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PCB-July2015

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30 The PCB Magazine • July 2015 pected so we had to do a course correction. We are in very good shape now. Our goal is to get all of our lead times down to industry parity or better before the end of the year, and we are working our way down that glide path right now. When looking at lead time, we want to be as good as anybody else in industry. So if the best in class is five days in a certain product line, we want to be at five days. If the best in class is 15 days, we want to be at least as good as them at 15 days. We want to be on parity when our cus- tomers want to place an order for Rogers' mate- rial versus a competitor; they know they can get it in at least the same time frame. That's probably been the biggest source of irritation for our customers, when we had to balloon out the lead times, but at the time there was no other apparent solution that was quick. We had to create a little bit of breath- ing room so that we could try to get as much internal capacity turned around as we could. Overall, our team did a great job with that and with managing the customers through some difficult situations. The positive side you can make from the customer's view, we didn't re- ally impact any customer that significantly. We didn't shut anybody down; we didn't cre- ate havoc at an OEM or anything like that. We were able to stay ahead of that, but it was not without pain. Matties: I don't know that you can say that with certainty, though, because maybe the ma- jor OEMs were allocated for, but perhaps not all customers. Pavlak: Right, for some of the customers there were bumps along the road. We put a new expe- dite process in and that expedite process didn't handle the smaller orders, so we created an es- calation process; if they had a really critical or- der, we got it in the escalation process and gave them an answer within two to three days for how quickly we could pull it in. We did some displacements to try to help them through that period. With many customers, we didn't affect any big programs out there… Matties: Where the rocket ship didn't launch. Pavlak: Exactly. It's been an interesting journey for everybody. It's unfortunate that the capac- ity that we had planned didn't come on line sooner, but some of those projects you can't make go any faster without sacrificing some- thing else. We did pay expedite cost for those capital expansion projects to try to bring them on faster, but I think the global operations team did a really good job of driving more internal improvements to make up much of the differ- ence between demand and capacity. Matties: That's what is really interesting: your internal process improvement strategy and the increased performance that you found. However, this is just good business practice in any case, whether you are on time or trying to catch up, to find best practices to try reduce waste and im- prove yields. Pavlak: What it did was heighten the need to ac- celerate things that were already in progress. We really put a big effort on that to make sure that was number one in the operations playbook for AN UPDATE ON THE ROGERS MATERIAL SUPPLy LINE continues Feature

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