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16 SMT Magazine • August 2017 by Stephen Las Marias I-CONNECT007 For this month's issue of SMT Magazine, we spoke with Luis Ramirez, COO, and Dan Prina, project manager of Lean enterprises and con- tinuous improvement, at EMS firm MC Assem- bly to discuss the challenges of and strategies in improving the PCB assembly process from an EMS provider's perspective. We also spoke with Manncorp's Tom Beck, director of market- ing, and Chris Ellis, Eastern sales manager, to get their viewpoints on the subject as an equip- ment provider. "From my perspective, from a management standpoint, first and foremost, improvement is a philosophy, and whatever you're doing to- day there's always a better way to do it tomor- row. One of the biggest paradigms that we see across the industry is that one thing that may have worked in the past, we keep trying it and we keep trying it, and it may not work today because variables may have changed and the environment may have changed. That's one of the biggest paradigms that, from a manage- ment standpoint in manufacturing, we have to remove, because what worked in the past not necessarily is going to work in the future," ex- plains Ramirez. "For us, first we want to have a standard. We want to make sure that we part- ner with our suppliers of equipment and cre- ate standards so that we know when there is a problem, when there is an event that is outside a standard, it is easier to troubleshoot and easi- er to determine the root cause. Having said that, once you have a standard established, then you have to measure. You have to create a metric to understand whether or not you're meeting your expected output out of that standard. With that measurement, then you are able to provide re- al-time feedback. That's what drives a lot of the continuous improvement activities when we see trends. For example, when we look at the work that has been done in the previous day and we see a problem that keeps repeating that triggers a review, and triggers a team meeting or a kaizen event for the team to get together and figure out the root cause. What could be caus- ing the problem and then second, what actions we could implement to eliminate or minimize the problem." Ramirez notes that in today's world of elec- tronics, the PCBA real estate has become more and more critical. There are now a lot of low- FEATURE

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