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In a global market, it is often difficult to determine the best PCB suppliers for your technology needs, while also achieving the lowest costs for your products. Considering each PCB supplier has their own niche in terms of equipment, process, and performance, uniform test data from the IPC-9151D Process Capability, Quality, and Relative Reliability (PCQR2) Benchmark Test Standard can help find the right source for the board based on its specific technology requirements. By using a data-based approach to vendor selection, this can remove the subjective nature of sourcing, reduce the need for PCB process experts to map suppliers into technologies, and eliminate irrational sourcing decisions.
By incorporating the standard results into our corporate quote model, our company has significantly lowered costs, both by helping to get each board to the right supplier and by reducing failure rates during development, in production, and in the field. Using PCQR2, the company screens for suppliers that can deliver consistent quality utilizing statistical process control (SPC) to monitor and control their process variables, filtering out those that rely on specific employees for temporary success.
In addition, the company can track PCQR2 performance trends from submission to submission, allowing for the observation and correlation of capability advancement with improving equipment and processes. Using this data, the company can then push our supply base by challenging them to build higher-technology PCQR2 samples when ready, which, in turn, moves them higher in the quote model and leads to more quoting opportunities and higher revenue.
Our company provides products and systems for a wide variety of applications. This requires a supply chain that can support and thrive in a high-mix, low-volume environment. With over 1,000 unique PCB designs, one of our challenges is sourcing boards to the “right” shop with the best mix of technology, capacity, and cost. Compounding this challenge, PCB sourcing is decentralized, so each R&D team has the ultimate decision on which shop is awarded the business. A data-based approach to supplier qualification using the IPC-9151D Process Capability, Quality, and Relative Reliability (PCQR2) Benchmark Test Standard, built into a company quote model, guides each request for quotes to the correct subset of suppliers based on the board’s technical requirements and allows R&D teams to focus on price and delivery when making the final vendor selection.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the March 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.