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48 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2021 Feature Article by Martin Tarr with an introduction by Happy Holden Editor's note: this article is excerpted om 25 Essential Skills for Engineers: Skill 7—Proj- ect and Product Life Cycles, authored by Mar- tin Tarr with an introduction om Happy Hold- en. For magazine purposes, the chapter has been condensed. Introduction It is particularly useful to consider the elec- tronics industry because it has been under considerable pressure recently. e sales life of electronic products has decreased. Prices have fallen and expectations of quality and func- tionality have risen. Since the 1970s, Western manufacturing in general has seen aggressive competition from tradi- tionally subdued Far Eastern-based companies—first Japan, then Tai- wan and Korea, and now China. Communication technology has improved, with email and the inter- net, to the point that competition that was once local is now global. Here, these pressures on the elec- tronics industry and the effect on profits will be explored. Once the reasons are understood, they can be addressed. Most companies realize the im- portance of an efficient PLC pro- cess to develop products and get those products to the customer as quickly as possible. In the electron- ics industry, it can mean the differ- ence between success and failure or in extreme circumstances survival and closure. From a list of PLC efficiencies, one can determine a re- quirements list for a PLC process to maximize profits. Pressure on the Electronics Industry Figure 1 shows the change in profit making period for various industries during the 1990s and the pressure on the electronics industry. e product life cycle span (PLS) is the up- per line and is the length of time the product will remain on the market. e pay-off period is the lower line and is the time for the product profits to pay-off the development costs. e grey area represents clear profit. For the elec- tronics industry, the pay-off period has risen 25 Essential Skills for Engineers Excerpt Skill Number 7: Project and Product Life Cycles Figure 1: The change in pay-off and product life span over the 1990s. (Source: Martin Tarr lecture)

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