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Want the real truth about global risk? Not only is it more real than ever before, but it is rising because of a nearly infinite number of variables. The consequences can be more devastating—in one blow—than ever before. The traditional economic focus on quarterly reporting complicates maintaining a long-term vision and further complicates investment in risk identification, planning, and, thus, mitigation. Risk mitigation in the global supply chain is nothing new to many industries. What is new, however, is the exponential rise in potential risks and the reality that those are risks that simply cannot be predicted. What are some factors for a winning strategy that might not immediately come to mind? Here are a few essential recommendations to the global PCB industry that might significantly lower the risk impact on a company’s productivity, time to market, and financial success.
Ask Questions Early and Often
Unasked questions introduce many risks that could have been identified early and then accounted for in the mitigation plan. No longer is it the case that you wait until there is an issue or major problem to ask a question.
Some engineers who work for companies may feel isolated; that is, they have a problem, but they don’t know how or where to start solving it. You should work with a supplier, for example, whom you can ask to confirm or clarify questions that may lead to new options for reducing costs and risks. You should have a partner to contact whom you do not hesitate to call, where your call is welcome and responded to in a timely fashion. In fact, an experienced PCB manufacturer should be proactive, offering to answer questions you haven’t even asked.
The Elephant in the Room
If you were to survey hundreds of thousands of companies about what they would predict, or have experienced as, the biggest risk in their global supply chain, some answers might align. In general, however, every company has unique products, technical challenges, time frames, and delivery and transportation requirements.
The elephant in the room is simply this: The biggest risk a company faces is the need for unique solutions to address its specific situations.
Companies today simply do not have the funding or the time to hire personnel who are experts in the technical, support, and logistical details of the global supply chain. For that, a partner and an expert with whom to collaborate is necessary. By not partnering with an expert team that can provide a 360-degree view of their specific landscape of needs, product teams could introduce a plethora of unknown risks and, almost certainly, neglect to include risk mitigation planning.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the December 2019 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.