It seems obvious to measure a project, but, I have to say, in my many years in the PCB design and manufacturing industry, we don’t measure our decisions very often. Before making a decision or investment, we typically make an assessment of our current state and we frequently project our expected return and benefits in quantifiable terms. However, it is rare for us to actually revisit our state after we have implemented our changes and investments.
How do you know if something is good or bad unless you measure it? Why would any of us do something different if that action did not lead to an improvement?
With Optimum Design Associates and their Lean NPI initiative, revisiting is key and they show us why. Two years ago, they began down a course of action they thought held promise: Lean NPI – improving the efficiency of the PCB design to manufacturing process.
Efficiency was measured by Optimum Design Associates in terms of time, cost, and quality. Quite methodically, Randy Holt, PCB Layout Manager at Optimum Design Associates, measured their current NPI flow before beginning the project and reported their anticipated benefits in the first whitepaper in the series. Then, Randy took the time to note and report their experiences on the process.
Optimum Design Associates successfully completed their Lean NPI initiative and published the results in the third part of their whitepaper series in Printed Circuits Design and Fab magazine: Refining Lean NPI at Optimum Design Associates.
What I like best about their report is how they measured the quality of their designs in terms of callbacks from suppliers and the number of defects reported per design. And, they willingly share this information for others to see. You only do that if you are confident in your capabilities.
I tip my hat to the people at Optimum Design Associates for their diligence in the Lean NPI initiative and their openness in sharing the results. I am confident many others in the industry will benefit as a result of their reporting.