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PCB007-Mar2020

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10 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2020 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team The I-Connect007 editorial team spoke with Steve Williams, president of The Right Approach Consulting, about the difficulties around putting profitability back into PCB fab- rication, what wake-up calls force companies to make that transition and look at their busi- ness differently, and the issues or roadblocks that can stop some from progressing. Nolan Johnson: Let's start with perspectives on how to put profitability back into PCB fabrica- tion. It seems a lot of pressure in the supply chain squeezes the profit right out of PCB fab- rication. However, there's a bright spot in the industry of what's possible. Barry Matties: At GreenSource, they have con- tinuous flow manufacturing. They have moved down to a lot size of one. There's no work sit- ting around on carts, which eliminated a lot of the process steps of cleaning and of other costs associated with a larger lot size. By driving the waste of the process, there is profit to be had in PCB fabrication. Steve, what do you see? Steve Williams: You're spot on, Barry. I can't tell you how many times I go into a place and they complain about their yields or how much money they're losing from scrap and rework; however, when I look at their process, they haven't embraced some of the stuff that could make them successful like Lean manufactur- ing, best practices, or workflow optimization. They should look at the process in a holistic manner and figure out what's the best way to get products from point A to point B. They're carting products all over the plant from this side to that side, and back to the other side, and it's not laid out in a good flow. They're do- ing a lot of reactive tasks instead of proactive tasks. One of the things that I talked about not too long ago is getting rid of inspection. Inspec- tion is a non-value process, but board shops will turn there first to try and solve a prob- lem; they'll throw more inspection at it. That compounds the problem. Instead of looking at and fixing the process, they add more people to sort out the good stuff from the bad. They're never going to make any headway that way. In a prior life, I worked for a very large con- tract manufacturer. Of course, we were always

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