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Interview —David Wolff, P.D. Circuits, Inc.

From material selection and upfront engineering to manufacturing, logistics and inventory management, P.D. Circuits provides the full spectrum of PCB supply chain management services. The experienced circuit board professionals of P. D. Circuits match customer needs to the core competence of its fabrication partners in North America and Asia. The company’s Asian Operations Center, located in Shenzhen, China, ensures the continued success of more than 16 years of offshore sourcing. Onsite inspection at the fabricating facilities is conducted by the IPC600 Certified PDC China QC team in conjunction with its in-house cross section lab. The company, ISO 9001:2008 certified and ITAR registered, is headquarterd in New Hampshire.

David Wolff, P.D. Circuits, Inc.
David Wolff, P.D. Circuits, Inc.

David, all P. D. Circuits employees recently received the Principles of Lean Certification from the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NHMEP). How will customers benefit from this?
We work constantly to improve efficiency and reduce costs internally to provide better support to our customers. As a company, we have embraced the principles of lean manufacturing and made them part of our culture. Having our entire staff thinking and implementing lean principles, including 5S, has reduced handling and product travel, reduced inventory levels, freed up space for growth, reduced lead times, and improved order processing efficiency.

P. D. Circuits manages the entire spectrum of the bare board supply chain. Please describe some of the services that you provide.
If it has to do with a bare board, our customers can count on P. D. Circuits to handle it. Our service helps to ensure that our customers get the best mix of functionality, cost, reliability and lead time. Our strong upfront engineering and design support are key to reducing product design cycle time, improving reliability and reducing cost. Our facility selection process ensures that our customers’ requirements are built in a facility that is a best fit to meet their exact needs. Quality assurance and final inspection guarantee that all P. D. Circuits’ products meet or exceed customer requirements. Our customer service department provides prompt, accurate support, and our logistics department handles all the import/export and inventory management issues with speed, accuracy and flexibility.

You recently expanded your staff at your Asian Operations Center. Are you currently seeing increased business in this region?
P. D. Circuits has seen significant growth during 2010. In order to stay ahead of the curve, we are adding staff in China and New Hampshire. With approximately 75 percent of our products coming from China, that is where we are seeing the most additions. We also are starting to see increased sales activity in Asia, particularly Singapore and India. Our improved structure and processes now allow us to ship China-to-China. While some of our customers now have their boards assembled in China, PDC is still responsible for making sure that the bare board (the literal and figurative platform for their product) is of the highest possible quality. We expect significant growth in our China-to-China business over the next year.

Why should customers looking for material selection, manufacturing, logistics and inventory management go to P. D. Circuits?
For more than 20 years, P. D. Circuits has developed proven systems that lead to consistent, superior performance. Our customers enjoy high levels of support, excellent quality and on time delivery at a competitive cost. Nobody beats our overall value. Many of our competitors offer one or two aspects of PCB supply chain management. However, when it comes to truly optimizing the PCB supply chain, PDC is the only company that covers all issues. Our staff of highly experienced industry veterans in the U.S. and China provide our customers with unmatched levels of support to bring their high quality products to market quickly and cost effectively.

What are the current challenges that you are helping customers address?
Many of our customers look to P. D. Circuits for technical support. They need more than just a board supplier. The technical challenges range from simple controlled impedance calculating to more complex design issues concerning HDI construction. While many of our customers are experts in assembly, they are eager to learn more about bare boards. The more knowledgeable they are about technical or process issues, the more effective they can be. P. D. Circuits offers numerous training resources to our customers. These range from PCB101 bare board basics to full IPC600 certification classes and technical seminars focused on very specific issues such as signal integrity. From the operations side, many customers are seeing scheduling challenges. We see a great deal of pushing and pulling of delivery schedules, but our systems are flexible to allow us to meet their fluctuating demand.

All P. D. Circuits Inspectors in the U.S. and China are IPC600 Certified. What does this mean for customers?
P. D. Circuits is one company with two locations. While they may be separated by 12,000 miles, our quality team works as a single unit. Since the majority of our customers’ quality requirements reference IPC600 specifications, it is critical that our entire team be expert in applying those specifications. Whether a board is inspected in China or New Hampshire, the same quality criteria are applied and there is complete consistency between the two locations. Our customers count on that consistency.

Should we expect to see any additional expansions or changes at P. D. Circuits over the next year?
Historically, PDC has shipped product from Asia into New Hampshire, where it was processed and then shipped out to the customer. In order to reduce costs and lead times, we have duplicated our New Hampshire process in China. This now allows us to ship directly from China or Hong Kong to customers in the U.S. and around the world. This is particularly important because we can ship directly into the U.S. west coast, where we have had little sales presence. During Q3 and Q4 of this year, we will set up sales coverage for the west coast and begin shipments by the end of the year.

Trevor Galbraith.

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