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Design007-Apr2020

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64 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 something back in life, mentoring and helping other startups. A couple of years ago, I was involved in a startup event in the U.K. and was talking to a couple of the founders, who were at Hive, which was bought by British Gas. One of the founders mentioned how hard it was to find people who had been through NPI in OEM manufacturing. And of course, for those of us who have worked for OEMs with our own pro- duction facilities, we tend to forget the fact that the world has changed so dramatically since 2000–2005, when so much manufactur- ing was first outsourced. Obviously, the major- ity of electronics have tended to be outsourced to Southeast Asia. For the designers coming up in the last 10 years, it's quite a challenge. When the manu- facturing is on the other side of the world— particularly for anybody who's going for a big- ger scale—it's that much more of a challenge to learn. Of course, we see one or two startups in startup incubators in London, where they have spent months and months in Southeast Asia to get a product up. A lot of that is not through any lack of enthusiasm or effort; it's because they're going up a very steep learning curve in a very different culture. Shaughnessy: It sounds like helping startups is a real vocation for you. Marshall: Absolutely, and one of the things is the fact that there has been this idea that you can't manufacture things in Western Europe. I think there is something of a parallel to that in the U.S. Yes, you can still get things manufac- tured in the U.S.; however, I often say to peo- ple—particularly if you're going into volume manufacturing—you must have a plan to go to a low-cost area of manufacturing, whether that's Central or Western Europe or Southeast Asia. It's a lot easier to make your mistakes closer to home and be able to see where things are going wrong. Shaughnessy: Because you're going to make mistakes if you're a startup, it's better to fail nearby. Marshall: Right. Is it all going to go perfectly? That is part of the challenge, but you can mit- igate so much risk by being able to do those things locally. We talked about this at the AltiumLive 2019 conference, often on the PCB side. Have you been to the fabrication plant? Have you talked to the fabricator? When you come to build the products, it's exactly the same thing, if you can't stand on a production line and see the product going together. There is a bunch of things that no amount of emails and conference calls will ever tell you that you will see within a minute of standing on a production line. Happy Holden: That's an old paradigm. A smart factory in North America manufactures, at half the price of China, the perfect PCB in two days, for any quantity, from one to 100,000. You don't have to go to Southeast Asia to get the best quality and the lowest price at any volume. Marshall: It's a really good point. If you look at it, it's not a one-sided thing; it's almost like a seesaw. We put robotics in factories. Then, due to a whole bunch of reasons, manufactur- ers started to migrate out to China. Typical- Richard Marshall

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