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MARCH 2023 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 71 the CAD monkeys have freely moved the lad- der and reached the bananas? If we could have asked the CAD monkeys for their rationale behind not letting their cage mates reset the ladder to reach the bananas, their answer might have been, "I was just fol- lowing orders." In other words, "at's the way we've always done it." The Moral of the Story Whether you consider yourself a PCB engi- neering stakeholder, PCB designer, or even a CAD monkey, let us avoid assuming or creat- ing unfounded conspiracy theories for work- flow items in your company which may seem backward. Let's get to the root cause of stake- holder's problems and challenges. Let's com- municate and find ways to climb the ladder with the understanding to reach the goals. If icy water is about to be dumped on you, refuse to be subjected to it. Bust out of the cage and head for HR. Our engineering managers must see that holding on to the old ways can be a two-edged sword. Values and character traits—both good and bad—exist in the past. A group can be easily wiped out by the competition unless it cultivates a culture which fosters continual exploration and experimentation with new processes, materials, and machinery. DESIGN007 Kelly Dack, CIT, CID+, provides DFx centered PCB design and manufacturing liaison expertise for a dynamic EMS provider in the Pacific Northwest while also serving as an IPC design certifi- cation instructor (CID) for EPTAC. To read past columns, click here. Interview by Andy Shaughnessy After you've signed that new customer, then the fun—and hard work—really begins. How do you cre- ate a solid customer-vendor relationship from the very first meeting? At DesignCon 2023, I met with Terrill Schmidt, director of technology for Flexible Circuit Technolo- gies. I asked him to describe FCT's new customer process, and what it takes to turn a new customer into a long-term partner. Terrill, what's your process when you first meet with a new customer? What are some of the challenges they come to you with, and how do you address that? With new customers, it's really an education process. We're learning and understand- ing what they need, then we go back to them with the right questions and the right knowledge to educate them on what flex can and can't do. We educate them on the capabilities of flex and help them through the design, everything from basic layout to material stackups. We want to be a knowledge resource for them and help them get the product they need, designed for cost-effectiveness and quality. We're a resource for customers in a variety of ways—not only the actual manufacturing, but also on the design, as well as reliability and quality. We work with all our customers, making sure that these things are there for them. We offer them education, a good product, and good service under one roof. Educating the customer is a big part of what you offer your customers? Yes, the more we know and can help them with the design, the faster we can get through prototyping to C stage, B stage, samples, and into production. You know, a lot of us here have multiple decades of experience. We're able to leverage that information and knowledge, and then work with the customer's engineering and design group to find an effective way to solve their problem. Sounds good. Thanks, Terrill. Thank you, Andy. Onboarding New Customers at FCT Terrill Schmidt

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