Can Scrap be Beaten? A Strategy for 2014 and Beyond

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Disobedience, the rarest and most courageous of the virtues, is seldom distinguished from neglect, the laziest and commonest of vices.

~George Bernard Shaw

Is the key to beating scrap simply following process instructions and procedures? No! Scrap can’t be beaten. Well, maybe, if we had really easy boards to build or very similar part numbers run at very high volumes or better equipment that was more up to date; maybe then we would have a lower scrap rate. But that isn’t what is going on today. Look at what we have to contend with: different materials, more complicated sequential processing, and ever-greater densities, spacings, and geometries.

So we missed that important order. What did you expect? So we didn’t make money this month. Again, these things happen. With the missed delivery came the missed quick-turn bonus and the inability to ship enough product to cover our costs. It’s time for our investors, corporate owners, board members, the bank, and Wall Street to understand that a high scrap rate is just a fact of life in this business. Our excuses for lack of performance driven by unpredictable scrap events, over which we have no control, needs to be accepted without question. In fact, nobody in this industry is doing any better. If there were a solution to scrap, it would have already been found. So, end of story, end of this month’s column. Thank you for reading.

Throughout 2013, as technology continued to advance and our processes became even more complex, this was our excuse dialogue. Many of us are hoping in 2014 for some sort of outside technology miracle cure. I for one am not banking on this, because I believe our true salvation in beating scrap already exists. I talk about the solution to any chronic problem we face being within our four walls in my book, You Have a DAM Problem. This is good news if we are willing to fundamentally shift our focus away from excuses, take accountability for the problem, and change our approach to almost completely the opposite of what we are doing today.

Read the full column here.

Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of The PCB Magazine.


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