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MAY 2019 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 69 there's a lot of verbiage and background that goes into that. The benefit from our standpoint is that we hear from the customer when we ask, "What are your challenges and needs?" That helps us to focus our R&D group on the needs of those large OEMs. Johnson: The best part of that conversation with the design teams isn't after you've given them the information; it's the moment where they say, "Yes, but…" What follows is usually the good stuff. Cochrane: Yes (laughs). Johnson: You have all of this information and data. You're talking to customers to find out what's going on and reaching the, "Yes, but…" moment so that you can understand the chal- lenges designers are facing. Is there a robust, complete place that an engineer could look at this information? Cochrane: The best thing would be to contact the person in the region that you're in. For North America and Europe, that would be me. We can make sure that they get the proper in- formation and the right individuals to interface with them so that they get the right amount of support. Johnson: Do you see these changes in condi- tions and customer demands to cause adjust- ments in how TUC manufactures, stocks, and distributes? Cochrane: Stock and distribution are key be- cause North American technology needs are different than in Taiwan or in China, for exam- ple. We have a distributor that's centrally lo- cated in Minnesota supplying the North Amer- ican marketplace. We still support a lot of the product, but even for 50% of our North Ameri- can marketplace direct from Taiwan because it could be a unique copper weight, stackup, etc. We continue to build up that inventory so that we can mitigate outages. It's a big challenge in North America for most Asian suppliers; no matter our competition, they all have the same situation as far as travel time from the factory. Our distributors have warehousing in both Northern and Southern California. Right now, we're supplying out of the Midwest within a couple of days to California, for example. But sometimes, they need it in a day. We're work- ing with our customers to try to get a forecast to plan better, which is always a moving target. One benefit we have is our close relationship with the OEMs, and they will share the fore- cast with us. And when we know who their fabricators are because we're supplying them with the material as well, then we do a much better job of making sure there are no delays. They're not beholden to that inventory, but at least we have that feeling of what's to come. Johnson: The dynamic tends to be that if the designers don't know what material they need, often, the first resource that they turn to is their chosen fabricator to ask for a recommen- dation. And the fabricator tends to recommend what they know. You were talking earlier about going out to the design teams to talk to them about what's available. Are you also doing out- reach to fabricators? Cochrane: Absolutely. Fabricators are our direct customers. We spend a lot of time with them. In the past, we might go to an OEM and give them a presentation, and then the OEM would go to the fabricator except the fabricator hadn't heard about that material. We're making sure that anything that for we're promoting to the OEM level, that we're getting that promotion to the fabricators as well as samples ahead of time. Because it doesn't do us any good if they come to them and have never heard of it. As I noted previously, we have a pretty good rela- tionship at the OEM level, so in a lot of cases, we'll work as a team. We'll work with the OEM and suggest stackups. Then, we'll work with their fabricator's field applications engineers and reach a consensus to build a product. Johnson: Thank you, Alan. Cochrane: Thank you. PCB007

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