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During IPC APEX EXPO, Nolan Johnson visited with Bob Neves of Microtek Laboratories China and the new chair of the IPC Board of Directors. Nolan asks Bob about IPC’s views on the disruption in supply chain, about restoring PCB fabrication in the United States, and how the IPC is looking to resolve supply chain issues from a global perspective.
Nolan Johnson: Looking through the rest of 2022 from your seat on the board, at the end of the year, what will be the big story or stories for our industry? Where are we going to be?
Bob Neves: That’s a good question. As the pandemic ends and things start going back to normal, we are unsure of what the industry will look like. Our members have spent a lot of time fighting fires trying to solve supply chain issues and I am unsure how quickly they’re going to go away. I believe one thing we have definitely learned is that hiring qualified people is a challenge now and that’s not necessarily going to go away quickly. IPC is addressing the need for industry education. The IPC board has really stressed the need to create an educational model that will make it easier for our members to hire skilled people who have knowledge that our members need, so that they’re not starting from zero going into the workforce.
Workforce education and skills challenges are something we’re really trying to solve. There are obviously additional regional issues that our government relations (GR) committees are trying to address given the supply chain has changed dramatically for a variety of economic and political reasons. There is a big push to move the supply chain more locally. As that develops and needs change, our goal is to help our members adapt to the changes that are going to happen post-pandemic. Other than the very clear educational needs, I don’t know if the industry has a clear understanding of what the supply chain will look like as we move forward. We’re watching that carefully, and we continue to fund the initiatives that we believe benefit our membership. The issues created by the recent pandemic have given the organization some time to react and push these things forward and to focus on them.
On the Standards front, the recent implementation of our IPCWorks digital platform is helping us better manage document development and has allowed us to improve the process of creating standards. We’re working hard on the IPC bookstore, our web presence, and just getting the word out about our mission and who we are as an organization.
To read this entire conversation, which appeared in the Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022 Show & Tell Magazine, click here.