Archive for category Opinion

10 Things Great Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) Companies Do

dan-5The most important space in electronics these days is contract manufacturing. As more of our OEM’s become innovation, and marketing companies, they look to the contract manufacturers to build their products. Just about every company from Apple, to Intel, has yielded the manufacturing of their products to contract manufacturers. And, it is often the company with the best price who wins the order, thus creating a very competitive marketplace.

With CM’s, or to be more specific, in this case EMS companies, who deal with electronic manufacturing, its becomes more important than ever to be able to stand out from the rest of the crowd. In fact, it is vital that with so many EMS companies out there vying for business that if a company wants to be truly successful it has to come up with ways to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. The question becomes how to do this. How to represent your company as a truly outstanding company, the company of choice, when OEMs are deciding who to partner with.

With that in mind here are ten things that EMS companies can do to be truly outstanding in their market place.

  1. Get your name out there: There are over one thousand contract manufacturers in North America alone, and all but a handful of them are unknown. There are literally hundreds of companies with annual revenues under ten million dollars. If you want to stand out and be noticed, you have to develop a marketing and branding plan. You must create your own unique story and get it out to your market place. It is very difficult for people to buy from you if they cannot find you. Develop and implement and good marketing and branding plan. It will be your first step to success
  2. Be an expert: Decide what you are good at. Determine your niche market, and then sell to that market. Analyze what you do best. What types of companies do you serve best? Why are you so successful serving these companies? List the qualities that make you successful in this market and then build your marketing are that area of expertise.
  3. Get the quote out fast: I know it is not always necessary, but, more often than not, it is vital to get your quote to the customer as quickly as possible. Your quote package is the first product your customers see. That quote package reflects directly on how you do business, so make sure it is perfect and ahead of schedule.
  4. Be flexible: Be easy to work with. Do what your customer requires. Always keep in mind that as a CM you do not have your own products, so you are in the business of delighting your customers…whatever that takes!
  5. Be customer focused: Everything you do is for that customer. You would not be in business without that customer. So, make sure that the customer is in the forefront of everything you do in your own company.
  6. Know your customer: You are getting married to these customers, and you are delivering their baby, their product, so you must know everything about them, their product, and their market and what it takes for them to be successful. Much more than a vendor customer relationship, as their CM you are their partner in business, so you need to use this premise as a baseline for everything you do.
  7. Listen to your customer: Part of being customer focused and knowing everything you can about your customer, is listening to that customer. You are building her product the way she wants it done and the only way to do that is to listen to her when she tells you the way she wants it done. This is “the customer is always right” on steroids.
  8. Create cooperative teams: To have an ongoing, successful relationship with your customers you have to create cooperative teams between your two companies. Each team should have matching key people from both companies, including quality, engineering, production as well as sales and purchasing and program management. To be successful insist on bi-company teams leading both your companies to success.
  9. Be ready to partner: Partnership is key. Not only a partnership with your customers but also with your vendors and in some cases a partnership with companies that can do what yours cannot such as an offshore company that can handle much larger volume at a much more competitive price. Or a company that can do quick turn prototypes while you only do production.
  10. Let your customer speak for you: That’s right, a happy customer is your best sales tool. Nobody has more credibility than one of you customers. Work on getting testimonials, success stories and references from your happy customers. Of course, you have to make them happy first!

And one more…always under promise, and over deliver, make your customers, customers for life. Don’t look at their worth as one project at a time but rather look at lifetime worth of business. It is much easier to retain and grow current customers than to keep finding new ones. It’s only common sense.


Leave a comment

Does Your Plant Look As Good As You Think It Does?

dan-6It’s all of those little things that make a big difference

How good do you think your company is? How do you think you’re doing? What do you do well? What do you need to work on? What do you people think when they walk into your lobby?

These are questions you should be asking yourself at all times. You should be constantly thinking about your company how it presents itself to the outside world; what it looks like when you walk through it; what it sounds like when you call in. Does your company appear to be a well-run lucrative company or does it look like a company on its last legs ready to go out of business?

Then you have to consider what you want your company to be. What do you want to look like to your customers?

Walk into your lobby: What does that look like? Is it clean and welcoming? Is there a live person there waiting to help you? If you must have some sort on contact system make sure it is apparent, effective and easy to use. I have been in a couple of companies lately who are using an I-Pad on a stand to connect you with the person you want to see. If you’re going to have system instead of a person this is by far the least of all evils

Make sure the lobby is well lit and well painted and clean. It is after all the face of your company. Make sure your magazines are new. What do you think a ten your old copy of Circuitree says about your company?

The same with plaques and awards unless it’s the Noble Prize for Technology don’t display awards that are more than ten years old! No one will be impressed with an award for your work on The Minute Man Missile program,

You want your company to look good, sharp and up to date.

This is not a money thing; paint does not cost a fortune, clean floors look great and don’t cost anything but a little soap and elbow grease…and don’t get me going about those restrooms. I once talked to a Quality auditor for a large OEM who told me the first places he looked when he surveyed a company were the restrooms. He told me that was the most telling place in the factory when it came to indicating how the company was run… really!

So now here is a list of seven things you can do to make your company look fresh, modern and well run:

  1. The lobby of course we just talked about that. Make sure it is well lit, freshly painted, has modern comfortable furniture and up to date awards and samples of your product. Remember that your customers and your vendors will spend a lot of time with nothing to do but study your lobby.
  2. Those restrooms. They have to be spotless. Not just for your visitors but for your own employees as well. Sloppy restrooms indicate a lack of caring, that’s all there is to it, no argument.
  3. Hallways should always be clean, the floors should shine and you have windows that look into the various departments they should be as clean as that proverbial whistle.
  4. All departments from the drill room to lamination to inspection have to be neat and orderly. Everything in its place. Shelves and racks neat and well organized. They should reflect the look of a craftsman’s workshop.
  5. The same applies to the offices. Desks should be clean and organized and look like people who know what they’re doing work there. I don’t want to hear any excuses from that slob who says he knows where everything is despite the mess. Take my word for it he does not. Oh and make sure that the calendars are turned to the right month….never mind the right year! Or the right decade? I’ve seen that before.
  6. How about the front lawn? Let’s not forget that. Make sure that everything in front of your company looks great. That shrubs are shaped and the lawn is mowed. By the way things should look great all around the building especially shipping and receiving. I once visited a company that had four wet mattresses on the ground in front of the loading dock those mattresses completely destroyed that company’s image.
  7. Make sure all your lights work inside and out. You don’t want any dead light bulbs and forget that energy saving every other light bulb missing crap…you look like you’re going out of business.
  8. And one more. Always under promise and over deliver. Make sure your equipment is all up to date and taken care of. There is nothing that gives better impression than well-maintained equipment.

There you have it. Now it’s time for you to take that walk. Look around and see what your place looks like. What do you see? Does it look fresh and clean and new and well organized? Does it look like the people who work there care about what they do? More important does it look like the people who work there know what they’re doing? If the answer to these questions is yes then you’re on the right path to success. It’s only common sense.

Leave a comment

PCB Vendors vs Customers: This Is What We Do About It


Two weeks ago, we talked about PCB customers who were not happy with their vendor’s performance and last week we talked took things from the other side of the issue and talked about why PCB fabricators have a hard time being good and productive suppliers (both articles can be accessed by scrolling to the bottom of this page). Both sides had a lot of complaints about the other side and not much good or productive to say about each other. So, this week in the interested of seeing a problem and solving it, we are going to talk about what we should do about it. What needs to be done.

Here are seven things that we have to do to improve the PCB vendor / customer relationship to make it as productive and yes as rewarding as possible:

  1. Choose suppliers you trust: and the only way to trust them is to know them personally. Get off line right now and get your top PCB supplier on the phone and talk to her.
  2. Visit that supplier. Go and see the people who are making your boards. See what their facility looks like, see for yourself how difficult it is to build boards, your boards, and most importantly talk to the people. Learn everything you can about their company and the way they work and ask them what you can do to make sure they have everything they need to build your boards correctly.
  3. Create a co-company team. This is the most important advice I can give you. Vendors and customers need to create partnership teams where they openly discuss the projects they are working on today and the projects they will be working on in the future. Get all those NDA’s signed in preparation for good open and productive discussions about your products and how as a team you can work together to a successful end.
  4. Bring in key people: Make sure key people from each company are on these teams, including engineers, pcb designers, operations, and quality people.
  5. Use fewer vendors: Because this takes time and effort on both sides, maybe a little more on the vendors’ side, at least more effort than is being expended now it is important to choose your venders carefully, if you follow these guidelines you will need fewer vendors because through these concerted efforts you will be investing time and money into developing a vendor base of key board fabricators who will be able to handle all your needs. The pcb fabricator will be able to develop special and unique processes just for you. And with your cooperation they will become the supplier you have always wanted to work with.
  6. Talk about the future: Once you have found the right pcb vendors and have created partnerships with those vendors, you will have the comfort and trust in them to be able to share key information about your company and some of the products of the future you are going to be building. By having the trusted pcb manufacturer as your partner you will gain valuable inside into his perspective that in the end will help you design the best and most economical PCBs possible. Your PCB partner will be able to advise you in laminate selections and design for manufacturability. This will save you literally thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run.
  7. Fabricators: trust your customers: Get rid of that “we have met the enemy and it’s our customers mentality”. A good and effective and open partnership with your key customers will make you a much better fabricator in the end. Your customer will actually drive your technology to a higher level. Just by listening to what your customers need you will be able to implement technologies and services that will make you a much better supplier not only to that particular customer, but other similar customers as well. You will be raising your overall level of excellence as a great PCB supplier

And yes, one more, under promise and over deliver. Customers…Vendors… treat each other with respect. Create an atmosphere of regard from one another. Face facts your need each other to make this all work do the sooner you understand and undertake this attitude the sooner everything will get better.

Many of you (customers) are building products of the future. Products that require PCB technology far beyond the normal technology of today; and you are heading in a direction that is going to require PCB technology that we could only dream about just a few years ago. PCBs of this technology level cannot be bought inconspicuously on line. They cannot be bought from a faceless unknown source. They can only be bought from people you know. People whose capabilities you understand and people who in turn completely understand your specific high tech needs both today and in the future. So for heaven’s sake, start talking to each other! Its only common sense.

Leave a comment

The Other Side Of The Story

dan21We ended last week’s column with a group of designers from a high-tech company asking me the ignoble question, “Why do all PCB shops suck?” And, I promised, I would not only address that question but also explain why there are two sides to that story.

First, let me say that the designers who asked me the question work for a company that builds innovative products of the future, that fact is vitally important to this story.

Now I will tell you what I told them.

For the most part board shops are trying to do the best they can with what they have. But the problem lies in the fact that most of our customers are now making a concerted effort not, and I repeat not, to talk to us. All sorts of barriers have been created to keep board shop representatives, engineers, and quality experts from talking to anyone at your companies:

  • You get furious if a CAM person from a board shop asks too many questions about your design. In fact, some designers have been told to never listen to anybody at a board shop telling these designers that they are in charge and the people at board shops don’t know anything. Tell them to shut up and build it the way you designed it.
  • You have created such a barrier ridden bureaucracy that it is almost impossible to get through to you to have a decent conversation about your board needs today and in the future.
  • You have found middle men purchasing systems like Exostar which contribute nothing but “gorilla dust” to the vendor customer relationship. Thus, making it near impossible for the vendor to talk to the customer.
  • In fact, some of the larger companies have created such a barrier-ridden bureaucracy that their own engineers avoid going through the “proper channels” when they need to buy prototypes or proof of design boards, preferring instead to use online board buying services and their credit cards, thus circumventing the clumsy purchasing system completely.
  • Part of your purchasing strategy is to “commoditize” the PCBs to the point where you feel comfortable saying that all shops are alike, so you just got the cheapest one, justifying your decision to use sub-par vendors who probably really do suck.
  • You would rather listen to your suppliers who will work with you to spec in something, (laminates for example) without even talking the board shop who will have to process boards with that new product without knowing or even caring if that product might be impossible to process in a normal board house.
  • You play fast and loose with your qualification expectations creating a double standard for the Asian board houses versus American board houses
  • You subscribe to the theory that board shops, particularly American board shops, are making too much money, so you must beat the ever-loving crap out of them to get prices as close to offshore prices as possible. And then you wonder why they can’t afford to buy that LDI or Laser drill that they are going to need to build your boards of the future.
  • And in the case of this particular company, remember them? The one who asked me the question in the first place, you are building products of the future with technology that no one has ever seen before, yet you are discouraged from having any communications whatsoever with the people who are going to be building your boards. So that the first time they ever see these requirements is when you send them the quote. And then expect those boards quoted in one hour, and please no questions asked!

Once upon a time companies talked to one another. They worked in partnership; vendors and customers working hand in hand to develop processes to build innovative technology boards that had never been built before. Companies like Martin Marietta, Lockheed Sanders, Raytheon, and others used to send teams of experts into board shops for weeks at a time to work with the board shop’s teams to find ways to build boards out of everything from LMR Kevlar, to Copper Molybdenum to Copper Invar Copper to Thermount, boards that would go into programs like Tomahawk, Lantern D-Smack and Trident. And these teams would stick to it until they developed a process and got the boards right. That’s how things got done.

Now our customers won’t even allow sales people to enter their building. Customers won’t even pick up the phone when a vendor calls with a question or an idea, never mind allow that vendor to talk to their technical people.

Some of the top companies in this country, companies building products of tomorrow have people engineering and designing those products, who have never even been in PCB shop and because of that have no idea how a board is processed.

These then, are all contributing factors to why board shops suck.

I hope that someday our customers, and yes, our vendors will get it. Someday they will realize that PCBs are much more technologically challenging than they like to believe and that there will be a new-found understanding that a twenty-eight layer blind and buried via printed circuit board is not a commodity. That today’s high-tech circuit boards are very sophisticated and not easy to build, especially in the 72 hours or less you give them to get them built. Its only common sense.

Leave a comment

A Frustrated PCB Customer Speaks Out

dan-6I recently got an e-mail from a good friend of mine. He has been in the industry even longer than I have, and that’s a really long time. He works for one of the most high-end defense and aerospace companies in the world. His company has also used their technology base to branch out and get involved in other high-tech marketplaces such as very sophisticated medical electronics.

He writes, and I quote:

“I hesitate (slightly) to complain but here goes on two fronts.

My company has to use domestic suppliers for a lot of our products and that is getting more difficult all the time. Our technology is getting so sophisticated that we can no longer use domestic suppliers.

Many people still think that PCBs for defense and aerospace products are simple technology with fat lines and thick boards, but that is no longer the case. New defense and aerospace products require higher technology, not to mention the fact that we have also branched out to bio-medical, chip-scale interposers, and a lot of other technologies, albeit in small volumes. All requirements we cannot get here domestically. Or we can get it domestically but not in a reasonable time frame. Nowadays we have 25-micron lines and spaces. Our target is 75-micron laser vias, thin dielectrics, and other small features. Swiss operations have supplied us with interposers and that will increase. We are NOT designing our own components but we are using commercially available fine-pitch devices. BGAs down to .5mm are now common for us, .3 mm pitch more so, and we are approaching much finer design pitches. But that all-important board on which that finer pitch BGA must be mounted will not come from this country… sadly.

What has happened to common sense?  I have tried to treat others as I want to be treated and I know that the board industry is suffering, but for pity’s sake, why do I have to call and ask, “where is my stuff?”. If it were just one board shop, I would say good riddance, and move on.  But, it is almost universal among our supplier base, that late deliveries only get discovered when we ask. Again, what the heck?? With the continued decline of the supplier base, one would think that customer service would get better. So, why not?

One former supplier’s rep was not even allowed to attend daily production meetings so she was rarely informed about part status causing delays in responses. What?? The work that our company now undertakes is not the long lead stuff of the past. We need 5 days turns on 10 layers, we need 20 days on 12 layers with Microvias with buried vias. Our domestic suppliers are happy to quote these requirements, but once we place the order, we almost never get the boards on time…if at all, thus leaving us with loaded pick and place machines and people standing by wasting time and money.

I am a little sad that the industry is where it is. It could improve but I’m not seeing it; and just keeping on the same path is not a long-term proposition for success. Being an optimist, I have some hope with some newly discovered suppliers and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that communications with them will not turn adversarial as they often have with our long-term suppliers adversarial.”

Just to be clear, this friend is part of a very good company, a well-known company, one that all high-tech board shops would be thrilled to count as their customer. He has been in the industry a very long time and is now ready to retire or as he calls it “re-purpose” his life. It’s sad that he will leave with this impression of our industry, an industry he has been an integral part of most of his life.

Please note that much of what he is complaining is the lack of good business practices, like open communications, telling the truth when making a commitment and then sticking to that commitment. Letting him know when a board is going to be late. These are things we have been talking about for years and yet we still have not learned how to do them right.

Personally, I still find myself arguing with some of the companies I work with about these things. I once had an ongoing argument with one of my clients about the importance of on-time delivery. He did not see the importance on delivering his boards on time. He even went so far as to tell me that his customers were not complaining so it wasn’t hurting his business, He was right for a while, the customers did not complain…they just walked away quietly without making a fuss. Apparently, they did complain, but with their feet, not their voice.

And sad to say, my friend and his company are not alone. I hear these kinds of stories of frustration about our board shops all the time. I was once invited to a meeting of designers working for another famous high-tech company building products of the future. Once everyone had been seated and the introductions done, the first question from the design department manager to me was. “Dan, can you tell us why all board shops suck?” Next week we’ll talk about what I told him, because like every other story this one has two sides. It’s only common sense.

Leave a comment

Marketing Your Contract Manufacturing Company

Dan 8Does anybody know your name?

Unlike PCB shops where there are now less than 200 left in North America, there are well over 1000 contract manufacturers of all shapes and sizes. Everyone knows the big guys from Celestica, to Flextronics, to Sanmina to Plexus all of them doing hundreds of millions to billions of dollars, but what about all the others? Most of them are under twenty million dollars and many of those are under ten million. There is nothing wrong with this, most of these companies are very good, very well-run companies.

But the true problem lies in the sheer numbers, there are so many of them that it’s hard to tell one from the other. There are very few of these companies that can be identified by more than a handful of companies who, work directly with them, which is the very reason today’s contract manufacturers need to develop and implement their own ongoing marketing and branding plan.

I say “implement”, because that really is the key to any good plan, especially a marketing plan. Here are the more basic steps to developing and implementing your own customized marketing and branding plan:

  1. Tell your story: This is where it all starts. What is your company’s story, when you did you get started? Who started the business and why was it started? What is the company’s mission and vision? Talk about some of the history. This will be the foundation of all your marketing. It is also helpful for your own team to have a good understanding of the company that are part of.
  2. What are you good at? What separates your company from the rest of the pack? This is sometimes called your unique value proposition. What is your forte? What do your customers like about you? Why do they keep coming back?
  3. Who is your ideal customer and why? Speaking of customers, who is your best customer? Why are they your best customer? What markets are they in? Develop an ideal customer profile and use it as a template when going after other customers. These are the customers and markets you should pursue.
  4. Getting the word out: Now we get down to it. You know what your company is good at, you know what customers and markets you want to pursue, now it’s time to put your marketing together and get your message out there to the right companies. Done right, this can be very effective and will not cost you much money at all, in fact, you can do it yourself if you want. The first thing to know is that marketing is a mosaic and all the marketing options listed below are the tiles making up the mosaic. It’s up to you to decide what you want your marketing mosaic to look like based on which of these, “tiles” you decide to use. Here are three of the most important “tiles” to use in your marketing mosaic.
  5. Interviews: This is your chance to tell your story. You can be interviewed by one of the trade magazines like this one I-Connect 007, which offers all types of interviews from print, to audio, to even video. They will give you the opportunity to talk about our self and your company. Your story makes a great cornerstone for your marketing because as in the case of I-Connect your story is put in front of their thousands of readers, and once it has been published, you can use it for your own marketing and social media. You can put the interview on your web site and your newsletters. You can send the link to your customers. You give it to your sales team for them to send it to customers. If its print interview, you can have it reprinted in a glossy magazine style format complete with photos and use it as a hand out. All very effective and powerful ways to market your company.
  6. Press releases: Please send out press releases about everything that happens at your company; from hiring a new sales person, or general manager to buying a new piece of equipment, to updating your technology. Press releases are a great way to keep your name out there. And just like everything else you can re-purpose your press releases through your own marketing and social media once they have been published in the trades.
  7. Newsletters/ technical bulletins: This is the very best way to get your name out there to the right people. But this is not a “It’s Sally’s birthday!” newsletter. The best newsletters are filled with content that is valuable and appealing to your customers. Each newsletter should contain:
  8. A president’s message that highlights what has been going on at the company as well as what is contained in this issue.
  9. Anything you had had published since the last newsletter.
  10. Some helpful technology tips that will help your customers
  11. A special call to action

The newsletter will go out to your entire customer base and will serve as a valuable “touch” to those customers once again keeping your company’s name and services in front of the right people.

And yes, in the spirit of under promising and over delivering, there is one more “tile”,and that’s social media. Don’t groan! It’s about time you went there. Linkedin and Twitter are the most useful and powerful forms of business social media right now. Stop bragging about the fact that you don’t even know what Twitter is anymore, it’s no longer cool to do that and sorry but you’re showing your age. There are many books and seminars on social media today so it’s for you to get on board very quickly. My friend Bruce Johnston ( is one of the world’s leaders in LinkedIn and he offers excellent training courses for you and your team to learn how to use LinkedIn effectively. The good news is that everything you do as part of your marketing plan can be re-purposed via social media reaching many more people and reaching them very quickly

One last thing to remember, and it’s worth restating, marketing is a mosaic and you should develop a complete annual schedule of the marketing you are going to be doing for the next year, month by month, quarter by quarter so that you will always know where you are going by following this time-lined road map. And by the way I have a great sample marketing plan I can send you if you contact me.

So please, start working at getting your name out there. You are competing with over one thousand other companies and in the end the true winners are going to be those who marketed the smartest and yes, the loudest. It’s only common sense.

Leave a comment

Better Relationships With Your PCB Vendors Will Yield Better Boards

dan-5We have talked a lot in this column about how board shops should treat their customers. How they should try to get to know their customers and their needs. So now let’s switch things around and talk about how customers should treat board shops, how they should work with board shops to get the best products and the best performances out of them.

For years now we have been talking about the new way of doing business. We have discussed things like what I call the “gray market” where companies like to buy their PCBs on line without ever having to talk to anyone, which by the way I consider the ultimate step in the commoditizing of the printed circuit board as a product. The trend in the electronics market has been to trivialize the circuit board to the point where the technology is considered pedestrian, repeatable and in some cases not even worthy of its own ITAR protection.

Companies can buy boards off web sites with a computer and a credit card without ever having to talk to anyone.

The sales people I work with find themselves overwhelmed with frustration caught between a rock and a hard place with their management whipping (yours truly included) them to get out there and visit those customers. Meet with them face to face; while those wily customers do everything they can to make sure that doesn’t ever happen, putting up barriers made of anything they can imagine to keep those sales people from seeing them face to face and in person. And that’s just the buyer, forget the chance of ever seeing anyone from the rest of the project team.

In short the relationship between the board shops and their customers is now virtually (no pun intended) non-existent.

And that spells trouble. Big trouble. All business is about people, people talking to each other, people understanding each other and yes people caring about each other. And now that has been lost. People are not talking to each other…pretty much never.

So where does that leave us? It leaves us to where we are today when we have the biggest gap between the people who design and engineer the end product and the people who build the boards that go into that product so that now the people building the board have nothing more to go on than what they are asked to build actually; just what is in front of them. They are operating in a vacuum.

In the old days, back in the days before the internet these people used to talk to one another. The customer’s project team would visit the board house or vice versa or both and then they would discuss the project. Then the customer would talk about the project in detail with her vendor. He would explain what they were doing, she would explain why the boards needed to be the way they needed to be and make sure that the people building the board understood why the board needed to be the way it needed to be. In these meetings the board guys would get a good understanding of what their boards were going into and why certain parameters were extremely critical. They would be exposed to the whole picture to the point where the customer’s call outs would make sense to them. And yes often around that meeting table ideas would be exchanged. The board guys could and did come up with suggestions and improvements for making the board a more effective component of the end product as well as more easily manufacturable and yes often, surprisingly often, less expensive.

And then through this process another thing would happen. The teams, the customers and the fabricators would bond, they would start becoming one team, real partners to the point that they were all working on the same project with the same goal in mind, the success of that project. They would become brothers and sisters in arms working for one common goal. This of course would cause them to be open and honest with another. People from both sides of the relationship would get to know each other. The company to company relationship would far exceed the buyer to salesperson only relationship (if you want to call it that) we have today. The teams would get to know each other all of them from engineers to the quality people to program managers they would work on the project together. If the boards were particularly difficult and the shop was having a hard time building them; their customer, their partner would send their team in and they would work side by side solving the problems and thus successfully producing good boards…together….as a team.

Now the irony is that today our end products are more sophisticated than ever. The PCBs to go into those products are more complicated than ever but now we have no partnerships. People in both companies seldom if ever talk to each other never mind actually meet. This has got to change. We have to go back to those pre-internet days where people met, discussed, came up with common solutions and goals, got to know and trust each other and work together building the products of tomorrow. As an old PCB guy I am looking right at you our customers right now and saying clearly and in plain English. “Dear customers we can’t do it without you. Come and visit us, Let us visit you, come and get to know us, come on let’s work together on making your products better than they have ever been.”

Stay tuned as in future columns we’ll talk about the specific steps we have to take to develop those partnership; steps that will make both of us better together than we can ever hope to be apart, the way things are going now. So check in with me next week and we’ll go there…together. It’s only common sense.

Leave a comment