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50 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2018 ordering and it works very well. When you move into needing high-reliability products or preproduction runs, then it becomes a little more difficult to do the web-based ordering. You miss out on some of that collaboration, de- sign rule checks, and things like that. Matties: I think people from the fabricator side had an electronic and not a personal relation- ship. They knew their numbers and had their accounts and specifications, but perhaps they didn't really know the customers. I think that left a lot of people at a disadvantage. Dunn: Yes. I think that's a common issue across fabrication in North America. For example, in the spirit of trying to respond very quickly to all customers, many fabricators use a general mailbox that anyone in customer service has access to. For example, sales@ whatever the URL may be, but then you never build a rela- tionship. You can't even say "Hello, Judy." You just have to say hello because you don't know who is going to pick it up. Matties: Exactly, and you're in the sales business. This is what you do. When I look at selling, I always say it's not selling but building relation- ships. The same holds true with PCBs. What sort of relationships do you have to build with the customer to get them to do business with you? Dunn: I think one of the key things for Omni PCB is that we really work at connecting our customers to technical knowledge. We work at having the information out there and available whenever they need it, so they have a place to find what they are looking for. From there, you can start a conversation around that and build the relationship. Matties: It's always great when you can help somebody solve a technical problem because you become the hero, and that really cements a relationship, doesn't it? Dunn: Yes, and it's a lot of fun. Matties: Is your background technical? Dunn: It is not. I graduated college with an eco- nomics degree and took my first job at a flex- circuit manufacturer. At that time, I was going to do accounting, and some human resourc- es work. Before they would let me have the checkbook, they had me work on the produc- tion floor to understand all the processes and materials. Matties: Smart move. Dunn: It was. And little did I know at the time the value of the education I was getting by run- ning the equipment, and it was a small com- pany, so it was easy to ask a lot of questions. Matties: We are here at a design conference, and one of the things that we hear so frequent- ly—almost to the point of it being a broken re- cord—is there is not enough communication between designers, fabricators, and assem- blers. When you're selling, you're selling to de- signers a lot. At least they influence or actually make the final purchase decision in many cas- es. How important is it to have that relation- ship or firsthand knowledge of the manufac- turing? Dunn: I think it's extremely important for a de- signer to understand the manufacturing pro- cess and also for the manufacturer to under- stand what the designer is going through as they try to fit all these different things into one board. It definitely helps to know the manu-

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