Time to Co-Opt Co-Design?

In recent conversations, I’m hearing designers say they are spending enormous amounts of time in meetings. These comments tend to come from folks who work for larger OEMs or ODMs and work on teams spread around the globe.

Certainly there is something appealing to upper management about follow-the-sun design. It maximizes time resources and leverages both the lower labor cost regions of the Pacific Rim and the experienced hands in the West.

But whereas the old model of vertically oriented design and manufacturing had its warts, if designers are getting hung up all day in meetings, as opposed to spending time routing boards, one begins to wonder whether the follow-the-sun model has been taken too far. There’s nothing process-oriented about commiserating with a manufacturing engineer over lunch in the cafeteria, but there is something to be said for being able to talk things over as they occur, rather than being holed up in never-ending CYA sessions.

Is round-the-clock design actually a drag on efficiency and productivity?

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow