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54 The PCB Magazine • July 2015 Feature by Fred Long maTrix elecTroNics Introduction By the end of this article, I will have provided a guideline to help you achieve supply chain management success. But first, let's walk through the key components and issues re- garding this challenge. Along the way, we will offer some suggestions and ac- tion items mostly for customers to store in their memory banks. After all, the custom- er is the one we need to satisfy. I recently spent some sales road time with a Midwest distributor of PCB supplies. During the two-hour drive to a customer's plant, we dis- cussed our beginnings in the industry. My dis- tributor companion told me that he started as a teenager and his father immediately put him on the road to deliver product directly to any customer that needed it—rush! He would set out and arrive at the customer's loading dock or receiving area to be met by a plant employee who was usually waiting for him. Today, many years later, he still visits the same area accounts in one capacity or another and everyone knows him by name and trusts him. This, quite simply, is customer service. The phrase can be stated two ways: custom- er service or service the customer. Either way it is one of the life forces of a successful business. The Keys to Success for Supply Chain Management This concept not only begins a supply chain but stays through- out—to the very end. This article will explain key partner relation- ships and how they must work to gain each other's confidence. Each of us are so concerned and focused on our own needs that many times we forget to be aware of the goal and maybe even the oth- er side's, shall we say, anxieties. The more we know about each other, the better. Key Issue: The Product and the Supplier When it comes to results, the most impor- tant requirement is the product. When a dis- tributor is awarded a tier one product from a tier one supplier, 50% of the goal has been ac- complished. The remaining 50% is now up to the distributor to minimize all the remaining obstacles along the supply chain path and get that product to the customer on time. The first endeavor is to start with certainty. In my former manufacturing world, if we start- ed to make a printed circuit board with a defec- tive phototool or database it was the beginning of wasted costs and hard times ahead. In our

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