Northbrook, Ill.--May 27, 1998--Suppliers of printed wiring boards (PWB) need to reduce cycle times, lead times, and inventories; move to just-in-time and turnkey models of inventory management; and work together with other suppliers and customers to generate innovative solutions in the supply chain. That's the message from an IPC Technology Marketing Research Council (TMRC) study commissioned to provide TMRC members with a clear idea of current and next-generation purchasing demands by customers of PWB manufacturers.
Detailed results of the study can be found in the TMRC report "Supply Chain Management: Analysis of Purchasing Behavior in the PWB Industry." A group of ten PWB commodity managers and senior buyers from OEM and contract manufacturing companies took part in the study. The group met in April to discuss ways PWB suppliers can work with their customers to make the supply chain a competitive advantage for both parties.
Aside from the recommendations listed above, the focus group suggested a number of other practices PWB manufacturers could adopt to improve customer relations:
* Use forward thinking and leave archaic models behind.
* Develop partnerships with customers, based on trust, integrity, and honesty.
* Develop responsive, reliable, and timely customer service orientation.
* Lead the way in technology, process development, and customer service.
* Work with customers to develop strong communication tools.
* Include the contract manufacturer in the management of the supply chain.
* Achieve speed, reliability, and price objectives with open communications and integrity.
The focus group indicated that the challenge for PWB manufacturers is to meet customer requirements with a good fit of capabilities, an open-mindedness toward change and improvement, and with the tools needed to develop a strong partnership. They said the challenge for both customers and suppliers is to negotiate the sharing of risk and liability in inventory management for the benefit of all companies in the supply chain.
Sandra Fox, president of High Tech Business Decisions, will present the findings from this focus group at IPC's TMRC Meetings June 17-18, 1998, at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Stephanie A. Kaplan
(847) 509-9700, ext. 317
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