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8 The PCB Magazine • March 2016 We all want to increase profits—even in our everyday private lives, right? Who wouldn't you like to increase his personal profit? But does it always happen? Unfortunately, no, but don't we wish! Often, especially in today's world, profit is considered a dirty word. How dare a company make a profit while paying me beans, or while charging me an outrageous sum? Or so the thinking goes. Of course, profitability is crucial to just about any business; without it, a private company wouldn't be in business very long. But in this tough, highly competitive industry of ours, how do you make that happen? Material costs squeeze from one side and your customers squeeze from the other. Are there strategies you haven't tried or don't know about? Yes, I believe there are. Naturally, we first wanted to hear your thoughts, so we conducted a survey. One of the first questions was, "What is your target percent- age of profit?" I must say, I was a bit surprised to see that some people were expecting a profit of more than 30% (well, maybe not in manufac- turing). But most were targeting 11–15%, which seems a bit more realistic. Then we asked another question: "What part of your process and business has the great- est impact on your profit?" We offered a few choices and left room for comments. The re- sults were not surprising—raw materials and labor were the biggest costs of doing business. However, we had some interesting responses in the "Other" column. Several respondents men- tioned software, and some mentioned taxes and fees. And a few brave ones brought up that dirty word—scrap. Clearly, our task was to get down to business and provide you with some good advice from this month's contributors (Figure 1). Steve Williams of The Right Approach Inc. leads us off with a case for reducing inspection as a means to profitability. His argument is that inspecting for quality does not work, and he has provided a little test for you to take to prove it. It may change your mind about inspection. Next, systems expert Dave Dibble furthers the cause for systems-based thinking and acting by recounting the true story of a company he worked with, and its remarkable double turn- around, from loss to profit, back to loss and then back again to profit. He shares his three by Patty Goldman i-connect007 Profiting from Advice patty's perspeCtive 8 The PCB Magazine • March 2016

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