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22 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2024 Feature Article by Joel Scutchfield and Brent Fischthal KOH YOUNG INC. e paradigm of operational excellence has emerged as a key focus area in today's rap- idly evolving manufacturing landscape. Real- izing this shi, manufacturers are increas- ingly exploring ways to optimize operations to meet the challenges of the "new normal." e manufacturing sector's challenges, partic- ularly regarding personnel and talent, are not going away. us, the conversation has shied toward addressing these challenges through automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and collaboration with suppliers. e Smart factory marks a paradigm shi in manufacturing, eliminating inefficient and error-prone practices. Powered by advanced technologies such as IIoT (Industrial Internet of ings), AI, and machine learning (ML), it relies on cooperation between advanced inspection systems and process control tools to ensure quality at every step of production. ere are many moving parts here, but the potential for gain is immense. e over- all results can be quite impressive when you start looking at the organization from the top down and finding places where improvements can be made. For example, manufacturers can become much more profitable with their exist- ing headcount by implementing these emerg- ing AI-powered technologies. For example, previously, the focus was on how to get more out of a supplier by squeez- ing them as much as possible. However, the paradigm is shiing toward a more collabora- tive approach. Now, manufacturers are seeking ways to reduce their supplier base and solidify relationships with strong suppliers who share their vision. e conversation then naturally progresses from supplier to partner. Matric Group, a world-class EMS provider, clearly embraces this new normal, and Vice

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