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'PCB Vendor put to the test....'
2002\09\04@170327 by Chris Loiacono

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I have previously touted the fine work and service I have received from
Advanced Circuits (4pcb.com) on this list. Today they have created a
situation that really puts them to the test.
Whether they do the right thing or not, I will report back with the results.

Here's the deal. I now use the full Eagle package for CAD & CAM. I had to,
however update an old board that was done a couple of years ago on Ivex
WinDraft & WinBoard and It was a much quicker. The Ivex tools are clunky,
but I was able to add the needed update quickly, and the job is a definite
rush.

When discussing the fab job with my Sales Rep., I reminded him that my old
CAM system does not generate mask files, and that in the past they had
always inverted the pad stacks to produce masks. Lo & behold, my $400 -
order of boards arrived this AM w/o solder mask! There are too many
supporting details to list herein.

UPS fouled up & held the package for pick-up, which delayed my receiving the
package until nearly 1PM, (OK, not Advanced Circuit's fault). I immediately
phoned my rep, who isn't in today. His assistant said that they can re-run
them in one day, and that I would get an answer in 1 or 2 hours. 4 1/2 hours
later I received a call from a customer service person who tried to blame me
for the error in a number of ways. Then, 30 minutes later, an Engineer
called, started to blame me, then finally listened and is now setting out to
re-run the boards. He admitted that they had changed their policy on solder
mask generation recently. (Thanks for telling me!) He says it's up to
someone else to decide how fast they will re-run them now.

I told them that if I can't get them by Friday that they would be worth
nothing to me.

I am livid because they have always done the right thing without even
arguing.
Do you think it's the pressure of the economy, are the wheels coming off at
Advanced Circuits, Inc.? Or is this just a fluke and it happened at the
worst possible time. (These are beta's for a 7-digit deal for my little
company.)

The big question on my mind now is: Will Advanced Circuits as a whole come
through and do the right thing? I expect & hope so, I just didn't expect the
argument- so I'm a bit frazzled by the response thus far.
So my input on the most
What's the consensus on this possibility?

Chris

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2002\09\04@182429 by M. Adam Davis

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Well, if they are like any other business then I expect that this was a
hiccup.  If your sales rep was in today you probably wouldn't have had a
single issue getting the boards rerun.

As it was you had to deal with people who didn't know you and they have
to be cautious lest they are taken in a scam.

But I certianly understand how it feels to be at the raw end of a stick
like this.  Hopefully your sales rep will be in tomorrow and can at
least smooth some of these issues out.

It's too bad you didn't leave more time for board production than you
did.  Rush jobs are always a pain - you must be under great pressure...

Good luck!

-Adam

Chris Loiacono wrote:

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2002\09\04@205652 by fred jones

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I have always been satisfied with Advanced Circuits but I've always supplied
files that were ready to go with nothing special needing to be done.  The
only thing they've done that I didn't like was increasing their prototype
minimum.  At this point, if I had 7 digits riding on these boards, I would
be down at my local PCB maker looking over their shoulders as they were
making them at whatever the cost!
Good Luck and keep us posted...


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2002\09\05@011504 by Dale Botkin

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If it's a BIG deal for your company, I'd personally recommend telling them
you'll pay whqtever it takes to get them done when you need them, then try
to get an adjustment when your salesdroid is back.  When your own guys are
gone, money speaks loudly and either they'll make the adjustment or not,
but if not at least you've got the betas made and you can send the
production somewhere else (and tell them why).

Dale
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Your ass will be laminated.

On Wed, 4 Sep 2002, Chris Loiacono wrote:

> I have previously touted the fine work and service I have received from
> Advanced Circuits (4pcb.com) on this list. Today they have created a
> situation that really puts them to the test.
> Whether they do the right thing or not, I will report back with the results.
>
>

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2002\09\05@054538 by Alan B. Pearce

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>I am livid because they have always done the right thing
>without even arguing.

>Do you think it's the pressure of the economy, are the wheels
>coming off at Advanced Circuits, Inc.? Or is this just a fluke
>and it happened at the worst possible time.

It sounds to me more like a case of getting used to a system where all masks
are provided, as done by the newer tools, and then having to add in a step
because an older tool did not provide the mask causes a hiccup. Did the
order have an annotation in big red letters that this was required?

>(These are beta's for a 7-digit deal for my little company.)

have you told them this? If they new that it was a forerunner to a possible
large order, then that may put the pressure on them to get their skates on.

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2002\09\05@193251 by Chris Loiacono

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I was surprised that the CS Rep assumed that I was trying to scam them.
After hearing all the Eng Rep's excuses, and calmly explaining that if they
change S.O.P. without notifying customers thatthey shouldn't pass the
responsibility.
In any case, after a few minutes of discussion, the masks were generated and
the same CS Rep phoned back with an apology, asking if I would like to see
the boards on the 5:30 or 7:00 PM flight!
I told them that I was reasonable, and that AM delivery the following day
would be just fine.
As long as these boards actually show up in the AM I would say that they did
the right thing.

I don't know if my sales Rep would have made it any easier - he has
developed the practice of speaking in generalities - which is not acceptable
in an Engineer's world.

C

> {Original Message removed}

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