Data hand-off. Not just a transaction – partnering will improve the process.

When you ask your manufacturer about the data you send them, do they say “everything OK, no problem”? Is that because the data you hand off to them really is best-in-class for manufacturing purposes, or is your manufacturer afraid to complain or of appearing less capable than  his competitors in dealing with your data so he is afraid to suggest “opportunities for improvement”? In the highly competitive world of outsourced manufacturing how do we resolve the hard commercial realities of price, delivery, perceived competence and service-reliability with higher level goals such as taking cost and quality-risk out of your design-to-manufacturing hand-off process?


I have lost count of the number of conversations I have had in the last 15 years with designers who say “our manufacturers work with Gerber, none of them are asking for ODB++” or “I am not sure my suppliers can work with ODB++, but for sure they can all accept Gerber”. On the manufacturing side it can be “we have to work with whatever our customer sends us, that’s the business situation and we are very good at responding to that” or “we would prefer ODB++ but what our customers send is controlled by their purchasing department”.   Collectively, what all that adds up to is a passive agreement to keep the manufacturing data output process on the design side long, manual and risk-prone, and on the manufacturing side for the CAM guys to continue manipulating manually the supplied data into a form that is coherent and ready for tooling-generation – also lengthy and open to errors.


The survey results I summarized in the last blog show the range of time and quality benefits designers have seen after switching from Gerber to the ODB++ method. So why hasn’t everybody made the change? If you step back for a moment and ask yourself whether you would like all your manufacturing suppliers to give you a faster service when introducing a new product into manufacturing, of course there is only one answer – yes! It is clear from the survey that people with knowledge of ODB++ also know that its benefits are very real as compared to the old methods; the barrier to change is not really technical – it is a question of embracing change in business processes; daring to step forward and make it happen.


Do you want to make the switch to ODB++ happen? Let us know where you find the barriers to be, so we can knock them down one at a time!