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Design007-Aug2019

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62 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2019 A year later, the path forward is still not apparent. Uncertainty hovers in every plan- ning session: will tomorrow bring another import tax increase or a speedy resolution? The unknowns can freeze an organization in place, hoping for the best (Figure 1). In a recent New York Times article [4] , Pete Guarraia, the leader of Bain's [5] supply chain practice, was quoted as saying, "Most companies took a wait-and- see-attitude. That was absolutely the mindset." Hope Is Not a Long-term Strategy As these trade conflicts drag on, with no one outcome more or less certain than another, it makes sense to consider new supply chain strategies for high-end manufacturing com- ponents like PCBs. According to a recent IPC survey [6] , 87% of its U.S. members import raw mate- rials, components, or equipment from China [7] . PCBs are among these critical components and are the foundation of any electronic device. Sooner or later, tariffs asso- ciated with their manufacture are going to leave a mark on profits, prices, and production volume. Alternate sourcing for PCBs can get tricky, especially if there exists a long-term relationship with your vendor. Searching for new sources for all your products impacted by tariffs is a big exercise (Figure 2). You have to weigh the cost of the tariffs against quality expectations, lead times, knowledge transfer requirements, and the risk associ- Managing Global Supply Chain Uncertainty We are well into the second year of tariff- centric trade policy [1] , and one thing appears certain—uncertainty is here to stay. Though most of the media focus has been on cars and steel or consumer prices and corporate profits [2] , the enduring challenge for both the elec- tronics and PCB industries has been maintain- ing reliable global supply chains. Since July 2018, the PCB industry has been affected by tariffs on key manufacturing com- ponents like laser drills, placement machines, and reflow ovens as well as PCB assemblies used in telecommunications equipment, cam- eras, and ATMs [3] . Like many in the industry, we were hopeful for and confident about a swift resolution. Connect the Dots by Bob Tise, SUNSTONE CIRCUITS Figure 1: The future is still uncertain.

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