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34 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 Yes, when you move products—even with a fully-audited and approved factory—there is the potential for variances. Even two factories that are fully audited can have different man- ufacturing methods for the same PCB. There needs to be a process involved; it's not just a simple transfer. To mitigate risk, work does need to be done on the back-end. A customer may not be aware or have visibility into this process, but working in the background to en- sure product conformity and quality must be implemented. For example, available material and material lead times can vary with different factories. PCB suppliers should always advo- cate on behalf of their customers by checking this and reconfirming with customers that ev- erything is in sync. The advantage of having options with your partnerships applies throughout the supply chain—not just a PCB supplier. The need to adapt to any changing environment is key. A contract manufacturer needs to keep all its components in stock. An OEM/ODM needs to make sure their assembly shop has multiple locations for long life cycle products. The Right Product in the Right Factory Carefully choosing long-term partners and working closely with them to maintain and develop a sustainable business needs to be implemented in a successful strategy. PCB technology, manufacturing knowledge, close relationships and communication with cus- alternatives to move products from one facto- ry to another seamlessly? With the COVID-19 outbreak, I have seen this become the most important factor of our business recently. It's the most sustainable way to operate to be able to still function and produce by having a ro- bust network of supply chain partners built up throughout the world. When certain areas in China were initially affected by the coronavirus, it was important to be positioned to mitigate risk. As of now, we see production is ramped back up in China and other areas of the world, including Europe and the U.S.—which are experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. We see immensely in- creased lead times, and—in some cases—pri- oritizing critical applications over others. With a reduced workforce in the U.S. and increased demand, factories must take this action. In many instances, the biggest advantage to sustainably operate your business is to have options with your suppliers. If a factory shuts down that is producing a complex PCB, you need to be proactive about mitigating the risk that comes with this. There is so much time and cost involved with sourcing, approving, and monitoring a new factory. If the proper time and resources are not built into this pro- cess, you will have quality issues and will not be able to produce a reliable product. A busi- ness model needs to be diversified and include multiple options able to manufacture a PCB; it's the sustainable way to operate. Jenny Zhang, sustainability manager, NCAB Group China, checking factory grounds during a sustainability audit. NCAB Group team members performing visual inspection at a partner factory.

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