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2700 West Touhy Avenue | Elk Grove Village, Il. 60007 | 800-364-4844 | www.eiconnect.com

When Pratish Patel, president and CEO of Electronic Interconnect (EI), founded his printed circuit board manufacturing company in 1985, it is no accident that he chose to locate it in Elk Grove Village.

"Elk Grove Village is the perfect location for several reasons," says Patel, "including its industry-friendly climate; the support we receive from the local administration; the presence of other PCB companies; and the ease of shipments due to the closeness of O'Hare Airport, which makes us a geographically suitable center to cater to our clients over the entire United States. Also, Elk Grove Village and especially Chicago are very popular places for trade activities and trade shows. The allied industries that we come in contact with through these trade activities help us to serve our customers better."

The choice of Elk Grove Village for his business venture builds on the advantages that Patel considers he already possesses through his residence and education in the United States. He has earned an MS in Physics and a BA in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, as well as an MBA from Purdue University.

"The United States is well-known as the base of innovation," Patel says. "When you combine American innovation with the fragmented nature of the PCB industry, it opens an ideal window of opportunity.

Numerous designers and original equipment manufacturers rely on quality PCB vendors such as EI for their prototypes, and the U. S. is the center for designer and OEM firms. EI also caters to contract manufacturers of high-tech equipment, which are also found in abundance in the U.S."

Electronic Interconnect serves more than 2,000 customers from the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America and Europe out of the same 20,000-square-foot facility at 2700 W. Touhy Avenue in which the company was originally established, although it is currently in the process of expanding the building to 40,000 square feet in order to accommodate its increased growth in operations.

Electronic Interconnect designs and manufactures a variety of printed circuit boards including single-sided, complex multilayer, and surface mount all the way from prototype through production phases. The company employs approximately 100 employees, who all possess manufacturing experience and are all trained to follow the company's stringent quality assurance guidelines.

Electronic Interconnect's commitment to quality control, continuing education, and environmental protection is reflected in the company's certifications and organizational memberships.

EI is ISO 9001:2008-certified, UL-approved, and ITAR-registered. It is also a member of the Chicago Minority Business Council, IPC - Association Connecting Electronic Industries, and the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA). Patel is an IPC Certified Instructor, and was named technical director of the Great Lakes Chapter of SMTA. In 2007, Electronic Interconnect also won the Illinois Governor's Pollution Prevention (P2) Award for outstanding pollution prevention efforts.

Electronic Interconnect also prides itself on its customer service.

"Customer satisfaction is key for customer retention, and EI has time and again found numerous ways to cater to our customers," says Patel. "We focus on 'Made in America' quality PCBs that are manufactured at market competitive prices and delivered on time. We also offer complete engineering services; PCB design assistance; a new Website with a complete quote engine for on-line ordering; new-age technologies in thermal management, which is always a key challenge in PCB design; and a range of complimentary services such as board spacers and stencils.

"As an ISO-certified supplier, EI constantly measures on-time delivery and customer satisfaction," Patel continues. "We recently reached a 98.7% customer satisfaction rating, and a 98.5% on-time delivery rating. We won't stop until we reach 100%."

Innovative manufacturing processes, quality engineering, and well-trained labor are the keys to reviving manufacturing in the United States, according to Pratish Patel of Electronic Interconnect.

"The process of innovation leads to new industries, new companies, and the growth of companies," says Patel. "The United States is a leader in innovation with a creative, culturally-diverse workforce, so we should do everything we can to encourage and promote innovation in manufacturing. The development of new products and services that is fostered by innovation, combined with American productivity and the recent increased labor costs that many overseas manufacturing companies are experiencing, are the main factors that can lead to the recovery of manufacturing in the United States and help to make it cost competitive again."

Of course, new ideas and new products are not enough if they are not backed up by quality, Patel continues.

"Quality engineering is about analyzing your manufacturing process to make sure that certain standards are met in every single stage of the product," Patel says, "from design to manufacturing to assembly and testing and finally to the supply and distribution processes. It involves establishing the proper quality management system, making sure that all of your employees are trained to strictly follow the processes in that system, performing final tests and checks of the finished product, and continually working on improvement. This process results in enhanced reliability and increased production, which leads to fewer defects and improved customer satisfaction. It also contributes to worker safety and the elimination of waste. All of these things ultimately play a role in increasing your profitability."

The automation of certain manufacturing processes can also play a part in quality improvement, Patel says, not by replacing human labor but by helping humans to perform their jobs better.

"Using automation for certain procedures in the manufacturing process can increase efficiency, productivity, and reliability," says Patel. "It frees up workers to carry out other job tasks; helps improve things such as accuracy, speed and repetitive motions; and reduces production time. The appropriate use of automation can help increase the net output of your human workforce without any increase in labor costs."

Properly trained employees are also essential to the quality and productivity that results in effective manufacturing.

"Training familiarizes workers with any new skills they need to perform their jobs," says Patel. "Any investments you make in training your employees will be paid back many times over."
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