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Anani: Right now, obviously, it's popular with those customer who can afford it. Naturally, tier one and some tier two customers. Tier one and tier two customers seem to be ahead of the curve on this kind of effort, and they also have funds available to invest in this kind of project. We are engaged with several of the big names in creating different applications for them. One of the things we are working on currently with a customer who has a need to have a collaboration point for their DFM and design engineers from all over the world—a single collaboration point where they keep all of their design data, and all of their DFM analysis data, from revision to revision. It will create reports for designers about DFM issues that are resolved, or not resolved. It will include data about cost avoidance regarding each detected design violation on the product, to get help in order to quote their product better by leveraging data they are getting from the DFM report.
If the yield on a certain product is questionable because of the way it's designed, and the owner of the design chooses, for whatever reason, not to make design modifications, then they can bid it accurately. They can say, "With great certainty, we believe that our yield is going to be only 85%, so we're going to charge the customer “X” more, in order to recoup our losses." If the yields are going to be closer to 95–99%, then that might change their quote formula.
Shaughnessy: It sounds like you have a really fascinating job. You're part troubleshooter, right?
Anani: It is fascinating. There are two aspects to consulting. There is the aspect of the customer realizing they have a problem, but they don't know how to solve it, so they call on a consultant. The other aspect is, once you get called in, you might go in there and be able to reveal to the customer some problems that they did not even know they had. What I get the most satisfaction out of is not only revealing those things, but being able to propose a framework and a solution.
Shaughnessy: Right, discovering that something farther upstream was causing it all along that they didn't know about.
Shaughnessy: I imagine you've probably been to facilities all around the world.
Anani: Yes. I cover the worldwide Valor practice, so I'm in China, Japan, Europe, South America, and the U.S., so virtually everywhere.
Shaughnessy: How do you see the future of analytics?
Anani: I look forward to what can further be done with analytics; I think it's the trend of the future. Like everything else, the adoption cycle is always a challenge because people just naturally tend to resist change. One analogy I used today in my presentation was that 15 or 20 years ago, when DFM analytics first became known in the industry, there was a lot of push backs. Design engineers took it personally, and said things like, "How dare you bring a piece of software that will double-check my work? My work is awesome!" That's human nature, but in 2010, there was an Aberdeen study that found that 53% of world-class companies are likely to use DFM analytics in their circuit boards.
Here we are in 2015, and I'm sure the number is even better than 53%. Where once there was a lot of push back, it's now the norm. But there still may be push-back now on the analytics front, because people might think, "It's too difficult, and it's not possible. You can't get the right ROI." They're going to give you a million reasons why you shouldn't embark on an analytics endeavor, but I strongly believe that the companies who take the lead and are able to set the industry standard for analytics will reap multiple benefits down the road. Then, everybody will have to follow their standard.
Shaughnessy: Right. When you go into these shops, and you tell them what their problems are, do people ever get mad at you? Do they ever just say, 'That's not true! How dare you say that?'
Anani: Oh yeah, it's happened. I recall a time when we said to a factory manager, "You have too much material on your production floor; that's a lot of cash just sitting around." The material manager was in the room. He didn't like it, but it was truly what was happening. Ultimately, we were able to show them how they can reduce the amount of inventory stuck on the floor doing nothing. They ended up saving literally millions of dollars’ worth of on-hand inventory, and that's cash that can be freed to do other things.
Shaughnessy: That's right. Well, it was great talking to you, Farid.
Anani: Thank you.