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82 SMT Magazine • February 2017 1. Schedule periodic reviews to go over key metrics, manage exceptions and load- balance resources and respond to changing forecast of RFQ activity 2. Create alerts or escalations to notify the appropriate stakeholders the status of key metrics and challenges 3. Benchmark against goals and historical performance to understand the progress of your process 4. Regularly solicit input from key stakeholders on opportunities for improvement Act Based on metrics, exceptions and escala- tions, it may be necessary to make modifica- tions to the process. A few things to consider when making updates to a process: 1. Record the changes in all accompanying documentation, including training materials and forms 2. Be especially diligent in monitoring performance metrics after a process change to identify whether the change positively impacts business requirements 3. Ensure that the process change and the reason behind the process change are communicated to all stakeholders Setting standards and implementing system- atic processes can save companies time, provide consistency, and establish metrics to measure your continuous improvement. By expanding your implementation of the new ISO 9001 stan- dard into the RFQ process, you'll save time and win more of the right business. SMT Chintan Sutaria is founder and president of CalcuQuote, a RFQ management system for EMS companies. A lifelong veteran of electronics contract manufactur- ing, he has experience in PCB assembly, ERP implementation, and supply chain management. TAKING THE "PROCESS APPROACH" TO RFQS IN ELECTRONICS CONTRACT MANUFACTURING Do Depending on the size of the organization and number of steps involved in your RFQ pro- cess, quoting might involve multiple people across several departments, or it could be ver- tically integrated into a single individual that plays multiple roles. In either case, it is important to establish work instructions, templates, and tools to per- form the RFQ function adequately. Here are some things you may wish to implement: 1. Detailed procedures for quoting to streamline training of new team members 2. Risk assessment template with questions to evaluate all relevant criteria 3. Documentation standards which can be shared with the person who is request- ing the quote (including BOM formatting guidelines, Gerber file format, assembly drawing requirements, etc.) 4. Margin matrix: Turn qualitative inputs into a quantitative target margin range 5. Labor calculation template with researched and agreed-upon standard times and labor rates for activities 6. Glossary of common terms and phrases such as turn time, excess material, preferred supplier, available to ship 7. Bill of material (BOM) costing template to record quoted quantity requirements, required overages, and identification of materials at risk 8. Quote template communicating to end- customer price and turn-time commit- ments along with terms and conditions 9. Standardized RFQ template to capture relevant information from customer, including quantity, turn time, special build requirements, IPC standard, accompanying communications Check Once an RFQ process has been scoped and implemented, it is important to continue monitoring the effectiveness of the process. Re- viewing process performance should be built into the process definition and not treated as an ad-hoc activity. Here are a few ways you can do that:

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