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32 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2021 Benefits to the PCB Vendor Suppliers who embrace continuous improve- ment and regular performance assessment also see benefits from using the test standard. • Results are a marketing tool. For their existing customers, PCQR 2 improvements provide tangible proof of the benefits of their capital expenditures and process improvements, and should lead to higher qualifications and more market share potential. In addition, because results are available to all subscribers (not just the one that sponsored the submission), good performance can lead to new customers. • Drives technology and process improve- ments. Initially, suppliers were somewhat reluctant to use data sponsored by and shared with their customers to drive their internal process improvements and equip- ment upgrades. Now, however, suppliers eagerly anticipate their annual test stan- dard submission as an opportunity to demonstrate, to both their customers and their management, the results of their capital investments. • Increases customer satisfaction. Fewer field failures mean fewer unhappy buyers. • Keeps costs down. Test vehicles let sup- pliers identify and correct manufacturing issues before they affect production yields or delay quick-turn and prototype jobs, saving scrap and the costs of defective product returns. And submission and testing costs are paid by a customer. Conclusion In choosing to utilize the IPC-9151D PCQR 2 database, PCB sourcing at our company has been streamlined by removing subjectivity and ensuring that awarded PCB technology aligns with each supplier's capability. Moreover, the process was implemented without investing in and maintaining company-specific test vehi- cles. is change has resulted in an increase in quality, higher customer satisfaction, and dra- matic cost savings to both the company and our PCB supply base. SMT007 Al Block is chief manufacturing strategist, DFM Engineering, at National Instruments. Naji Norder is hardware senior group manager, PCB Design & Services, at National Instruments. Chris Joran is global indirect procurement manager, Indirect Procurement, at National Instruments. Figure 6: Quality improvement with PCQR.

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