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Design007-Aug2019

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64 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2019 ated with terminating—albeit perhaps tempo- rarily—your existing supplier relationships. There are also few cost-effective supplier alternatives to China for producers of electron- ics [8] . For high-end manufacturing, China beats nearby Vietnam in terms of available skilled labor, modern production infrastructure, and relatively limited bureaucracy [9] . And even if an organization is prepared to work with all of those variables, the raw materials for produc- tion will come from China and be subject to tariffs anyway. Therefore, it is easy to under- stand why companies are still unwilling to move from the status quo, even if it impacts the bottom line. Though absorbing costs or passing them on can work in the short term, eventually, for- ward-looking businesses will seek competitive pricing advantage by adopting a supply chain strategy that avoids tariffs. Determining how to do so internationally is less obvious than it might seem, especially in the electronics indus- try where products are so complex (Figure 3). PCB manufacturers work with a relatively finite list of components, at least compared to our customers who are making medical devices, robots, and drones. This presents our industry with a chance to provide value for our custom- ers who are spending precious resources por- ing over tariff codes in an attempt to figure out which apply to their components. Domestic PCB manufacturers can offer tariff-free boards to their customers, eliminating both long-term cost uncertainty and a supply-chain headache. The Case for Domestic PCB Manufacturing Sunstone Circuits has been making the "made in America" PCB case for years [10] to Figure 2: The cost of tariffs. Figure 3: Complex electronics.

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