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SEPTEMBER 2021 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 31 plexity projects ahead of that. Once we get to a place where we're stable within those product additions, I believe that a big data-driven proj- ect is a viable possibility. Johnson: It sounds like managing the skilled la- bor resource pool is a higher priority than big data. Stevenson: Yes. It's managing the labor pool, as well as increasing our technology from a cus- tomer driven standpoint, being more viable for an onshore domestic manufacturer, really up- ping our technology so that we're not compet- ing with as much of the offshore bargain base- ment, price pressure, product, and still get margins on the product that we are building with even better margins, hopefully. at's our short-term strategy. Johnson: Matt, how would you characterize Sunstone's market niche nowadays? Stevenson: We are still very similarly niched to where we were five years ago. We are still known for short lead times and high quality on the work in our sweet spot. Despite increasing our technology and capabilities considerably over the past decade, it is difficult to change the customer mindset for such a well-established set of strengths. If you look at the data behind our product mix over that time, it's a relatively unchanged big picture. You do see tendrils of it moving up the higher layer counts, higher cop- per weights, smaller holes, etc., but not at the same rate as the adoption of these features in the market. We want to continue to grow the higher technology portion of our product lines and become less reliant on the PCBExpress® of yesteryear, 6-mil tracing space and 0.062" thickness and one ounce copper. at end of technology is where the most pricing pressure comes and conversely the lowest margins. It's still very successful for us and we are still very adept at making it. We can do it with our eyes closed but we want to keep our eyes open and keep moving forward with technology while knowing that this eventually will go away. It's going to dwindle. It's going to go offshore. It's going to go to those who can't improve their technology or don't want to. Johnson: Do you have any words of advice for your colleagues in the PCB fabrication busi- ness? Stevenson: I don't think it's very original, but you've got to keep moving forward. Other- wise, you're going to fall behind. You've got to be moving forward at a brisk pace. You can't just meander that way. ings are changing so rapidly—technology, soware, with the con- solidation of parts and chips and everything that's been going on—being flexible and mov- ing forward must be where you're going. Oth- erwise, you will get buried by the market. Johnson: Or bought. Stevenson: Exactly. Johnson: For cheap. Stevenson: Right. And probably put out of business. Johnson: anks, Matt. PCB007 We can do it with our eyes closed but we want to keep our eyes open and keep moving forward with technology while knowing that this eventually will go away.

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