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12 The PCB Magazine • March 2016 "We strive to decide our own fate. We act with self-reliance, trusting in our own abilities. We accept responsibility for our conduct and for maintaining and improving the skills that enable us to produce added value." –Excerpt from Toyota Motor Corporation's internal document, "The Toyota Way" Wrong-Headed Thinking The opening quote captures the values and ideals of Taiichi Ohno, one of the inventors of the Toyota Way tasked with transforming Toy- ota into the world-class manufacturing enter- prise that it is today. Some of my columns may sound like a broken record to my readers re- garding best practices/Lean as a "be-all, end-all" to every problem a company can have. It may surprise you that I strongly disagree with that; Lean certainly has limitations and does not play particularly well in high-mix, low-volume (HMLV) operations like PCB manufacturing. That being said, what I do believe is that there are very few problems that cannot be helped with a thoughtful, selective application of best practice tools appropriate to the situation. Unfortunately, one of the first reactions to a process problem with many companies, espe- cially in a very complicated operation like PCB manufacturing, is to throw more inspectors at it. This knee-jerk reaction has a triple impact on profits: 1. Inspection by definition is a non- value-add reactive process. 2. Inspection doesn't address the root cause of the issue and assures it will resurface at some point. 3. Inspection is not effective. by Steve Williams ThE RIGhT APPRoACh ConsulTInG llC Increase Profits by Minimizing Inspection feature Column: the right approaCh 12 The PCB Magazine • March 2016

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