Phone: +1 (931) 451-7390
itm@itmconsulting.com

Board Talk

Contract Assembler Assessment

Electronic manufacturing has always been and always will be demanding.

With constant change, small margins and very challenging economic currents it is essential that the suppliers you trust your PCB assembly and fabrication to are the best and performing optimally.

Do you really want to leave selection and ongoing assessment of your suppliers to chance?

Does your company really have the manpower, skills, experience and expertise to accurately and thoroughly assess the procedures, equipment, materials, human resources being used to build your product?

Could the quality and yield of your PCB build be improved?
Can you determine how?

ITM Consulting is the solution. Process auditing and supplier assessment is one of ITM's core competencies. Our more than 100 years cumulative experience in electronic fabrication and assembly on both the supplier and user "sides" enhances our expertise in supplier assessment.

ITM knows electronic manufacturing. The ITM Supplier Assessment Audit incorporates direct assessment of quality philosophy, policies, and systems, with very strong emphasis always being placed on implementation and performance as reflected in actual day-day operation within the manufacturing facilities.

In addition, ITM is experienced with leading and "bleeding edge" technologies, IPC and JEDEC specifications, as well as working with FDA and Class III assembly requirements. ITM stays current on the evolving compliance requirements of the various RoHS enactments.

Top Notch for Real - Not Just on Paper
While SSQA (Standard Supplier Quality Assessment) and other similar standardized procedures such as ISO-9000 are very powerful and useful systems for evaluating sales, service, and manufacturing operations, history has demonstrated that these systems are not always effective in achieving their objectives.

Far too often, these systems have become "paper exercises" which do not truly influence actual quality and performance throughout all of the corporate operations as intended. In assuring supplier quality, these methods can be extremely valuable, but efforts must be extended to "keep them real and vital! " The risks of misuse are always present.

While many suppliers can "talk the talk", ITM supplier assessments assure that they are "walking the walk".

In addition, we don't merely "score" the supplier, but we make actual recommendations that will enhance and improve the supplier's manufacturing process — both in terms of efficiency and quality.

Detailed Supplier Assessment Process Audit and Gap Analysis

Based upon the principles of ITM's patented SMT Process Audit, the SMT Process Audit is comprised of two major sections:

Assembly Processes, Materials and Equipment:

Materials — handling and validation
Components — handling and validation
Printing and Deposition
Component Placement
Reflow Soldering
Wave and Selective Soldering
Manual assembly and soldering operations
Rework and repair
Inspection — incoming, in-process and final
In-Circuit and Functional Test
Equipment set-up instructions
Equipment maintenance
5-S implementation
Counterfeit Component Interception/Avoidance Program Implementation

Quality Systems and Procedures

General Quality Systems
Quality Records
Material Procurement, Validation, Declaration Procedures
Skills, Training and Certification
Calibration Control
Internal Audits
Quality Records
Statistical Process Control
In-Process Controls
Non-Conforming Material Controls
Corrective Action
Counterfeit Component Avoidance Program and Documentation

Specific areas of the assembly process are examined in detail. ITM may make measurements and analysis at the various processes. Compatibility of process parameters and materials will be scrutinized. Interviews with line personnel, as deemed appropriate, will also be conducted.

By interspersing, in real time, documentation review, procedural questioning, and hands-on inspection of actual operations, the true reality of quality, as manifested in delivered products and services, is more comprehensively evaluated. ITM emphasizes observing and working directly with the people who really impact quality: operators, technicians, and operational supervisors.

This, along with a comparison to current "World Class" standards and practices has always been fundamental to ITM's auditing strategies. We feel it is the uniqueness and value of the methods that contributed to the granting of a US Patent (number 7003477B2) for the Auditing Process in 2006.

Additionally, ITM has found that auditors, working in teams, simultaneously participating in discussions or observing actual manufacturing operations, provide a superior and much more comprehensive evaluation.

By supporting and sometimes questioning each other, two or more sets of ears, eyes and minds, frequently identify more questionable issues and penetrate to a significantly deeper level of understanding of actual supplier operations.

Make ITM Consulting part of your supplier assessment team and do it right.