Do not know if I have the energy to answer this one or if its worthwhile
:-)

I actually took Brads point as I do see the 'bean counter' mentality a
lot.

We license out a lot of reference designs & manufacturing kits to other
companies who frequently out source their assembly. But when the design
vs yeild vs manufacturability issues arise due to poor process analysis,
capability or planning, we usually have to go and support it ourselves.

I have found sub contact houses VERY eager to blame the design data or
work instructions instead of looking closer to home, its easier to shift
the problem to some-one elses desk. I believe this is what Brad
encountered.

As for our own manufacturing, it never runs at more than 60% capacity,
but I can deliver a turnkey solution in time scales some would find hard
to believe. It was never our intention to offer the facility for rent to
'in fill' gaps in capacity.

Biggest issue for me is a reliable source of quick turn, high quality
PCBS.... Assembly is easy, quality PCB fab in a short time at a good
price, that's hard.

John 






> -----Original Message-----
> From: Abd ul-Rahman Lomax [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
> Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2003 12:08 AM
> To: Protel EDA Forum
> Subject: Re: [PEDA] Paneling
> 
> 
> At 08:35 PM 9/2/2003, Brad Velander wrote:
> >Why your company does? Couldn't tell you but I know why most 
> companies don't.
> >         Because to a bean counter there is a real and 
> tangible cost to
> > keeping your own assembly facility. To production there is 
> a very real 
> > but less tangible savings to keeping your own assembly 
> facility. A bean 
> > counter can't put an easy figure on problems, headaches, 
> missed project 
> > dates, etc.. So typically the simple solution from the bean 
> counters view 
> > point is to outsource. From production and engineering's 
> viewpoint, they 
> > can put all the figures they want to those less tangible 
> problems but the 
> > bean counters just scoff and won't accept them. A dollar in 
> the bean 
> > counters hand today is better than two dollars tomorrow.
> 
> Wait a minute. "Bean counter" means, in what Mr. Velander wrote, "the 
> profit motive." As I understand what is being said, allegedly 
> there are 
> difficult-to-quantify benefits to having one's in-house 
> assembly facility. 
> Similar arguments might apply to in-house panel 
> silk-screening, in-house 
> printed circuit board manufacture, how about in-house 
> integrated circuit fab?
> 
> Obviously, sometimes the overhead associated with doing it 
> yourself is 
> simply too high. And in-house facilities certainly can 
> include a lot of 
> otherwise avoidable "problems, headaches, missed project dates," etc.
> 
> When an ouside supplier of common goods or services can't 
> meet a required 
> deadline because of lack of capacity or for whatever reason, you can 
> usually find another supplier. When your own in-house 
> facility can't do it, 
> you can always go outside, but if you have an in-house 
> facility, the "bean 
> counters" might not be happy about spending money outside *plus* 
> maintaining an inside facility.
> 
> If your company has enough work to keep a moderate sized 
> assembly operation 
> busy most of the time, it can make sense to do most assembly 
> in-house. But 
> if you set up enough capacity to be able to handle peak 
> loads, you'll have 
> idle equipment and staff most of the time. To solve this, you 
> might take in 
> outside assembly, but then you are running a commercial 
> assembly operation, 
> and I'm sure that any assembler will tell you it's a tough, highly 
> competitive business.
> 
> Before I became a printed circuit designer, I was a printer. 
> Yes, ink on 
> paper. I got into that because I went to work, as an editor, for a 
> publisher. The publisher got the bright idea that he could 
> save money by 
> setting up his own printing plant. His wife had a lot of 
> money, so the 
> capital was not a problem. A half-million dollars later, he 
> had a few books 
> published and a printing plant to run. He could have had the books 
> published for less than a tenth of what he put into it, and I 
> won't even 
> mention the headaches involved in running a printing 
> business. Eventually 
> his wife got tired of pouring cash into the business and it 
> was all shut 
> down and sold off. At a big loss.
> 
> As I said, *if* you have enough work to keep an assembly 
> facility running 
> most of the time, it might make sense to do it inside. Otherwise, 
> generally, no.
> 
> The argument that if the plant is inside, one can give 
> priority to one's 
> own work ignores the fact that rush work can be done outside as well, 
> ordinarily it's enough to toss a few more bundles of cash toward the 
> assemblers. It's unlikely that everyone in the business is 
> fully booked!
> 
> Similar arguments can apply to in-house printed circuit 
> design. Design load 
> tends to vary greatly in small to medium sized companies. If 
> you maintain 
> enough staff to do all the work inside, you'll have idle 
> staff much of the 
> time. Expensive. My own general suggestion is to qualify a 
> good outside 
> designer or design service; a small company might even do all design 
> outside, certainly I know many which do. As the company gets 
> large enough 
> to keep a designer occupied full-time, then one can be 
> brought on board. 
> Still, as the design load will typically vary wildly, there 
> will then be 
> times when that designer has too much work, so you'll still 
> use an outside 
> service.
> 
> There are some engineers who believe that it is necessary to have the 
> designer and engineer face-to-face in order to get quality 
> work. It's an 
> expensive belief: I've travelled at client expense to attend design 
> reviews, and I'd say that most of the time was wasted. Very 
> little was 
> accomplished that could not have been accomplished with 
> phone, fax, e-mail. 
> Sometimes *less* is accomplished, really. Using fax and e-mail, in 
> particular, leaves a record. Face-to-face meetings often don't.
> 
> Well, I wandered a bit, didn't I? Let's just say that I've 
> seen a lot of 
> money wasted on in-house production when outside services 
> could have done 
> as good or better a job at lower cost. If you *are* going to 
> have in-house 
> work going on, be sure that the true cost is accounted for, 
> costs such as 
> increase of overhead, capitalization of equipment. Sure, there can be 
> headaches dealing with outside vendors. But with care in 
> choosing vendors, 
> those headaches will generally be less than the headaches of 
> running what 
> amounts to your own specialized business which may be outside 
> your special 
> expertise.
> 
> Like my first client as a printed circuit designer, almost 
> thirty years 
> ago. He was a can-do engineer type, had a design company 
> making control 
> equipment for, among other things, those monster trucks used 
> at the copper 
> mines. Had his own milling machine to make cases, etc. Had 
> his own *camera* 
> to make film for producing PCBs, which, of course, he etched 
> himself. Of 
> course he had a solder pot, etc., and it goes without saying 
> that he did 
> his own assembly. Why didn't he do his own printed circuit 
> design? Well, 
> besides designing and selling his electronic products, he was 
> too busy 
> running his machine shop, camera, making printed circuit 
> boards. And later, 
> supervising a few employees. Let's put it this way: he was a 
> brilliant 
> engineer. Too bad he didn't focus on doing engineering 
> instead of providing 
> services for himself that he could have purchased outside 
> cheaply. And, in 
> fact, with better quality. That company had some large 
> contracts, but they 
> weren't enough to keep it afloat.
> 
> 
> 



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