supplier to notify its customers with a PCN 90 days before the proposed first ship date of the changed product.

So, there’s an international compliance standard that ensures suppliers are reliably reporting PCNs to their customers. Problem solved, right?

Well, no...

Despite JEDEC’s pursuits to ensure global standards are adopted, 65% of PCNs accounted for in the Z2Data database failed to be issued to customers within the 90-day standard period.

Minimum, Required Content in a PCN

According to JEDEC’s reporting standard, a supplier-issued PCN must contain, at minimum, the following:

  • PCN tracking number
  • Product Identification (e.g., affected supplier part number(s), affected product lines including specific package types, product family)
  • Customer part number(s) (optional, if not required per agreed to customer criteria)
  • Detailed description of change(s)
  • Method, if applicable, of identifying changed product
  • Reason for change(s)
  • Anticipated (positive and negative) impact on form, fit, function, quality or reliability
  • Proposed First Ship Date for change
  • Supplier Qualification plan schedule and/or results, where applicable
  • Date, if required, when qualification samples are available
  • Date, if required, when final qualification data are available
  • Last date, if applicable, of manufacture of the unchanged product
  • Supplier contact information, such as but not limited to: name, address, telephone, and email of supplier contact
  • Statement, if applicable, that device material declaration will be updated due to material change

Additionally, it is the responsibility of the customer to request updated material declaration when applicable.

How Are PCNs Classified?

A PCN is a lot like a chord in music: it’s either major or minor.

Okay, students, I’d like you to play Beethoven’s "J-STD-046" in E Minor, please...

Proposed changes in a PCN therefore must be classified by the supplier as either major or minor, according to JEDEC standards. Any change to a product/process that affects the form, fit, function or the quality/reliability of a product must be classified as a major change. A notification document for a major change needs to state clearly that it is a PCN.

While major changes always require notifications, minor changes are more complicated. A supplier may or may not be required to notify its customers of a minor change depending on the supplier and customer’s written agreed requirements.

Minor change notifications are also referred to as “Informational Notices” and “Supplier Communications.” A PCN with a minor change must also have a clear purpose stated so that it may not be confused with a PCN regarding a major change.

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