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Luminovo founder Sebastian Schaal says his company is using its experience as an AI provider to help implement LumiQuote, a new EMS RFQ software tool. Sebastian explains how LumiQuote helps cut down the waste in the BOM process and friction between OEM and EMS providers, and gives designers the EMS data they need earlier in the design process so they can make more informed decisions.
Barry Matties: Sebastian, tell us about your company. What is your mission?
Sebastian Schaal: The mission at Luminovo is to rethink how printed circuit boards and electronic products are brought to life, from being an idea to reaching the market-readiness stage. Our approach to this is building software that makes these processes faster, cheaper, and more effective. More specifically, we are concentrating on the processes between PCB designers and EMS providers, shifting the skewed knowledge distribution and preventing the costly decisions that are made at the various stages based on missing information.
Taking a step back, the biggest issue we see with the current product design processes is an asymmetry of knowledge in the value chain. Looking at typically occurring downstream design implications, the PCB designers only have about 20% of the knowledge when it comes to the actual manufacturing, while they are responsible for 70% of the costs. Most of the knowledge is usually held by the EMS providers, where it is stuck in disconnected legacy tools and manual workflows. This brings us to our solution to build a tool that supports EMS providers in digitizing their workflows today, so that we can encapsulate and distribute that knowledge along the value chain and ultimately make it accessible for designers at the point when they make these potentially costly downstream decisions.
Based on this thinking, we have developed our first product over the past year and recently launched it for selected customers. Our RFQ software, LumiQuote, digitizes and automates the quoting processes for EMS companies. It reduces the friction at the intersection between OEMs and EMS providers that currently exists because of lengthy traditional workflows, and paves the way to smart data usage and decision-making in the future.
As humans, we can learn new skills in a linear fashion when it comes to a broad range of tasks. But technology grows exponentially. Because work is highly divided in our current society and professional skills are highly specialized, we experience a specialist shortage in many niche areas these days. But if we want to stay on top of that exponential growth curve and use tech to its fullest potential, we need those very few experts in their respective niche areas to build software that’s usable by the bigger mass.
What we see happening to hardware production processes now is the same trend that we’ve been seeing in software development with the low-code/no-code development. Many expert software developers are building abstraction layers to enable different groups of people—for example, people who are experts in the business context of an application itself—to do more of the technical work, so they can keep up with a huge demand for new products. I think that is exactly what is going to spill over to the electronics industry as well and it is our vision to build this fundamental data and software layer called the Electronics Operating System.
To read this entire conversation, which appeared in the September 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.