How to change the operation process to improve PCB data management?

You need to allow specific PCB data to change your operational process so that you can analyze and find the root cause of the problem. But most of the time we only see cosmetic problems on the surface. We don’t delve into problems to find their root causes.


A good way to analyze and determine any root cause is through a question line called the five whys. As we’ve seen in previous blogs, asking the “why” question comes down to the real motivation for the question. This series of questions can go further, but five reasons are usually enough to get to the root cause. Let’s look at five examples of why:

Problem. – The lights in the room don’t work.

There’s a fuse on the panel. (First why)

Short circuit (second why)

Short circuit wire (third why)

House wiring is far beyond its useful life and is not replaced

House didn’t keep up with the code (fifth why, a root cause)

In addressing these problems, you start at the root cause and work your way up.

I can say a lot, because it’s a vast field. I highly recommend that you learn it and start using it.

How to change the operation process to improve PCB data management?

No one seems willing to change. Even if you encounter problems and problems in your process, it never will. Analyze and fix them with five reasons. The usual practice is to stick your head in the sand and hope it all goes away. Well, the truth is we PCB designers are responsible for identifying problems and fixing them.

Learn about your component library

How to start analyzing your library represents a philosophical change. This library is by far the most critical part of the PCB design process. I always thought librarians had only a few important positions in a company.

Once you realize the importance of a library, it represents a great resource for your company. Initial data is the basis upon which each PCB design is built. What the library really represents is the money of the company – profit or loss.

Guard your process

One of the big changes I’ve seen in the program is to allow data to drive the process. A good example is when we create a new component. While we can use this component in a specific design, we cannot release the PCB for manufacturing until the individual component is validated and released. In this way, we protect ourselves from unnecessary risks. You need this goalkeeping strategy throughout the design process. They force you to stop and make sure you’re still moving in the right direction.

Communication is part of the process

In the classic 1967 film, Cool Hand Luke, starring Paul Newman and George Kennedy, famously had the tagline “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” If you will, this can be a major problem in your PCB design process. As PCB data management becomes more and more important, communication between the various related roles increases significantly. This communication transforms the design process from a solo activity to a team sport.

This comes directly from focusing on the specific data that someone uses at a particular point in the process. For example, when the item moves out of the PCB where the components are placed, it moves to the Mechanical Engineer (ME) to inspect the product machinery. We see increased communication also significantly improve the overall workflow of the design.

Tailoring and continuous improvement

PCB data management does not end the design to the manufacturing plant when we deliver. This is just a starting point. Because of the dynamic aspect of our data, we must constantly improve it through the fifth tailoring pillar of PCB data management. We find ourselves focusing more on the back end of the process than on the beginning. We allow our generated content and several specific PCB build reports to be returned to our component library. Using good root cause analysis lets us determine if any problems we find are from defective components. In other words, the process is not a straight line, but a circle that feeds back into itself. That means, as a cycle, it’s a never-ending process.


While the exact changes will vary depending on your situation, you must get to the root cause of the problem. Let the solutions you find change your process. This is where I see a big change. Nothing about your process can be set in stone. Even if you need a little courage to see your mistakes, you should always look for improvement.

Be proactive about change. You can make a difference. Don’t wait for them to become emergencies. Money and time have been lost. It’s easier to think about things when they’re not emergencies.