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78 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 Flexible Thinking by Joe Fjelstad, VERDANT ELECTRONICS The great Irish author, playwright, and hu- morist Oscar Wilde once defined a cynic as an individual who knows the price of everything and the value of almost nothing. Unfortunately, over the decades, that same analysis could often be applied to procurement agents in electron- ic product companies around the globe. The re- ward for a purchasing agent is too often derived not from getting the best solution for their com- pany but the best price. It is a simple fact that if the cost of a decision is not tracked through the entire manufacturing system, the dollar saved at incoming could cost the company much more at the end through process adjustments, rejects, re- work, repair and, much worse, through product failure in the field and returns. In earlier times, many companies were run by accountants (AKA bean counters) who sim- ply ran the numbers with expectations that profit could be assured by controlling the cost of raw materials in the door. If the sales ex- ceeded the cost of the raw materials, labor, and overhead, there was profit, and everything was good. However, in a globally competitive busi- ness environment, one can quickly lose po- sition and market share to those competitors more attentive to inefficiencies in their opera- tions and skilled at "cutting away the fat." One of the important ways they have accomplished this is by giving manufacturing technicians and engineers a greater voice in manufactur- ing management. Those closest to the problem are typically those who understand it best. No one truly wants to make inferior products or contribute to waste. However, manufacturing is limited in terms of what it can do in many situations. Design is the drum major of any manufacturing march- DFM or Design With Manufacturing?

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