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76 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2021 Some people may feel threatened by the "why" question, feeling like it's a personal attack on their work. It is not, and an expe- rienced CPIM will work with and train your team to realize that they are attacking process and not people. By doing so, they will be facil- itating a continuous improvement culture and fostering teamwork. Keep in mind that your CPIM does not need to be an expert on what you're doing; they need to be an expert on how to make systems more efficient and facilitate change within your team. e process owners will work with your CPIM and together they will drive out waste and optimize your company. I found a good example of this in 2020 when I had a chance to visit Ventec International Group in Germany. at's where I first met Frank Lorentz, who was brought in as the gen- eral manager even though he did not have any previous laminate or PCB industry experience. Frank's expertise is logistics, and he is defi- nitely a systems thinker. In a very short period, not only did Frank optimize key processes, but he created a culture of continuous improve- ment. Even though his official title is general manager, I would say that he's also their CPIM. A link to the interview I conducted with Frank can be found at the end of this article [1] . Unless you have a dedicated effort to contin- uous improvement you may be missing some real opportunities to have a competitive advan- tage. I am not talking about the big improve- ment plans, though they are a part of it. It's the small things that can add up in a big way. Here at I-Connect007, we have a focused commitment to continuous improvement. Here's one exam- ple of how a small change can have a big impact. In this case, we examined workflow and dis- covered that if we just reordered one step in our process, we would save 40 labor hours per month and improve the product. Of course, we made the change, saved the labor hours, and found that other benefits rippled through our entire process. If we did not challenge the process with our why question, we would have just done it the way we had always done it. Having those hours back added extra capac- ity to our team and reduced our overall cost of producing our product. is is a prime exam- ple of how X = X c – 1 works. If you would like to learn more about X = X c – 1, our January issue of SMT007 Magazine is dedicated to this topic. Process improvement can provide a huge return on investment. But like anything, if you are not committed to it, and you do not have a CPIM in your organization along with the resources needed, then you could really be missing out on removing waste in your pro- cesses and optimizing your organization. SMT007 References 1. Logistics Are Frank Lorentz's Passion, Ventec International Group interview with Barry Matties and Frank Lorentz,, January 2020. This article originally appeared in PCB007 Maga- zine, Feb 2021.

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