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54 The PCB Design Magazine • April 2016 Most of the companies that we work with have in-house PCB design capabilities, and oc- casionally we encounter a potential customer who asks, "Why do I need to outsource my PCB design if I have in-house resources that do that?" Even if you have in-house designers, a close look at outsourcing PCB design is definitely war- ranted if you want to improve time-to-market, product quality and reliability, flexibility, cus- tomer satisfaction, or the bottom line. To be clear, PCB design represents the con- version of electronic schematic diagrams into sets of data that are then used to create fully developed, manufactured, assembled, tested, and qualified printed circuit boards. This to- tal PCB design process is also known as PCB layout. Two key elements must be considered in any improvement: PCB design capacity and PCB de- sign capability. PCB Design Capacity Resources: Are you getting the most out of your in-house electronic design talent? Some companies use an electronics design engineer (one who engineers the electronic design and creates the schematic) to also create the PCB de- sign. By subcontracting the PCB design to a quali- fied PCB design firm, you can free the electronic design engineer to focus purely on electronic design. By making this change, you will signifi- cantly increase the capacity of new product de- velopment at your company. Growth: Is your organization in a growth phase? Do you plan on entering one soon? Dur- ing a growth phase, companies will hire more PCB design talent to meet the demand. Unfor- tunately, PCB design talent is then dismissed after the growth phase has plateaued. This is disruptive to an organization and to design pro- fessionals. by Mark Tinkler vision circuits Outsourcing PCB Design: How it can Help guest coLumnist 54 The PCB Design Magazine • April 2016

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