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14 The PCB Design Magazine • November 2015 their fab prints. We have a handful of customers who often provide us with Gerbers that rarely match the fab print. It might be a non-plated hole on their fab print, but then their Gerber is plated, things of that nature. Our system allows employees to have access to the data to investigate any issues and prevent production hiccups. Brian Paper: We've put more emphasis on the netlist too, as far as ensuring that the custom- ers are providing us with that type of informa- tion. We just posted a whole blog post on what a netlist is, and why it's important. Garcia: With every customer being different, our biggest challenge is trying to educate them about what we need to successfully manufac- ture their project and why we need it. It's amaz- ing that even when some of our larger custom- ers put on a generic fab print, half of it doesn't apply to the actual board, and we need to get approval. We say, "Hey, can we deviate away from your fab print?" and they say, "Yeah, that shouldn't be there. Just ignore it." It definitely slows things down. We've really tried to auto- mate as much as possible from the minute we get Gerbers. Ucamco's Integr8tor is great software; five to six years ago we had a full-time employee who would analyze data and then give a report to the sales team. Now it's done in a matter of min- utes. You drop in Gerbers, and we're able to see the layer count, spacing and tracing, test points, drill hits, and all that real time data in a mat- ter of minutes. That's where we came up with InstantDFM, trying to give our growing online customer base that full access of checking their data, being able to make sure their data is clean, and everything looks right. Paper: At a high level too, a lot of what Stephen talked about we've actually tasked our account managers with starting the process. They're the ones that interface with the customers. We've actually given them quite a bit of responsibil- ity in terms of doing an initial check on the customer's data, ensuring that we've received everything we need to receive and there aren't any issues. They enter that information into our CRM system which triggers Planning to begin to process the job. But instructions are also automatically gen- erated for other departments all the way down the chain to Shipping. If there are special ship- ping instructions for that order or for that cus- tomer, all that gets transferred into a specific process card that the shipper has to sign off on. That way we ensure that all that informa- tion gets transferred. All of that is automated, but it starts with the account manager ensuring they're collecting the right information from the customer and entering it correctly. Matties: the old adage applies: good in, good out. or bad in, bad out. Paper: Exactly. What we have done is eliminat- ed input steps along the way so that there aren't multiple people collecting and inputting data. GOOD IN, GOOD OuT: BAY AREA CIRCuITS DISCuSSES DATA STRATEGIES Stephen Garcia, Bay Area Circuits president. feature interview

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