Identifying Improvement Opportunities

Circuits Assembly Lean Six Sigma

The benefits of implementing Lean manufacturing philosophy are higher throughput and elimination of the variation that can introduce defects into a process. In a static environment, implementing Lean philosophy creates significant efficiencies that stay in place with little oversight. Most electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers have very dynamic environments, however, where supply chain, customers, project technologies, volumes, production personnel and factory floor layout change frequently. In that environment, inefficiencies can creep in.

Six Sigma training provides employees with a formalized product-solving methodology that allows these inefficiencies to be corrected. SigmaTron in Tijuana, Mexico, uses Six Sigma as a tool to keep its team focused on eliminating inefficiencies. The facility faced three major challenges over the past year: changing dynamics in the materials market; more projects moving to Mexico for tariff mitigation; and spikes in demand at existing customers for their products. This article looks at four Green Belt projects that cumulatively have eliminated nearly $300,000 in unnecessary costs in the first five months of improvement implementation. Read the full article here.

Does Your Test Strategy Deliver Maximum Value?

Circuits Assembly Lean & Test

While Lean manufacturing strategy is discussed in relation to test strategy, it often focuses on defect mitigation strategies such as integrating program, pack and test activities to minimize variation and transport. However, a Lean manufacturing philosophy can provide even better guidance as companies navigate test strategy options. There is one hurdle to overcome. Google the question, “Is test a value-added activity?” You will see answers in Lean manufacturing forums that range from “if the process is in control you don’t need to test” to “yes, if the customer is willing to pay for it.”

The reality is that in the electronics industry there are very real reasons robust inspection and test strategies are necessary. And, when the cost of field failures is fully considered, a robust inspection and test strategy eliminates much non-valued-added cost. Read the full article to learn more about strategies for increasing the value PCBA-level test can deliver.

Re-Evaluating Your Regional Outsourcing Strategy?

Regional Outsourcing Strategy

Over the last two years, shifting trade policies have added complexity to outsourcing strategy. Tariff mitigation has become a factor in evaluating existing supply chain locations. However, as the threat of tariffs on products exported from Mexico demonstrated in mid-2019, choosing manufacturing locations based on solely on trade policy strategy may represent only a short-term solution. Trade policies such as tariffs are typically designed to achieve a short-term agenda. The cost implications of a transfer of work are typically far greater than the tariff cost they mitigate. Consequently, while shifting trade policies may trigger the evaluation of outsourcing strategy, the cost considerations and tradeoffs associated with the region often represent a far broader conversation. Periodic review of a sourcing team’s outsourcing rationale and supply chain helps ensure the strategy stays cost competitive.

Any evaluation should recognize that every region has advantages and disadvantages. This whitepaper looks at regional advantages/disadvantages in Asia, the U.S. and Mexico, from the perspective of SigmaTron International, an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider with facilities in those regions. It also makes recommendations for the project types likely to best fit in each region. Read the full whitepaper here.


Optimizing Test Strategy

Optimizing Test Strategy

Products are getting smaller and more complex. As a result, test access points often compete with components for real estate during the PCB layout process. PCB layout designers and design engineering teams who are siloed from manufacturing operations often assume that flying probe test or functional tests can compensate for that. Is that really the case? SigmaTron International’s latest whitepaper looks at cost tradeoffs of various test strategies and discusses the benefits and disadvantages of each. It also looks at the scalability equation in functional test and design considerations for higher volume test fixtures. Read the full whitepaper here.

Network with SigmaTron International’s Team at the MPO Summit Oct 3-4

MPO Summit

SigmaTron International is a Silver Sponsor of the MPO Summit, which this year, will be held across the Bay from SigmaTron’s northern California manufacturing facility. Learn more about this upcoming conference at MPO Summit and if you are currently looking for electronics contract manufacturing suppliers, consider scheduling a tour at our facility while you are in the area. Visit our Contact Us page to reach our sales team and learn more about our global network of manufacturing facilities.