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52 SMT Magazine • July 2015 Benefits and return on investment (ROI) are not as black-and-white as you might think, and as engineers would like them to be. The reality is that even tangible reductions in cost may not be realized unless enabling factors are in place that allow savings to happen. For ex- ample, if an operator's time in a certain position is reduced by half, that leaves the other half of the operator's work that must be done, which means that the full reduction in the worker's time can only be realized if the remainder work can be reliably redistributed across other operators. For an increase in productivity to bring significant change to the bottom-line of a manufacturing business, there must also be the opportunity to increase the business vol - ume to fill the gap. Thus, the intangible side of this equation is scrutinized more as the tan- gible side diminishes. The good news is that control and manage- ment software for SMT/PCB assembly manufac- turing provide different sources of benefit, from which engineers can usually find just a single tangible return that can be enough to justify the purchase of a sophisticated system. How- ever, focus on the vast majority of the rest of the system may be lost. This risk might not be thought through, adding tangible burdens and costs to the other areas of the operation rather than benefits. After installation of a new sys- tem, these effects can blow away the benefits that were identified as part of the ROI justifica- tion. After many cycles of this experience have occurred already in most PCB assembly manu- facturing companies, people are realizing that innovation and investment in new systems may affect them in ways that are less than op- timum, resulting in certain groups within the organization resisting pretty much every major innovation. The real problem is that they often are not wrong. Now, along comes Industry 4.0, which, whether fully and properly understood or not, will certainly trigger a significant amount of by Michael Ford MEnTor grApHiCS vAlor DiviSion THE ESSENTIAl PIONEER'S SuRVIVAl GuIDE Industry 4.0: Who Benefits? Column

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