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18 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 the assembly queue, expedited shipping, etc. Expediting fabrication and assembly can easily triple your manufacturing costs. Shaughnessy: It sounds like you look at the cost of each step in the process. This is in con- trast with what some of our readers said in a survey about costs. Quite a few designers at OEMs said, "We're at a giant company, and it's almost impossible for me to keep track of the total cost of a design because it happens in so many different offices." Young: It is possible to do that, but it requires very good planning skills. Also, you have to look at the personality of the team players. Teamwork is important. I'm not talking about groupthink; I'm talking about people who can coordinate and get along with each other. I've worked on a lot of projects in the past, and I've had to hire, fire, and lead people who have been great to work with. I've also failed on projects with a team I considered to be the top of the class, but we didn't communicate well with each other. Shaughnessy: Who do you think is responsible for the design and keeping track of the cost? Who do you think is the main person respon- sible for that? Young: At the end of the day, talking from a corporate perspective, you need good pro- gram planning and management. If your pro- gram manager doesn't know what the cost is or is overcome by events, there may be a need for some type of involvement from the execu- tive level. From what I have observed, people are afraid to slow down, and sometimes that is what it takes to get back on track. It is im- portant to accurately assess where you are in a project and where you need to be. Shaughnessy: What advice would you give to designers who are starting to have to track the dollars and cents in their designs? Young: Talk to other people in the process. Ask about their problems and ideas. Ask them what they're trying to do, and I'm not talking about in a meeting; I mean to com- municate directly one on one. As an example, have the design engineer talk to the layout and manufacturing engineers about issues they see. Talk to the people in shipping/re- ceiving; there may be something in their pro- cess/environment that needs design consid- eration. The problem is that so many engi- neers think, "I design this circuit, and that's all I do." No, you're trying to design this cir- cuit in a system that other people are work- ing with as well. Shaughnessy: They look at it as if it's the final product. Young: Exactly. It sounds corny, but it's worth learning new things. I'm always reading about something, and it's not always engi- neering. My wife and I have a great library. I have books on microelectronics, power elec- tronics, signals and systems, digital commu- nications, calculus, Active X and OLE pro- gramming, FPGA simulation, UNIX systems, mathematical proofs, microwave filters, and engineering. Then, balance that with books on how to write better requirements, talk to people, and understand where they're com- ing from. Being well-read and well-educated helps a lot, but you have to balance that with talking to people. Shaughnessy: This has been really helpful. I appreciate your insight. Thanks, Chris. Young: Thank you, Andy. I enjoyed it. DESIGN007 At the end of the day, talking from a corporate perspective, you need good program planning and management.

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