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8 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2020 "The profit is all gone from printed circuits," said one industry executive. Another explained, "We have been forced into a commodity busi- ness, with margins to match." The conversation happens time and time again. Get into a social setting with fabrication business owners, and many of them will share that their profit margins are awfully thin these days; however, not all of them are saying that. Some are finding plenty of business to be had with strong margins. So, why are there differ- ent opinions and results? There seem to be two schools of thought among fabrication owners right now: those who are defensively hunkering down, and those who are assertively making changes. The old adage states, "With great risk often comes great reward," which holds true here. But the I-Connect007 team chose not to dw ell on the reasons, motives, and philosophical differenc- es between these two camps. Instead, we re- viewed as many departments as possible within the PCB fabricator, looking for improved profits from the bottom up, so to speak. We also took a top-down view, exploring the contribution of company leadership on profitability. Profitability is a multi-faceted subject. Ulti- mately, the profits return to the business based on good leadership. But I'm stating the obvi- ous, aren't I? My personal takeaway from this issue was that there are multiple opportunities still left in the PCB fabrication business to re- gain profit margin—some large and systemic, others small and incremental. However, one theme came through: You have to think differently about your business and your processes to make progress and re- store profitability. Profitability is a choice. We kick off this issue with a high-level dis- cussion with Steve Williams, "Profit Is in Your Thinking." Then, we have a discussion with MacDermid Alpha's Bill Bowerman on the Nolan's Notes by Nolan Johnson, I-CONNECT007 Profitability Is a Choice

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