Can you cut costs without compromise?

Achieving cost reductions on PCB manufacture simply requires technical process competence says Evolution Circuits’ Keith Wrigley

In light of shrinking batch sizes and conservative forecasting, there has never been so much pressure on OEM and EMS customers to maximise operating margins. Printed circuit boards are usually one of the higher value critical components in any product design, which makes them a good starting point.

Like most things, PCB manufacture will always be based on economies of scale, but the effect of optimising materials, panelisation, processes and raw material utilisation can achieve much greater cumulative savings than simple volume discount pricing alone.

To be truly effective, it’s vital to investigate every single aspect of the design and layout and apply efficiencies that will not compromise the functionality or reliability of the end product, but also ones that will achieve healthy cost reduction percentages. The results of this focus can often be surprising, even for established product lines.

Clear communication of these concepts by technical sales and CAM engineers is not only the key to greater potential savings but also a truly inclusive approach to business. This technique ensures that Evolution Circuits is often viewed as an extension of customers’ internal resources and NPI teams.

Looking at things from a different perspective enables Evolution to  find the best solution for all parties, which is vital when the targets of the purchasing team directly conflict with the ideal scenario for the production team.

Ultimately there is no ‘black art’ in achieving cost reductions on PCB manufacture, it simply requires technical process competence and the ability to think through what customers want, need and must achieve to stay competitive.