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52 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2023 Feature Article by Mark Laing SIEMENS DIGITAL INDUSTRIES SOFTWARE We recently heard President Biden's State of the Union address, and it got me thinking that perhaps now is a good time to look at our own post-pandemic "state of the union" in the elec- tronics manufacturing services industry. I will describe several key issues that our customers around the world are facing as we move for- ward into a new normal. Accelerated High-mix Trend and Part Availability Constraints One trend that appeared prior to COVID (but has accelerated since) is the increase in the number of unique products being built— the move to higher product mix and vari- ety. Instead of a single product being built in a day, higher mix facilities are building sev- eral unique products with smaller production volumes. e line beat rate (Tact time of the line) becomes less important as the number of batches increases, and the changeover time becomes more significant. e high-mix trend, together with supply chain issues, is driving a need for more agility in production schedules based on part avail- ability. As product mix increases, part avail- ability becomes a constraint to having unlim- ited agility to move from product to product. Since companies are no longer able to acquire parts on demand as they did before the pandemic, they are forced to increase inven- tories and store components for future use. In addition, they are oen driven to find alterna- tive component sources, making the approved vendor lists (AVLs) more critical than ever. AVL management will also put additional The EMS 'State of The Union'

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