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November 2016 • SMT Magazine 71 LEADERSHIP IN YOUR COMPANY: SOMETHING TO WORRY ABOUT? overhead and G&A contributions and see if there are more cost effective alternatives available. Shaping Your Company for Success Whether you design, assemble, and sell your own products (as an OPD) or, provide manufac- turing services for others (as an EMS provider) your company is evaluated by your customers in three general categories: 1. Price 2. Product or Service Quality 3. Performance (i.e., schedule compliance, reliability, feature desirability— if a product) Unless you are a government employer, you perform on a landscape crowded with competi- tors. This landscape consists of rival companies that are all vying for similar business. What sep- arates your company from the pack is how it is perceived in terms of the three metrics list- ed above. Price is clearly a heavily weighted cri- terion. However, price alone is not enough to imbue sufficient customer confidence to trust their franchise to an EMS provider, or result in sufficient sales to bestow the phrase "successful product" on an OPD. It really comes down to the quality and competence of the people in the organization who are directly responsible for the design (if an OPD) and assembly of the product that greatly influence items 2 and 3, above—these are the direct employees. Sixty years ago, the strategy to achieve prod- uct assembly quality was to inspect the quality into to product. In the limit the thought was if we could station an inspector behind every line operator we could assure product quality. There was even a department called Quality Assurance. Even today some companies employ this strategy. Typically, those companies that cannot develop robust assembly processes are forced into inspection as the line of defense for their assembled product quality. As stated in an ear - lier column, in-circuit test (ICT) is a tool used in this product quality strategy. It adds no value to the customer. It merely is a consequence of a poor material supply chain, poor design, or an assembly process that is not statistically capable. Employees help create the face of the com- pany that employs them. Some companies like to showcase certain members of the workforce to their customers and conceal others. Why? Be- cause some employees have better interpersonal skills than others. Those with good people skills and modest technical skills over time may gravi- tate to the sales and marketing departments. Most sales and marketing people are grown in the real world, not developed in the academ- ic world. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, academia is not an environment that can successfully act as a rehearsal hall for an engineer's performance in the real world—the learning for earning part. The same is true of sales and marketing people. Leadership at the Top If you had to name the one person who has the most influence in creating the face of your organization, who would that be? I'm not Jewish, but have many Jewish friends. In fact, growing up on Long Island in New York (never say, in Long Island), going to elementary school I thought the world was pri- marily Jewish. I learned that there are two na- tive languages: Hebrew and Yiddish. Yiddish de- veloped as the language of the common people. It is a rich communicative source filled with idi- oms and expressive words and phrases, many of which have spilled into English parlance. Here is the phrase that answers the question posed above: Translated into English: "The fish stinks from the head." " Most sales and marketing people are grown in the real world, not developed in the academic world. "

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