Thanks Douglas. I was actually thinking more about the suppliers of components, technologies, and materials than I was about the CM. CMs need to be audited to your list of processes as part of qualification to be sure (and maybe/maybe not for the two items I mentioned below - depends on what they do for you)! But so do suppliers - whether you buy parts from them or just specify them - of at very least criticial parts.
That is the voice of experience talking. I really appreciate your forward looking perspective. I agree that a company roadmap is important if the CM is going to be worthy of multi-year business potential. I have Environmental compliance on the checklist, but did not consider how the CM is set up to handle any SVHC awareness that comes to light through services such as DCA's. Thanks for the heads-up.
Doug, this is "spot on". Unfortunately so many "manufacturers" do not do any audits at all of their suppliers, or just do cursory walk-arounds of, for instance, a potential CM, that they fail to assess the risks involved. This invariably leads - as you well know - to avoidable problems like unexpected part obsolescence, quality problems, inability to ship to volume, and worse. With the toy industry it led all the way to government regulation disallowing lead in paint on toys along with an opressive testing requirement.
I would add two more issues to the list of auditable items. First (and this is not really "supplier quality", but is often of critical importance), does the company have a product roadmap and what is it? If they don't and you don't need one then great. But if they don't, and you have a plan for follow-on generations of products, and their part is of critical importance, you need to ensure that you're in agreement on future direction.
The second is an assessment of whether and how they select and/or manage the substances incorporated into the products they're manufacturing and selling to you. The impact of RoHS, REACH, and other active substance restriction regimes means manufacturers that select substances must have an effective process to identify substances and assess their risks (e.g. of being placed on a list like the candidate SVHC list, or of becoming restricted).
You are right about processes going by the wayside when a company gets things going too fast. It is important to remain flexible because every procedure can always be reviewed for not just functionality, but also practicality. If a company decides to bypass a procedure, someone should be extra watchful when it comes to waste and problems. Then, when things slow down again, there should be a meeting about the problems encountered. See my article on the Post Mortem Review Meeting. It will be posted this week.
"Dogpile" refers to the boards or articles that did not pass inspection of functional testing and require troubleshooting to fix. If the dogpile gets too high and there are no technicians analysing the common failure modes, a problem in parts or manufacturing may go unheeded, increasing the size of the dogplie and reducing the overall yield. Also, many boards could be restored and returned to production after being successfully evaluated and repaired.
Nothing says that companies are bound to follow these practices, only that failing to do it leads to exposure to (sometimes needless) risk. It's all dependent on how much exposure a company can tolerate before the costs of implementing these controls are worthwhile. I'm sure actually determining the risk is nothing trivial.
Curious about "dog pile". Something tells me that is an article in itself!
@Douglas: Thanks for highly informative article. However, sometimes, project get so accelerated, that many process falls apart. This is due to pressure for time to market and many other similar reasons. All party concerend knows, quality suffers, however, they are ready to take calculated risk. I wish some process are more standardized and automated so that it is integral part and much transperant to design / manufacturing engineer. Is this possible?
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.