Should and Shall: Not Just for Standards

May IPC Review Editorial From IPC President Denny McGuirk

Since the IPC APEX EXPO show, we’ve had a dynamic e-mail correspondence with a member of the industry media that began with the phrase, “IPC should develop a standard on … The industry needs it.”

Over the years, members and nonmembers have shared their beliefs on “what IPC should do,” from holding workshops on solder mask to stopping RoHS. Unfortunately, what some folks really mean is “someone else, somewhere else should solve my problem.” IPC can certainly facilitate new initiatives and/or problem-solving, but the most effective outcomes come about when individuals with personal stakes take responsibility and join in solving the problem.

As an example, for many years, the North American PCB industry expressed concerns about trade and competitive issues. Last year, however, many of the Industry’s top companies formed the IPC Executive Agent Task Group, created the Defense Industry Roadmap and made important inroads with the Department of Defense. Now, they are developing an intellectual property standard with many key OEMs engaged in document development.

IPC’s Solder Products Value Council originally met to find ways to get recognized within the industry and make it clear that solder was not a commodity. In the past five years, they’ve published white papers, done extensive technical testing on lead-free alloys and held educational events.

Unfortunately, the passing-the-buck attitude is often confronted as we initiate public policy efforts. I would ask all industry members — instead of letting the “other guy do it,” how about stepping up and being the “other guy”? In a few weeks, IPC will host Capitol Hill Day featuring a dynamite line-up of speakers and more importantly, an opportunity for members to meet with their elected officials to advocate for legislation that helps the PCB and electronics assembly industries.

Volunteerism can be extremely rewarding. At the show, we recognized nearly 140 volunteers who contributed to new standards. None of these individuals waited for “IPC to do it.” In publishing the new J-STD-001 and IPC-A-610, our volunteers logged an estimated 1,450 person-days — including 12,000 hours of face to face meeting time. And that doesn’t even include time spent offline providing data or edits outside of the meetings. IPC-6012C and IPC-A-600H had many meeting days and six months of weekly two-hour teleconferences — another example of extraordinary effort. Not all volunteer work is so time-intensive, but all efforts take the industry one critical step forward.

We are fortunate to have so many in our industry willing to come together on standards and industry projects. With your continued help, IPC shall continue to be a dynamic and exciting organization.

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