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40 The PCB Magazine • March 2016 The typical part number startup for flex- ible circuits often can suffer from a number of those wastes. Certain waste items are specific to a part number (customer out of office, conflicts in documentation, iterative design conversa- tions, etc.) or be ingrained as accepted gaps in a supplier's product launch system. As part of a continuous improvement mentality, wastes should be identified for reduction through a documented and monitored part number intro- duction process. Some of the more common waste elements are: Transport: In a new part number intro- duction process (NPIP), transport is the move- ment of documentation (electronic or paper) from one department to another requiring suc- cessive reviews and sign-offs. Excess transport is a symptom of a departmentalized approach to part number start-up rather than a process flow approach. A cross-functional design review team with one leader can remove departmen- tal barriers and help assure that reviews and Many companies are familiar with lean manufacturing concepts and have successfully used these techniques to improve manufactur- ing processes. Lean techniques, while most of- ten used in printed circuit fabrication and as- sembly operations, can also be applied to non- manufacturing processes. One such process is new part number introduction (NPIP). The main thrust of lean manufacturing is to eliminate or reduce waste. There are typical- ly seven wastes (mudas), as defined by Toyota executive Taiicho Ohno, when he developed Toyota's Production System (TPS) [1] . ("Muda" is a Japanese word meaning uselessness, idle- ness or other synonyms of waste.) The seven mudas are: • Transport • Inventory • Motion • Waiting • Over-processing • Over-production • Defects by Dave Becker All Flex FlexiBle CirCuits llC Lean Manufacturing and NPIP for Flexible Circuits feature Column: all about flex 40 The PCB Magazine • March 2016

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