A Sustainable Supply Chain for Lowest Total Cost


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Typically, when sustainability is mentioned, it refers to how a product is disposed of after its usable life. But being green is more than keeping pollution out of the environment; sustainability has many different aspects to it, but some are overlooked.

One example is social impacts like employee treatment. For a process like PCB manufacturing, thinking sustainably is important—since the process can result in a lot of wasted material and chemicals that can negatively impact the environment—but it’s also so much more; it includes an entire business model and strategy.

If you’re not set up for long-term success within the supply chain, you, your customers, and your suppliers are all at risk. The entire supply chain must be built into this strategy.

A Strategy Built Around a Sustainable Supply Chain

When choosing a PCB supplier, how do you differentiate between the available options that may look the same at first glance? Do they produce reliably with a quality-first approach? Further, one very important question that should be highly considered is what if you need to move products from a particular factory for some reason? Is there an ability to do this seamlessly, or will your production line be held up?

Having to move PCB products from one factory to another is more common than it may seem. There are various reasons for this. Perhaps the quality at a specific factory or within a specific technology is beginning to cause a defective product, or maybe there’s a trade war or other geopolitical issue that impacts the product availability or cost. There could also be a catastrophic natural disaster impacting a factory’s ability to produce, leaving the supply chain exposed at a critical time. We must be able to respond to situations that are out of our control by proactively implementing a sustainable solution that we can control.

Again, if there’s a natural or political disaster—and a certain region in the world is impacted where businesses must cease operations—do your supply chain partners have alternatives to move products from one factory to another seamlessly? With the COVID-19 outbreak, I have seen this become the most important factor of our business recently. It’s the most sustainable way to operate to be able to still function and produce by having a robust network of supply chain partners built up throughout the world.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the April 2020 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.

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