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62 PCB007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2021 Jumping the Technology Curve Regardless of the industry in which one competes, there is constant pressure to devel- op new products and penetrate new markets. is difficulty is heightened when your com- pany is situated in a high-technology industry such as electronics, which requires continuous investment in equipment, infrastructure, pro- cesses and, of course, skilled workers. With increased competition coming from many of the so-called "low-cost countries" in Asia, small- and medium-sized printed cir- cuit board and circuit assembly companies in North America and Europe are finding it diffi- cult to compete. Certainly, they are not able to compete on cost alone. is would simply re- sult in a race to the bottom. At the end of the day, successful technolo- gy firms must up their game with respect to in- novation, quality and yields, on-time delivery Jumping the Technology Curve Collaboration With Your Competition (meaning really fast), and managing increas- ingly complex interconnect devices. Recog- nizing that higher margins and profits lie in the state-of-the-art and leading-edge categories, how can a small firm that is unable to fund such innovation get into the game? e answer lies in either joining or forming an industry con- sortium or loose group of companies to share resources for the good of each firm. Interestingly, most executives today are looking for significant government funds to maintain and enhance their companies' com- petitiveness on the global stage. While this may be viable for some of the largest compa- nies, the smaller enabling firms that are criti- cal to the supply chain are oen le out of the discussion. Certainly, the behemoth firms in the semiconductor and medical industries feel they can go it alone if only there were enough cash and tax breaks forthcoming. e argu- Trouble in Your Tank by Michael Carano, RBP CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY

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