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64 SMT007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2019 Companies today simply do not have the funding or the time to hire personnel who are experts in the technical, support, and logisti- cal details of the global supply chain. For that, a partner and an expert with whom to collab- orate is necessary. By not partnering with an expert team that can provide a 360-degree view of their specific landscape of needs, product teams could introduce a plethora of unknown risks and, almost certainly, neglect to include risk mitigation planning. The Right Fit Companies are looking to maximize their spending by using their current supply chain. Sometimes, they will force lower-end technol- ogy into a higher-end facility, so their price point will increase significantly. At other times, companies will go to a lower-technology facil- ity to manufacture their higher-end technol- ogy; the result will be yield fallout. By work- ing with a global team, the company can make sure they put the right technology in the right factory to achieve the best cost and technology solution. These diverse manufacturer relationships ultimately provide customers with a win-win scenario. If you can focus on placing the proper technology into the right factory to maximize your yield and timeliness, then you will get the best solution at the lowest possible cost. From a risk perspective, both financial and timely delivery are addressed successfully. Now More than Ever The global supply chain should partner with the finance department of client companies to use the companies' resources most effectively. It's not just about cost-cutting anymore; it's about services and long-term planning. The risk mitigation inherent in choosing the right PCB supplier can significantly affect a compa- ny's financial risk. The goal is to get time to market before your competition. Companies are looking to pro- duce prototypes so that they can demonstrate their product's capabilities. Once the custom- ers know what the product and the companies can do, then they can launch into production. As the world has changed and evolved—every- one is on their cellphone or computer most of the day—we all have access to the latest and greatest of anything that comes to mind and being developed and brought to market. Any company that is looking for a time-to-market solution should also be invested in risk identi- fication and mitigation, as well as what finan- cial risk they face if their supply chain is dis- rupted. Another financial risk strategy is to work with a supplier who offers inventory management programs. Not only do many suppliers offer program management and inventory projec- tion analysis, but—as a prime example—many PCB manufacturers are striving to transform a custom PCB into an off-the-shelf commodity, like any other component in a build. They also offer quick transit time to the customer's door in as little as one day. The Real Deal There are hundreds of PCB manufacturers to choose from; standalone factories around the world can produce any number of technolo- gies and volumes. There are brokers, essen- tially acting like middlemen, who do not pro- duce PCBs but who represent manufacturers. And there are hybrids, manufacturers who engineer and specialize in product areas, yet also work with factories around the world. Which is the best choice to reduce risk throughout a product's lifecycle? Ideally, one that offers you the most comprehensive solu- tion to your specific needs. Does your company have enough funding or time to qualify manufacturing facilities in dif- ferent regions of the world? If you visit a facil- ity one time, do you have the time and budget to visit quarterly or annually? Is there avail- able staff to extend the workday to other global time zones? Could your on-site staff globally oversee the production and proactively work with the facility in real-time? These are just a few areas of potential risk reduction. Some of those burdens and risk issues can be alleviated by working with a company that has manufac- turing, engineering, and full-service staff. Huge risk factors are inherent in segmented

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