People often say ‘better late than never’, but I’ve never heard my boss say that. After much difficulty in both Fab and assembly the product was finally shipped and my headache was done.
The following Monday, my boss called me into his office and asked me to sit down. You can imagine the blood drain from my face as I knew it wasn’t time for my annual performance review.
“Look,” he began. “I know I was hard on you over the past few weeks about the project delays. Sorry if I came across stronger than I should have, but you know this was an important project for us.”
“No problem,” I offered. Being yelled at beats being fired, so I was okay with his attempt at an apology.
“What can we do different next time, so we don’t experience the same delays and added costs?”
I had been thinking about this and had come to my own conclusions.
“The main problem is our EDA vendor’s DFM software isn’t truly a DFM system, and it doesn’t check everything that our suppliers check. Things fall through the cracks.”
“So, what good is it?” he asked, not entirely rhetorically.
“The other issue is we don’t have a good way of staying synchronized with all our suppliers on what their process capabilities are. Some of the issues reported by both the fabricator and the CM were issues we check, but our constraint system had different rules in place. We need to find a systematic way to collaborate with our suppliers to stay current on their manufacturing process capabilities.”
“It sounds like you’ve put some thought into this. Do you have any suggestions how to improve the situation? Do any other software tools do a better job with these two topics?”
This time I didn’t really mind the back-to-back questions.
“Actually, I do,” I responded. “A friend of mine I used to work with uses Valor NPI for their DFM process. He said they have it integrated with their EDA tool, which is the same as ours. He even said it looks so much like our EDA DRC viewer, it only took the designers 15 minutes to learn how to use it.”
“That sounds promising,” he said. “Does the Valor NPI system have checks for all the issues we had with that last project? And how can we make sure we have the right DFM constraint values setup?”
Yes, that was two questions in a row, but at least there was hope in his voice instead of anger.
“I don’t know but let me investigate!” I said and excused myself from his office without any further discussion.