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78 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2019 need for enhanced thermal reliability because remember, the changes aren't just limited to the substrate. Changes are occurring in packaging, and the interest in integrating chips into packag - es more and more creates thermal management issues. Again, these are all exciting challenges. Each materials company and PCB manufacturer has to decide whether their core competencies align with these technical challenges. Johnson: There's a process here to figure out what your company's particular sweet spot is and ensure that you're not distracted by all of this fracturing of product opportunities. It sounds like Isola is being very conscious of that and keeping development focused. Mirshafiei: We're applying a rigorous stage-gate process to make sure that we're narrowing our focus, and we're basing it on what we under- stand the market needs. For R&D, one of the most difficult aspects is to kill projects. You can't continue to develop products forever. You have to make sure that you're hitting these timelines. Sometimes, if you're not seeing the innovation occurring at the rate you need it, or if you're seeing a shift in the market need, you have to make the decisions to kill projects. Johnson: With all of this change, what would be your advice to OEMs for getting better in- formed? How would you recommend that they do that? Mirshafiei: OEMs need to work closely with PCB manufacturers that are "class leading" in technology innovation and reliability. Doing this in concert with some similarly innovative laminate manufacturers, will lead to faster de- velopment cycles. You need to be inclusive in that regard because working with only lami- nate suppliers will give you a limited view and will potentially limit the opportunity to learn about the capabilities of the material in your design. It's important to try to integrate those PCB manufacturers looking to help solve your technical needs because those PCB manufac- turers often work closely with the materials suppliers. Johnson: Is there anything that you'd like to cover? Mirshafiei: For Isola, our view of being suc- cessful and moving forward is not only devel- oping the right products and having a focus but also making sure that we're servicing the markets that we're in appropriately. The mar- ket in Europe, Asia, and North America differ. In particular, in North America, our focus is having a quick-turn solution that allows us to service the North American market with these products but in a much faster manner. We rec- ognize that in the long run, with an import model, maybe you can take some advantage of Asian manufacturing costs. But we believe that the better approach is a hybrid model where you have the ability to use materials that are partially manufactured in some locations. Then, they're customized to fit the needs of the North American market. All of these companies, whether it's PCB manufacturers or material suppliers, have had to adapt their supply chain model to be cost- competitive and recognize that the needs in one segment differ from the needs in another. We look forward to growing our business and being mindful of products, supply chain, and customer engagement. Johnson: Awesome. Thank you. Mirshafiei: I really appreciate it, Nolan. Thank you so much. PCB007 Sometimes, if you're not seeing the innovation occurring at the rate you need it, or if you're seeing a shift in the market need, you have to make the decisions to kill projects.

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