PCB007 Magazine

PCB-May2017

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May 2017 • The PCB Magazine 29 them to know not just how to be the automatic feed and unload. You need them to control their section of the shop. Ryder: In low-volume, high-mix, they need to be a little experienced with everything in their department, if not have complete knowledge of everything in their department. In some of the bigger shops over the years that I've seen, the person running the plating line isn't even able to make the adjustment on the amperage. A su- pervisor has to come and do that. Goldman: But you expect your operators to be able to do that. And to stop something if it's not working right. Ryder: Right. You must empower your employ- ees. Micromanaging is a terrible way to run a business. With that many steps in the process you'd go crazy. It's hard to find somebody that really has all that knowledge unless they've been doing it for a long time. You know, the other thing that is happening is a lot of people that have been very knowledgeable in this in- dustry are gone. Goldman: Everybody talks about the graying of our industry. Ryder: It's very true. At our Redmond facility, we probably have 10 people in their 60s. Goldman: And you're sitting there thinking, "I'm going to have to replace these guys." It would be nice to have some shadows there behind them. Ryder: It would. It's pretty rare when we see somebody's son or daughter say, "I want to fol- low mom or dad," in this industry. I think their parents are telling them, "Don't." Goldman: Or they make their own decision to go into computers or finance. Ryder: A different area of technology, yeah. It is something that all of us have seen with the number of shops that are left versus what there once was. Then you look at the numbers that the IPC provides and the dollars spent on cir- cuit boards in this country is higher than it's ever been, just not domestically. I see the CMs going great guns. It's not because there's no boards being ordered. They're just not being or- dered here. There's been a little more leveling of the pricing over the last year or two. I've heard that there's a 30% difference in general on items from China versus what you would pay do- mestically. I don't know if that's really accu- rate, but at 30% we are starting to see people tell us they're losing interest with offshore. The thing that usually bites them is when they have a challenge or a problem come up. Communi- cation is a challenge, and I don't mean just the verbal. It's the timing. Goldman: Communication and turnaround, I would think. Getting product quickly. Ryder: Fixed, repaired, replaced or whatever. Goldman: Or even just prototypes. You want them fast and you can't get them fast offshore. Ryder: We've heard three to five days is doable and then it's two days to ship. Now you're cut- ting into what you could get domestically at that rate. Personally, I don't know. I've never bought boards. I'm going to probably keep it that way (laughs). I know where to get them. Goldman: Well Dave, thanks so much for talking with me. Ryder: You're certainly welcome. PCB DAVE RYDER ON PROTOTRON CIRCUITS' STRATEGY FOR HIRING IN TODAY'S MARKETPLACE " You must empower your employees. Micromanaging is a terrible way to run a business. With that many steps in the process you'd go crazy. "

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