Standard of Excellence: Forging Partnerships Through Adversity and Problem Solving

anaya-headshot.jpgFor the past few months, this column has discussed how to find and work with a great PCB vendor, and most importantly, how to form a strong, productive partnership. We’ve covered working on new products with your vendor, trusting them to work with you on future products, and using your vendor’s shop as your PCB R&D lab. This month, I will address how adversity can forge a great partnership between you and your PCB vendor that will last for life.

Yes, I am saying that when things get tough on a project that a customer and vendor are working on and they solve difficult problems together, that is where great partnerships are made.

For example, imagine you are trying to come up with a way to laminate various substrates together with CTE management materials such as copper molybdenum cores with 8-layer polyimide boards bonded on either side of that core. However, the boards are failing test no matter what you do. The very act of solving this problem will bring your engineers and those of your vendor together hour after hour in the vendor’s shop until you find the solution. Finally, after weeks of working hard, eating and spending a great deal of time together, you solve the problem and start producing the boards the way they should be.

This is a situation that both parties will cherish and remember for the rest of their lives. Besides producing a great solution, this experience also produces an unbreakable bond of mutual trust and respect between your two companies, which is priceless. The relationship you developed with your PCB vendor becomes a great partnership that will serve you today and well into the future as well.

Too often, customers and their PCB vendors are not willing to trust one another enough to develop this kind of relationship. Some companies do not want their engineers to work too closely with their suppliers, which is not a good way to go if you want to develop a productive relationship. Today, the trend is to distance yourself from your vendors and not get close to them or trust them. This is foolish, dangerous, and counterproductive.

The equation I propose is based on simple facts. Your engineers are developing and building your end products. As the developers, they know exactly what they need, including the types of PCBs their required capabilities. Meanwhile, your vendor’s engineers know all about PCBs, including what their process can yield. They are PCB experts with many years spent perfecting their craft. Doesn’t it make sense to put these two experts together so they can build the best PCB possible and help you produce the best end product possible?

Think of your vendor as your PCB expert and consultant. Learn to trust them enough to work closely together. Let them know what you are trying to accomplish so that they can help you get there. Most importantly, bring your engineering teams together to meet so they can tackle all of the challenges that producing your new products require.

Partnerships forged in adversity will be partnerships for life. Trust your PCB vendors and partners enough to let that happen.

Anaya Vardya is president and CEO of American Standard Circuits.

Visit I-007eBooks to download your copies of American Standard Circuits' micro eBooks today:
The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to...Fundamentals of RF/Microwave PCBs
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2018

Standard of Excellence: Forging Partnerships Through Adversity and Problem Solving

10-29-2018

For the past few months, this column has discussed how to find and work with a great PCB vendor, and most importantly, how to form a strong, productive partnership. This month, Anaya Vardya will address how adversity can forge a great partnership between you and your PCB vendor that will last for life.

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Standard of Excellence: Working for the Future—Partnering with PCB Vendors on Innovative Technology

10-01-2018

The true test of the vendor-customer relationship comes when you need innovative PCBs—boards that are not easily found in the common marketplace and are so technologically advanced that they require your designers and suppliers to work together to go where neither has before.

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Standard of Excellence: Preparing for the Future with the Right Supplier

08-13-2018

Is your PCB supplier ready to take you into the future? Sure, they are doing a good job today, but what about tomorrow? What will happen when new designs require boards to be made with thermal or RF materials, or have lines widths down to two mils?

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Material Selection: The Key to RF/Microwave Success

07-23-2018

This month's column is written by Anaya Vardya and John Bushie. In today’s environment, there are a number of suppliers that may have similar materials but price points and lead times may vary. If you are open to trying different options, it is a good idea to work closely with your PCB fabricator so they can educate you on these aspects. Another option is to do parallel builds with multiple materials in the early stages of honing a new design to determine the optimum material set.

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Standard of Excellence: Making Your PCB Fabricator Your PCB Partner

06-12-2018

Are your PCB needs exceeding your vendor base’s capabilities? Do you feel that your suppliers are no longer able to keep up with your PCB needs? Do your designers feel limited by your vendors’ limited capabilities? Are you finding an issue locating alternate sources for PCBs due to the consolidation of the larger shops in our industry? If so, you are not alone.

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Standard of Excellence: 5 Things a Total Global Solutions Supplier Can Provide

01-10-2018

Our world now extends far beyond the traditional brick and mortar of the domestic board suppliers of yesteryear. Now our customers demand that PCB fabricators provide them with a complete and total printed circuit board solution, from domestically built ITAR-registered defense and aerospace boards to high-volume, offshore solutions.

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2017

Standard of Excellence: Customers are Shooting for the Stars—Are We Coming?

08-17-2017

For years we have been calling them “science projects,” those PCB orders that did not quite fit into our normal process stream and therefore needed special attention, as well as special handling. Often, we have had to use trial and error to come up with just the right process to successfully complete the order.

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Standard of Excellence: The Challenges of Hiring Good People and Methods for Success

05-17-2017

Increasingly, we hear about the challenges of finding and hiring good people in our industry. We are being hit on all sides; much of our work force is aging out while young people don’t seem to be too interested in joining the printed circuit board industry. Let’s face facts: Fewer young people are going to college to become circuit board process engineers.

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Standard of Excellence: The Advantages of Flex and Rigid-Flex Circuits

05-01-2017

Since their introduction, flexible and rigid-flex circuits have been steadily moving from the fringe of electronic interconnection towards its center. Today, flex and rigid-flex circuits are found in countless products from the very simple to the highly complex. The reasons for this shift to the center are numerous; most of them are related to the advantages they offer. An examination of some of the benefits and advantages will make this clear.

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Standard of Excellence: Staying Prepared with Operations

03-08-2017

Handling the operations of a PCB company these days is a challenge, to say the least. When I started in 1979, we were building single-sided, double-sided, four-layer multilayers, and the occasional six-layer if you really had your act together. We were using FR-4 materials sprinkled in with an occasional polyimide build.

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2016

Standard of Excellence: Selling Technology—A PCB Engineer Transitions to Sales

12-21-2016

Selling technology today takes a great deal of time, patience and most of all knowledge of the product. There was a time when a salesperson was just that, a salesperson. Now, with the onset of all the new technologies, from RF and metal backed boards to flex and rigid-flex boards, to HDI and microvia boards and heavy copper boards, a salesperson must know what he’s talking about.

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Standard of Excellence: RF Microwave Technology—The Future is Now

11-29-2016

Although RF/microwave technology has been around for a considerable amount of time, many people are still not sure exactly what it is. This month, I am going to dedicate my column to explaining exactly what it is, why it is used, and in what products is it used. I’ll also discuss who needs it.

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Standard of Excellence: Let’s Get Flexible

11-18-2016

Although flex and rigid-flex technology has been around for many years, it is only in recent years that it has come into its own. The reason for the increased requirements for the flex and rigid-flex technology is simple: Devices are getting smaller.

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Communication Breeds Success

08-29-2016

We all need to talk to one another. You need to work closely with your customers. And we all need to work with the new generation of PCB designers and design engineers, many of whom have never set foot in a board shop. Fortunately, they make up for their lack of DFM knowledge with their hunger for information.

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The Future is in Fine Lines

07-11-2016

The age of much finer lines and spaces is upon us. After years of slowly moving towards this technology our customers are now demanding that all of us provide them with fine lines and spaces.

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LED and Metal-Backed Technology—Today and in the Future

05-25-2016

Probably one of the hottest, or should I say coolest, technologies today is LED. I would also venture to say it is one of the fastest growing as well...

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Tips for Finding a Great PCB R&D Partner

04-06-2016

This new column, Standard of Excellence, represents a cooperative writing effort by a team of experts at American Standard Circuits. This month, we begin with CEO Anaya Vardya, who focuses on R&D. In his piece, he provides his insights on what characteristics to look for in a good R&D PCB fabrication vendor partner, and a few things that are expected of them to do for you.

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