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86 SMT Magazine • August 2015 tHe essentIAl PIoneer's survIvAl GuIde remote external contractors would achieve the same levels of quality as the experienced in- house teams? Documentation related to inter- nal manufacturing practices were formalized into standards. Many of these started out as based on the internal individual company prac- tice. Two key principles of control were formed, one that the process operation and flow would conform which the OEM needed, and the other pertaining to data collection as proof of correct operation, which doubled as a quality assurance tool, although this latter case is less used than many would believe. This left EMS companies at the mercy of in- dividual customers, who would insist on their standard being adopted, but each standard was different, creating many different flows and op- erations that were difficult and costly to implement. Engineers, many of whom were now displaced from their original roles in manufac- turing, set out to create more general standards that would introduce uniformity to the industry. These were often based on areas of expertise, so, for example, standards specific to the automotive, aerospace, or medical indus- tries were created. Different standards bodies came into existence for each of the dif- ferent sectors, each holding, quite rightly in many cases, a different perspective on what requirements the standard should represent. This went some way toward easing the pressure on the communication of require- ments between OEM companies and their man- ufacturing partners. However, many outstand- ing variations in standards across sectors in the industry remain, and still many proprietary standards survive simply because no general standard can provide a complete description of their requirements. The role of a standard related to manufac- turing should define how the processes are to be set up and executed with appropriate docu- mentation, as well as to describe the capture, storage, and visibility of recorded data. This then involves the adoption and use of sophisti- cated information technology. Reading current standards makes it seem as though everything was being approached as a manual process, when actually, the description of many items is left quite open to interpretation. While this approach may perhaps be flexible so that no particular method of adoption is mandated, it means that the actions required to satisfy the standard are open to interpretation. Almost in- evitably, companies need to create internal spe- cialists who can understand the standards and can clearly explain how the key requirements have been achieved. Often, however, this is out- sourced to specialist consultants who provide a service of accreditation, which states that op- erations within the manufacturing process, re- cord keeping, and data collection are consistent with what the standard mandates. Standards often take many years to become fully understood to the degree that the majority of people using the standard agree on an in- terpretation. Industry bodies make a valiant effort to create the best standards that they can, but really, the standard of the standards from a customer per- spective is still quite poor. For example, traceability is often a key component of quality stan- dards across the whole industry. Traceability from different points of view can consist of any combina- tion of material traceability, product tracking, and process recording. Within material traceabil- ity, for example, there are issues of what is record- ed, how detailed it is, and how accurate it needs to be. Material traceability can mean the tracking of specific materials to a work-order, to a specifi- cally identified PCB within a work-order, or even to a specific component placement on that PCB. Material traceability may include all types of ma- terials, or perhaps only high value or safety criti- cal parts, or only serialized parts. It may include or exclude those parts replaced at repair stations, or the case where an alternative or substitute part has been used, and many more examples where DON'T ALLOW STANDARDS TO GET THE BETTER OF YOu continues reading current standards makes it seem as though everything was being approached as a manual process, when actually, the description of many items is left quite open to interpretation. " "

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