Sustainability is far more than a passing trend. It's a global phenomenon with political, social, economic and, of course, environmental implications. From government to the commercial realm, organizations are looking for new ways to become more Eco-conscious in their policies and practices. With pressure from regulatory groups and incentives from public agencies, there's more reason than ever to make the shift toward sustainability.
Printed circuit board manufacturers are not exempt from this lot. In fact, the spotlight is on PCB fabricators and assembly teams to strengthen their sustainable practices, given the wide range of materials and equipment that they leverage as part of their core operational processes. Let's check out some of the ways in which your PCB manufacturing partners can improve their sustainability profiles and get closer to a greener standard of operation.
1. Adhere to six sigma principles: Lean six sigma principles are the gold standard of sustainability, aiming to reduce waste and maximize the output of a manufacturer with limited environmental impact. According to Six Sigma Online, core practices include value stream mapping and process maps, each of which are meant to identify inefficiencies and ensure product lifecycles are as streamlined as possible.
"Increasingly, the emphasis in mature lean six sigma manufacturing operations has been around achieving zero defects (especially in the aerospace, defense and medical sectors) and creating products that can be manufactured on processes that are engineered to run an optimal capability level and produce little, if no, variation," explained Electronics Weekly contributor Richard Wilson in a recent article.
"Investigate the supply chain and adhere to key regulations."
2. Evaluate and refine the supply chain: Many barriers to sustainability exist in the supply chain, where materials and equipment must be procured and provisioned. It's up to the manufacturer to perform an investigation of where these resources really come from and the ways in which they are delivered. Bottom line - make sure your manufacturing partner is diligent about maintaining a transparent and sustainable supply chain.
When it comes to PCB manufacturing, there are many avenues through which a partner can acquire materials. With technological advancements in laminates and mounted devices, there are certainly resources available that reduce waste without sacrificing performance.
3. Build superior program management policies: While smart sourcing and strict compliance standards are certainly important to improving sustainability, a great deal of responsibility should also be placed on manufacturers as they manage their projects and programs. Organizations must be especially diligent about how they undertake new initiatives, paying close attention to the following elements of project management:
- New product intake and introduction
- Order entry and confirmation
- Monitoring and reporting processes
- Inspection, testing and finalization
Does your manufacturing partner follow the sustainability principles laid out above? Make sure that you team up with the best in the industry to create products that are built with an environmentally focused future in mind. At VR Industries, we pride ourselves on sustainable, lean practices that pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.