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46 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team We recently interviewed Nick Barbin, CEO and co-founder of Optimum Design Associ- ates. Originally a design bureau, ODA has ex- panded over the years and now includes pro- totype and mid-volume assembly, test, and in- spection. We asked Nick to break down the economics of PCB design for us. Andy Shaughnessy: Thanks for joining us, Nick. We're discussing the economics of PCB design. When you look at a design, do you track things like the total cost of the design? Nick Barbin: Absolutely. I look at it on a per- project and per-designer basis. Barry Matties: Are you looking at it from bill- able hours or the design economics? For ex- ample, do you look at the impact of a design on the finished product for a supply line cost? Barbin: Being a service provider, we are not privy to the overall cost of a particular product in regard to development. With that said, PCB layout would be a very small percentage of the overall cost. Our interest is in providing our customers with a very good estimate of hours, and then billing for logged hours, not an hour more or an hour less. Some of our customers require fixed bid, and we can accommodate that as well. Matties: When someone comes to you for a project, are they coming in with a budget in mind? Barbin: In 30 years, I've never had anyone tell me what their budget was. Matties: Is there some sticker shock in some cases when they realize what the design might cost? Barbin: Yes, but we do a very good job of break- ing down the various milestones to provide the details of hours. They can get a less expensive price from somebody working from home but will come to Optimum for consistency amongst our 20+ member design team and because of Design Economics With Optimum Design Associates Nick Barbin

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