The PCB Norsemen: Merging the Best of Both Worlds—Young Superheroes and Knowledgeable Wizards!

Didrik_Bech.jpgA statement often seen on LinkedIn is as follows: “Your company is only as extraordinary as your people.” It’s no wonder why this saying is so popular because it is true. Any company is only as great as the people who embody it, ensure that strategies are developed and implemented, and bend over backward to create value for the customer and ultimately the company. Another old saying is, “Happy wife=happy life.” The same goes for your employees; keep them happy, and they will take care of your customers.

The Most Important Asset in Any Company

Companies that dare be true to themselves, trust their employees, and provide direction, freedom, and responsibility to their most important asset—namely, their employees—are more likely to succeed. However, we can all rattle behind these positive words and agree with these statements. The real question is, “How do you actually create and sustain an environment that motivates and attracts people in the wave of Industry 4.0?"

The users of technology are changing, and at Elmatica, we go all the way back to 1971. It doesn’t make us dinosaurs yet, but it indicates that we have been able to do just this—create and sustain an environment for motivating and attracting new ideas and talent. Every generation has renewed enthusiasm, creativity, and skills—some are new innovations, some are improvements of existing technologies, and others are disruptive[1].

Industry 4.0 is an automatic exchange of data between systems, and millennials are the first generation practically brought up with technical devices in all forms and facets of life. Consequently, they have the most experience and confidence working with technology along with familiarity with allowing machines to operate independently of active human interaction. This, combined with the technological development over the last 50 years, paves the way for Industry 4.0, AI, automation, and smart factories.

New Decade, New Approach

When I was a student and received my first job, the most important thing was to get a paycheck, offering me the freedom to do more of what I found interesting. But today’s youngsters seem to have a different approach. Money and security are still vital parameters, but according to one report [2], they also seek to be part of the bigger picture. Values, flexibility, freedom, time off, and working with interesting and open-minded people is essential for millennials. Essentially, it’s important for them to enjoy work, but it’s more important to feel that the job has a purpose[3].

So, how can we attract millennials, keep them happy, let them develop, and blossom so that one can explore the possibilities of Industry 4.0 and simultaneously deliver on your existing projects, which in many cases, are still paying the bills? You need to create a company that appeals to millennials in relation to their background, experience and how they see the world. The beauty is that this doesn’t conflict with how development has been conducted in the past, but you can’t just say you will do it—now, you actually have to deliver. Here are five tips to help.

1. Ensure Security

We all want security. If you’re lying awake at night, wondering if you will have a job tomorrow, you will never produce at your top level. Your finances should be in order, although one should also notice that the new generation is often willing to be compensated in other ways, such as stocks if they believe in your values and ideas. This is a viable option for attracting the right candidates and can be implemented for both existing and new companies by either setting up new subsidiaries or offering them a stock option program.

2. Be Univocally Clear About Your Company’s Values

What are your company’s values, and what do they actually mean? How do you measure their use, and how should they guide the decision-making process in your company? This is where many companies fail. Fancy, show-off values with no connection to reality will not help. Are you wondering if your values are present amongst all employees? Simply ask, “What are our values, and when did you last actively use them to solve a challenge?” If what you get is blurry or uncertain, you are missing the cornerstone of your foundation—your values.

3. Have a Defined Mission

To induce motivation and cooperation, people need to know exactly what the mission and purpose of the company are. This might sound banal, but a clear and motivating mission statement, explaining what your business is aiming to be best at, is not as common as one might assume. Millennials want to be part of something bigger than themselves; they want to contribute to shaping the world and know how to get there. This is why a strategy for your environmental impact is important. To attract millennials with the experience and skill set your business needs to succeed in the wave of Industry 4.0, you need to tell them where you are going.

4. Set Clear, Inspiring Goals

Essential to all companies, goals should inspire and create a sense of fulfillment and happiness once achieved. People must identify with and be inspired by your company’s goals. Very few are inspired by financial values, quotas, and efficiency goals. However, having concrete, measurable, and inspiring goals will attract people who can identify with them. Perhaps the most famous goal every stated was by John F. Kennedy: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. Because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one that we intend to win, and the others too.” This is a concrete, finite, measurable, and common goal that brings people together and helps them feel like a part of the bigger picture—the key to attracting millennials.

5. Understand Millennials’ Needs and Work Requirements

Millennials with skills crucial for developing equipment and processes for Industry 4.0 know that they are in great demand and that there is a shortage of supply. If you can ensure security and deliver on values, mission, and goals, then the final touch is to understand millennials’ needs and work requirements. This has previously been solved by offering financial compensation; however, millennials are not primarily motivated by the financial aspect. Flexibility, vacation, maternity leave, and interesting tasks are often more motivating. Millennials are specifically interested in gaining access to knowledgeable and experienced colleagues learning how they can digitize their current process into Industry 4.0.

Creating an environment where sharing knowledge and experience is appreciated will be beneficial to a company because all parties will learn from each other. For example, Altium ensured this with great success by hosting AltiumLive events, attracting lots of young designers to their last event in Munich where attendees could design, play, share, and develop their skills.

Merging the best of both worlds—new talent, or young superheroes, with experienced industry leaders, or knowledgeable wizards—and achieving a good work-life balance based on flexibility and knowledge will create loyalty and trust, and those are the only two currencies you should want to have.

References

1. “Disruptive innovation,” a term coined by Clayton Christensen.

2. “Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision—Facts, Figures, and Practical Advice From Workforce Experts,” Manpower-Group, 2016.

3. Hansen, M. T. Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More, Simon & Schuster, 2018.

Didrik Bech is Elmatica’s CEO.

This column was originally published in the April 2019 issue of PCB007 Magazine.

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2019

The PCB Norsemen: Merging the Best of Both Worlds—Young Superheroes and Knowledgeable Wizards!

05-29-2019

Companies that dare be true to themselves, trust their employees, and provide direction, freedom, and responsibility to their most important asset—namely, their employees—are more likely to succeed. However, we can all rattle behind these positive words and agree with these statements. The real question is, “How do you actually create and sustain an environment that motivates and attracts people—especially millennials—in the wave of Industry 4.0?"

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The PCB Norsemen: My Flexible Story—Flex Circuit Development Through the Decades

04-30-2019

Senior Technical Advisor Jan Pedersen is celebrating 26 years at Elmatica. In this column, he shares his thoughts from his long experience in this exciting industry, and talks about those things that have changed a lot in the past few decades, and the others that haven't.

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A PCB Broker’s Guide Through the Galaxy of Automation

04-05-2019

A smart factory is defined by its ability to harness manufacturing data flowing throughout the enterprise and then convert that data into intelligent information that can be used to create improvements in productivity, efficiency, savings, yields, automation, enabled traceability, compliance, and reduced risk of errors and rework. All of these items are crucial factors when manufacturing printed circuits.

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The PCB Norsemen: Technology’s Future Comes Together—A Great Slogan for Us All!

02-13-2019

“Technology’s Future Comes Together” was the theme of this year's IPC APEX EXPO, which is quite suitable during these changing times. I guess we all need to come together, especially the automotive industry.

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The PCB Norsemen: PCB Standards for Medical Device Applications—A Hard Nut to Crack!

02-04-2019

With digitalization, AI, and IoT, the traceability and transparency to how a PCB is produced will be even more important. We must rule out the PCBs that follow the standards to the ones that do not. The day will come when you or someone you know might need a medical device, and you want to make sure it does its job correctly.

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2018

Digital Specs for Automated Manufacturing: Find the Missing Link!

11-29-2018

Automation and connected smart factories are the new manufacturing trend. Industry 4.0 and the Internet of things (IoT) continue to enter PCB manufacturing. However, if we continue down the same path with specifications and requirements written on electronic papers and unintelligent production files, human interpretation is still crucial to avoid mistakes. CircuitData could solve this problem because having one language for automated smart factories is the future!

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PCB Norsemen: The Solution to the UL Challenge—Industrial Awareness

08-28-2018

Writes Jan Pedersen: The solder-limit subject has been a "hot potato" for a quite some time, with many discussions around the new requirement from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) that UL’s Emma Hudson brought to attention in early 2018.

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The PCB Norsemen: Lean Challenges—Standard vs. Non-Standard Products

08-06-2018

Writes Didrick Bech: People tend to treat standard and non-standard products in the same way; however, they represent two parallel product segments and consequently different challenges for your Lean manufacturing process, especially in relation to production and logistical operations. When you fail to differentiate the processing of standard and non-standard products, not only is the Lean manufacturing process disrupted, but you also introduce a variety of production, financial and logistical challenges.

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07-02-2018

PCB Norseman, Jan Pedersen: Driving a car is probably one of the areas where the user comes in direct touch with the technology development. And we understand the speed when we see how fast we get new versions of smartphones and other gadgets. But in what direction are we going?

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2017

Industry 4.0, AI and CircuitData

11-14-2017

PCB Norseman, Andreas Lydersen: As automation works its way onto the shop floors, it still struggles to replace humans in the supporting roles, such as designers, purchasers, brokers, and back-office staff. Where automation on the shop floor replaces humans in doing repetitive manual tasks, the supporting roles (at least some of them) require intelligence to understand and utilise information.

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