If you are shipping products from China, underestimating the importance of understanding supplier logistics can come at great peril. Anyone that's been to mainland China has seen some things that probably made you double take in disbelief. You get off the plane, sitting in the backseat of your suppliers van, most likely jet lagged, and you look out the window to see a bicycle comically overloaded with packages. Once you realize what you're looking at, the first thing you’re probably thinking is I’m really glad my stuff doesn’t get shipped that way. But can you really be sure?
All companies judge themselves on simple things like revenue, expenses, and income. Most manufacturing companies measure even more metrics like capacity utilization, yield, inventory turns, and on-time delivery. All of which are very important to ensure that business is profitable.
We find that return merchandise authorizations (RMAs) are a powerful statement of a customer’s level of dissatisfaction. RMAs can offer evidence if a manufacturing process fell short of its goal, there was a lack of communication throughout processes, or even misdiagnosed a problem. In any case, we stand behind our product and are ready to support our customer.
Over the course of the last 10 years, e-commerce has gone from something that very few people did to something that is part of our everyday lives. The rise in e-commerce has made many of our lives easier and more productive. The unseen side effect for most people is the strain that this dramatic increase of the “casual shipper” has caused to the existing Air Freight model. With companies like Amazon and Apple leveraging their supply chain management to get product to the U.S. in as little as 2-day standard shipping, it highlights the importance of your suppliers’ relationships with their freight suppliers. Hopefully this gives you insight of why freight supplier management is critical to growing your business.
Business-to-business (B2B) is now more competitive than ever. Remaining competitive in the electronics manufacturing industry requires businesses to change, adapt, and improve. But, there are many barriers to improvement. How does your organization solve problems and drive improvements?
In 1999 there were over 1,200 active printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing facilities in the U.S. Today, there are fewer than 130. What has transpired at a lot of these manufacturing companies are small service businesses that act as a liaison between a manufacturer and their customers. In many instances, this is a valuable relationship; the products are low in technology and the risk is very minimal. However, why is it that we require ISO certification for our manufacturing locations but not for service providers?
Two years ago I wrote about why printed circuit board (PCB) shops in North America were continuing to close. Now, in the last two weeks, we have seen two more shops (Dynamic & Proto and ITO Industries) cease their manufacturing operations.
As the former owner and operator of three domestic PCB facilities, I can sympathize with the management and the loyal employees that tried to make the company successful. However, much of the damage is self-inflicted as I previously discussed so rather than rehash past information I wanted to discuss some of the attributes that every customer should look for in their US PCB manufacturer.
In 2016 there were ten printed circuit board (PCB) factories that closed in the United States, including some highly sophisticated shops that were part of the TTM/Viasystems merger. Having been involved in the closing and transfer of part numbers for fifteen PCB facilities in the past twelve years, we have some first-hand advice as to how you can best minimize the risk as you change suppliers.
Epec Engineered Technologies is one of the oldest printed circuit board companies in the U.S., building PCBs since 1952. Epec is one of the founding members of the Institute of Printed Circuits (IPC), created in 1957 to help advance the PCB industry. While visiting a customer I was asked, “Has the introduction of your new products like custom battery packs and energy efficient EC fans taken your focus and attention off of PCBs?” While I assured the customer that we are fully dedicated to printed circuit boards, it occurred to me that as a company, we need to better demonstrate that dedication to our customers.
Lowering risk for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the Military and Aerospace industries is always a key objective. Utilizing a vendor consolidation approach is a viable way to reduce risk within an organization. Increasing the amount of products sourced with one qualified supplier can drive down the overall risk by allowing components and subsystems to be tested together prior to being delivered into your supply chain.