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8 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2019 "Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort." –John Ruskin Though he wasn't writing about printed cir- cuit board design at the time, Ruskin's wisdom suits us very well. Quality is, well, qualitative. Output quality can be affected by processes, people, product specifications, and raw mate- rials. In our industry, ongoing hot topics in- clude the skills gap, filling jobs, emerging tech- nology, Industry 4.0, and so forth. Ultimately, these topics can make or break your compa- ny's quality. According to a press release published by SCORE on May 23, 2019, "98.6% of American manufacturing companies are small business- es, and 75.3% of those businesses have fewer than 20 employees." SCORE is an organization that mentors to America's small businesses. The report continues, "Last year, manufactur- ing businesses generated 11.6% of the U.S. economic output and employed 8.5% of the U.S. workforce, but 89% of manufacturers re- port that they cannot fill all job openings." This report looks at all manufacturing, but it's clear that the electronics industry trends are consistent with manufacturing in general. There are also a large number of small busi- nesses in our sector. Our topic this month, however, is "Every- thing Starts With Design," so what does that have to do with quality, staffing shortages, or small business? Pretty much everything. As OEMs drive electronics manufacturers to improve processes to simulta- neously build a product at two orders of magnitude more reliability, where does a fabricator even begin to concentrate its efforts to get the best improvement in out- put? Some will tell you that getting the best pos- sible quality on the input is where you should start. The design team's files and the accompanying docu- mentation is the real-world implementation plan to turn the OEM's concepts and market- ing research into a viable, physical, competi- tive product. Unless manufacturing defies the build instructions from the designers, the prod- uct will only be as manufacturable as the de- sign files themselves. The higher the quality of the design, the more robust the contingen- Nolan's Notes by Nolan Johnson, I-CONNECT007 Quality by Design

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