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96 SMT007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2020 review them during the visit. It is also impor- tant to review the training procedure as part of the audit and to talk to the engineers and tech- nicians responsible for design and processes. And do not forget to spend time on the line alone, talking to the operators and inspect- ing some of the boards being built. If you only spend time in the conference room with the quality manager, you will never get the com- plete story. Asking the Right Questions Building good quality products requires not only the right type of equipment but a solid infrastructure of skilled personnel, extensive documentation and process control, and equip- ment characterization. Characterization of pro- cess and equipment, which is necessary for higher yield, requires an investment in engi- neering resources that have not been made by all companies. In my future columns, I will discuss spe- cific questions that should be asked to cor- rectly assess the capability of the company in building the products that meet your specific requirements. SMT007 Ray Prasad is the president of Ray Prasad Consultancy Group and author of the textbook Surface Mount Technology: Principles and Practice. Prasad is also an inductee to the IPC Hall of Fame—the high- est honor in the electronics industry—and has decades of experience in all areas of SMT, including his leadership roles implementing SMT at Boeing and Intel; helping OEM and EMS clients across the globe set up strong, internal, self-sustaining SMT infrastructure; and teaching on-site, in-depth SMT classes. He can be reached at smtsolver@ and has an upcoming SMT class in Octo- ber (remotely by Zoom). More details at To read past columns or contact Prasad, click here. by Sagi Reuven Siemens Digital Industries People and factories have been collecting data, verifying it, and translating it into reports for a long time, but context always makes a difference. People will sometimes interpret and challenge the outcome; other times, they will try to validate and verify the accuracy of the data (smart and required, but it's a slip- pery slope). However, some will create addi- tional reports, detect the root cause of the prob- lem, remove the outliers, and improve, or even use the data to innovate. In this column, I'll dis- cuss the next level—changing the mindset from reporting to analytics and focusing on making small improvements. (To read the full column, click here.) Sagi Reuven is a business development manager for the electronics industry, Siemens Digital Industries. Download your free copy of the book The Printed Circuit Assembler's Guide to… Advanced Manufacturing in the Digital Age from Mentor, a Siemens Business, and visit for other free, educational titles. Lean Digital Thread: Data-Driven Decisions and Micro-Solutions in Manufacturing

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