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46 SMT007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 In Fremont, we also have a cabinet. Of course, it's not as sophisticated as what we have in China, but the two inventories are transparent to both facilities. We can look into their system, and they're able to look at ours. Fremont is not on an Oracle system yet. We plan to move it into Oracle by the end of this year. We're moving rapidly. We were having the team come here and set up, and then we got clogged up with COVID-19. In the future, both facilities will have visibility to each oth- er's operation. Matties: With the barcode system, are you counting every component individually, or are you counting them in bulk? Ghalili: It depends. Each fab will have a dif- ferent barcode. But components will have a barcode per lot, and all of them are entered into the system with the quantity at the time of receiving. The fab's unique barcodes, traced from screen printing on, are linked to all the barcodes of the components that the fab uses. All reels are barcoded, linking it to a different purchased lot. The idea is for us to be able to trace it back to purchasing and manufacturer lot items. We also have linked it to our manu- facturing worker order lot number. Matties: When you take a job, and it comes in, you have to kit it up and get it ready for assem- bly. How do you manage that? Ghalili: The BOM is fed into the cabinets. The person puts in the work order, and it feeds into the cabinet. The cabinet automatically shows which item needs to be picked up. A person picks it up, reads the barcode, reads the bar- code on the feeder, and then drops it into that feeder. Matties: It gives you an exact count of inven- tory that's being utilized, as well as inventory that remains in stock. Ghalili: Exactly. When it goes back, the remain- ing components are counted, and then fed back into the cabinets. Say they took a reel for 5,000 capacitors—it goes through the process, and it comes out with 1,000–2,000 used. They recount what is left on the reel, and then feed it back into the cabinet. Matties: And when you say recount, do the computers recount it? Ghalili: We have two lines running. One line has a software system we just bought from Europlacer. It tells us how many components have been used, and therefore, how much is left on the reel. For ICs and expensive parts, we may do a manual check as well. But for passives, we use the number from the system. Matties: You have been in business for several years, and your inventory management has most likely evolved over time to become more and more efficient. What would you say the result of good inventory management has been regarding quality, cash flow, etc.? Ghalili: We started manual in China; they used books that they were physically writing into it. We didn't even have an Excel spreadsheet at one point. It started with little accounting books, and then we moved to Excel sheets and then a very small software that we bought out of the U.K. to keep inventory. In 2008, we moved into Oracle and had a long implementation process. When we pur- chased Oracle, it took us three years before we were able to implement the system and make it work. We initially had a large com- pany that did the implementation. It didn't work out, and then we hired a single consul- The fab's unique barcodes, traced from a screen printing on, are linked to all the barcodes of the components that the fab uses.

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