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MARCH 2021 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 9 Nolan Johnson is managing editor of SMT007 Magazine. Nolan brings 30 years of career experience focused almost entirely on electronics design and manufacturing. To contact Johnson, click here. Obviously, having parts shortages idle your manufacturing—your money printer, if you will—has a significantly negative impact on your ability to operate profitably. I don't know the actual numbers, of course, but my ques- tion is: Does the savings automakers realize by squeezing semiconductors so aggressively on price that they are now ranked as a low prior- ity customer save them more than they lose in revenue aer shutting down? Given that GM is warning investors that their 2021 sales targets are at risk, I'd have to venture to guess that the answer is "no." ese are powerful questions to ask, and meaty topics to investigate. In this issue, we explore smart processes in assembly. First, we ask, "What is a smart process?" Well, to be fair, Michael Ford asks the question in his article. We also look wider and deeper at smart processes, including the value of a chief process improvement manager (CPIM) in your organization. We consider, with the help of supply chain expert, Tim Rodgers, how smart factories and smart processes inter- connect. We also bring you a recent technical paper on PCQR 2 . Tuan Tran, director of cus- tomer solutions at Green Circuits, discusses the role and impact that assembly process engineering has on the profitability of your business. Michael Ford adds a second conver- sation, bringing us up to speed on CFX updates in v1.3. Read closely and this issue highlights some key points repeatedly: • Smart processes are not the same as automated processes • Continuous improvement is not just for the manufacturing floor • Process improvement is so important, it deserves a C-suite job function • Procurement is also a candidate for smart processes • Efficient and profitable companies approach continuous improvement as a standard business practice • Lower component prices might just cost you more in the long run • Smooth operational flow is the most significant contributor to efficiency As we examine the effects of X = X c – 1, this year we remind ourselves in this issue to make our processes smart—and sustainable— before launching into automation. Keep your business running smoothly above all else, and avoid the pitfalls currently felt by the automotive industry. SMT007

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