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Without the right tools at their disposal, even the best project manager can become overwhelmed.

How Cloud Manufacturing Streamlines the PCBA Project Manager Role

Without the right tools at their disposal, even the best project manager can become overwhelmed.

By Muirae Kenney  |  July 7, 2022

Without the right tools at their disposal, even the best project manager will become overwhelmed.

Checkpoint overwhelmed project manager

A good PCBA project manager can make or break a project. These multitasking wizards not only track every project decision, but they must also peacefully guide team members through each project phase. When competing departments have different and conflicting goals, this alone is a giant task. Without the right tools at their disposal, even the best project manager can become overwhelmed.

PCBA project management relies on accurate and timely data. But traditional manufacturing, which hasn’t changed much since the introduction of lean principles in the 1980s, isn’t equipped for agile or flexible information-gathering. In fact, many traditional manufacturing processes seem to add roadblocks to knowledge collection, including:

Report configurations
  • A lack of communication transparency between team members
  • Analog reporting that requires constant updating upon receipt of new or corrected input
  • Different report configurations required by stakeholders. Every time data gets reformatted, a chance for discrepancies or errors increases
  • Slow back and forth communication with external partners, leading to missing or incorrect findings

Every roadblock slows down the fabrication process and puts project timelines at risk. But cloud manufacturing platforms like MacroFab provide the tools necessary for project managers to bypass these challenges to make incisive, productive decisions faster.

How Cloud Manufacturing Streamlines PCBA Project Management

Today’s high-growth industries rely on PCBA manufacturing. The industrial, energy, telecommunications, and transportation sectors all need PCBAs to grow and thrive. But their complicated and highly specialized designs require the highest possible quality paired with excellent time management to keep up with customer demands and stay ahead of competing enterprises.

Electronics cloud manufacturers like MacroFab simplify PCBA project management for these and other industries in many ways. This includes:

Better data collection

Better Data Collection

Instead of relying on traditional data collection methods like emails, phone calls, and shared documents requiring constant updating, cloud manufacturing automatically creates, processes, and provides access to datasets, including:

  • Component usage and alternative options
  • Data relating to timelines, delivery, and status
  • Data relating to team member decisions (when, who, and what)
  • Metrics relating to manufacturing and quality
Better data reporting

Better Data Reporting

With better datasets available, data reporting can become more automated, including:

  • Project status reports keeping stakeholders informed about project status, targets, and issues
  • Project health reports identifying roadblocks, or ensuring the project is on track
  • Risk reports visualizing potential obstacles and constraints, and how to address them
  • Variance reports determining if the team is meeting project milestones, objectives, and deliverables within the original target dates

Improved Communication

One of the biggest challenges to PCBA project management remains keeping all stakeholders and team members informed and up-to-date about project changes, issues, and timelines. It’s a challenge even to collect and collate this information, much less prepare it and disseminate it back to interested parties. But cloud manufacturing platforms like MacroFab support team roles and track changes made by users as they happen.

Project manager updates

This means the PCBA project manager can access updates from a single dashboard, as can other team members with access to the same. This system eliminates the need to collect, collate, or disseminate updates about certain project decisions while it provides ready-to-use data for others.

Specialization at Scale

Different industries have different PCBA build requirements. Some, like oil and gas, need circuit boards that can withstand temperature extremes, vibration, and dusty environments. Transportation and medical circuit boards must meet stringent reliability and safety standards.

MacroFab’s cloud manufacturing platform uses data to route jobs to the best-matched factory within our network. This specialization factor means projects get built by a facility that understands the specific needs of that industry. Meanwhile, MacroFab backs every build with our expertise, quality standards, and a one-year workmanship guarantee.

Project manager flexibility

Additionally, our factory network provides access to specialization at any scale, providing options to build out small jobs of a dozen boards in the best factory location while routing larger jobs (as large as needed) to factories designed to build at scale. And since MacroFab controls kitting, jobs can even run in tandem at more than one facility while maintaining quality and consistency. This option gives project managers the ultimate flexibility to scale as needed.

Connected cloud manufacturing systems like MacroFab bypass many typical project management issues. With automatic project tracking, data availability, and team role support, MacroFab’s capabilities give project managers the tools they need to do their jobs well.

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About MacroFab

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