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January 2016 • The PCB Magazine 61 nication tool and one that must be mastered. This logical and simple procedure may work for most engineers as it leverages off of their innate technical skills. 7. Product/Process Life Cycles A life cycle provides the organizational framework for new product or process develop- ments by breaking the creation process down into phases and tasks for design and marketing with strategic milestones of review. 8. Learning Curve Learning theory The learning curve learning theory is a dis- tinct model of yield prediction and useful for planning purposes as well as understanding learning. 9. Shared Vision/Figure of Merit Figure of merit (FoM) is the third-level of metrics or "Measurement of Performance" and just below the highest (fourth) level. It is a pow- erful way to create a shared "scoring equation to evaluate any set of alternatives. The process is based on expert opinion utilized in an orga- nized approach to reach a consensus on the im- portant 'factors', their relative 'weighting' and the 'scale' of the factors. 10. Design for Manufacturing & Assembly DFM/A is a specific design scoring meth- od developed by Professors Dewhurst and Boothroyd to predict how easy or automatable a product will be to mechanically assemble. The score is based on the number of parts, fasteners and kinematic of assembly with tooling. 11. Managing Management Time/Coaching MMT is a course taught by William Onken for managers about the skills of coaching and delegating to subordinates. It uses monkeys as the definition of problems and issues that employees have and how to keep them from "jumping to your back." 12. Project/Program Management Program management tools like PERT/GANT charts, project scheduling, and critical PATH are used to plan and manage tasks in an efficient manner. 13. Benchmarking Benchmarking may also be called reverse engineering and is the skill of dissembling a product to measure and collect metrics of per- formance about that product. It is linked to metrics and roadmapping. 14. Engineering economics/ROI/BET Engineering economics is specialized to fo- cus on ROI, net present worth and break-even time (BET), all used in determining design budgets, manpower and manufacturing invest- ments over time. BET can help decide if more resources should be applied at the design phase in order to improve profitability and ROI. 15. Roadmapping Roadmapping is a specific set of tasks that attempt to present a set of performance metrics for specific times in the future, providing a 'vis- ible' future for planning purposes. 16. Quality functional deployment (House of Quality) QFD was developed by Toyota to create an organized approach to converting "Customers' Needs and Specifications" into "Actions and Technologies." This is done through a four-step "House of Quality" analysis. 17. Automation Strategy/CIM Automation (automatic + mechanization can be quantified into levels of systemization (information) and classes of mechanization (motions). Six levels of systemization and six de- grees of mechanization creates a 36-matrix ap- proach to automation planning and execution. Automation also has six key characteristics: su- periority, simplicity, flexibility, compatibility, manufacturability, and reliability. Automation is key to any computer integrated manufactur- ing program. 18. Computer-Aided Manufacturing The specific understanding and manipu- lation of product data is essential for an elec- tronics or printed circuit engineer. This is the explanation and functionality of the various arenas in modern data-driven electronics man- ufacturing. 25 ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR ENGINEERS article

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