SMT007 Magazine

SMT007-Aug2021

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40 SMT007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2021 Feature Article by Dan Beaulieu DB MANAGEMENT "What we have here is a failure to communicate." — Strother Martin, Cool Hand Luke Sometimes when I hear that line (during one of the thousand times I have watched that movie), I can't help but think that old Strother was in our business. at is to say that printed circuit board designers and board builders have always battled with an inability to com- municate. A few years back I had the responsibility of managing a division of three design service bureaus for a company which also owned a board shop division. ese two divisions— the design centers and the board shop—were very separate entities. Not only had most of the designers never been to their own board shop, but they didn't have much of an interest in doing so, ever. Now don't get me wrong, they were terrific designers and nice people, but somewhere during their training they had been warned about board shops; they had been told to ignore those who actually built the boards because those people didn't know anything. ey were taught that the designers were in charge and could design the boards any way they wanted. What was especially daunting about that philosophy was that we were selling a new and unique service we called "Total Concept," which meant that we were selling design and fabrication to customers. As you can imagine, that service never took off. Only about 10% of our business was Total Concept. I always thought it was an idea whose time had not yet come, which is probably true since an increas- ing number of customers today want a com- plete, synergistic solution that includes design, fabrication, and assembly. Back then, not so much. Furthermore, the designers were the board shop's worst customers; the board shop was the designer's worst vendor. Aer a while, when the designers did sell the Total Concept service, they were using other board houses rather than their own. Of course, in a Total Concept process, there was the need for the design teams to commu-

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