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18 The PCB Design Magazine • July 2015 An Update on the Rogers Material Supply Line by Barry Matties i-ConneCT007 As part of a recent I-Connect007 supply chain survey, we found that RF laminate mate- rial can be very difficult to obtain. Rogers Cor- poration was named specifically in our survey as one supplier with a limited amount of mate- rial available. In fact, their delivery time was re- ported as being as high as 55 days for some ma- terials at one point. In an industry where quick turnaround time is critical, this is one supply line that killed any hope of being quick. Because Rogers was noted by name in our findings, we decided to go to them to learn about the current situation, and the short an- swer is that there has been improvement on de- livery lead time with the promise of continued improvement. The following interview is with John Pavlak, the director of global operations at Rogers Cor- poration. Barry Matties: John, can you please give us an idea of what happened to your supply line and ex- plain what you are doing to improve. Pavlak: I can give you the story as I know it from my two years so far at Rogers. When I started in mid-2013, we had a plan to increase capacity because our market intelligence said that there was significant demand coming and it was primarily tied to the China 4G roll-out. The only difference between our plan and what actually happened, the 4G roll-out actually came in sooner than our original marketing in- telligence. Fortunately, we had already kicked off projects to increase our global capacity. The challenge was that those were long lead-time and very expensive projects. We've invested more than $30 million in the past three years into global capacity projects. We had ourselves locked in tightly with dif- ferent OEMs and fabricators, but the wave of de- mand came sooner than expected, so we spent the latter half of 2013, and almost all of 2014, working very hard to increase capacity in other ways before that additional capacity came on- line. Every one of our locations in the global re- gions added capacity through internal improve- ments on throughput and figured out how to get more lamination press loads per week. All of our teams pushed very hard and each of the re- gions were able to demonstrate at least another 20% of additional capacity, even without the new equipment. We did everything we could internally to turn the screws to give ourselves more capacity. In the past, we would let our different regions control how they would prioritize orders to our customers, but because we were capacity-con- strained and our volumes were above capacity, and we knew that was going to extend for a period of time, we actually went into a capacity allocation mode. We decided on how to allocate globally, so we improved our response time to a lot of our largest customers by prioritizing and setting aside lamination press loads for them, so they knew they had those to count on. Even feature

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