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50 SMT Magazine • October 2017 2. If this is the case, what is the remedy for electronic product assembly operations that are subject to the high side of this material cost dis- parity, for whatever reason? The remedy is to manufacture these components locally. We need to challenge the industry similarly to how we do to the re-shoring effort for assembling prod- ucts. So, regardless of the offshore material pric- ing motivations, this level of national vertical in- tegration would make the material price manip- ulation question moot. 3. Three questions require answers: a. Does this mean manufacturing electronic components in the States— resistors, capacitors, coils, inductors, ICs, etc.? b. Do we have an educational system to support this ground shaking shift in manufacturing thinking? c. Can we do this competitively? In order, the answers are: yes, no, and yes, if we can change the answer to the second ques - tion to "yes." All roads lead to education! "If your plan is for one year , plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children." —Confucius Forget about a planning horizon of one year. In today's Western, free-market business climate, one year is a long time. Unfortunately, in many cases, our totally near-term, profit-now culture obsesses almost exclusively on the results for the next quarter—stockholders demand it. In many cases, the investment community has become one of the traders—those who buy and sell with little regard for a company's long-term prospects. This pressure on management leads to a se - ries of decisions and actions that are not con- ducive to long-term success, just the near-term stock price. The mentality of, "We must ship," even if it means issuing a work order to build 1,100 units to be assured of getting 1,000 that pass functional test, so be it. So, in addition to building products, we be- come proficient in building bone yards. In our ardor to make the numbers, under- standing the root cause of a consistent yield loss—whether it be client induced (design) or production induced (statistically incapable or out of control of the assembly processes)—often gets relegated to the bottom of our production priority list. At the top of the list, unfortunately, is the mindset to keep the machines running— at all costs! However, with a properly educated workforce, the big data available on the production floor pro- vides an opportunity not only to do root cause defect analysis, but also to do it in real time. In some cases, corrective action can occur without the need for human intervention through meta- process control (sometimes called Factory 4.0). 5 It takes management virtue to resist the pres- sure imposed by this short-term thinking. In a way, it is analogous to the difference be- tween batch assembly—where product is pushed through the factory, and continuous flow man- ufacturing—where product is pulled through the factory. Virtue is required to transition one's thinking to acceptance of having production op- erators on the line who are idle while waiting for upstream work, rather than building as many units as possible at each work station and batch moving the work in process from one work sta - tion to the next. If you are a process engineer, the cost of the material for which you are developing an assem- bly process doesn't concern you. Why should it? As an individual, you are evaluated on assembly throughput (the sister of machine utilization) and yield. This mindset is a consequence of an organizational structure that can be likened to a field of silos—each silo is a department. "Hey, it's the procurement department's job to purchase the material, not mine!" This all changes if the organizational mod- el is product team-based (SMT Magazine columns December 2016 to March 2017), rather than de- partment-based. However, as an engineering student I was not educated in material purchasing. There was no class called "Material Procurement 101." How can I be concerned with something of which I have little knowledge? Looking back, wouldn't it have been an advantage for me to been taught about real world material procurement as part of my traditional Economics 101 class? 6 ANALYZING MATERIAL COST IN TODAY'S GLOBAL ECONOMY—HIT THE "PAUSE" BUTTON

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