The History of: Manufacturing – Supply Chain

If you’re anything like me, you’ve likely heard the words and the phrase “supply chain” more this year than ever before. It seems everywhere you go or to everyone you talk to, “the supply chain” comes up in conversation in some way, shape, or form. Whether you’re familiar with it or not, check out this post from PMG, telling you what it is and why it’s important. Then, read on to learn all about the history of supply chains and supply chain management.

What It Was

Prior to any of the industrial revolutions, supply chains were restricted to items available immediately and/or in close proximity to local regions or areas in which people were living. As a result, lifestyles were largely agricultural and worked with what the land could give. However, with each industrial revolution came a little more technology, a little more production, and a lot more transportation. These three things truly changed the way goods were produced and the ways in which goods were shared.

Where It Went

Critical to the supply chain is transportation. Without transportation, we would continue to live and work in societies supported by items easily accessed. With transportation, it’s easier (and faster) to transport goods. Railroads were instrumental to the supply but it wasn’t until the invention of internal combustion engines and cars that we really saw major changes occur. It was at this time in the late 19th century, we saw the invention of the semi-truck and diesel engines for the transport of goods. We also saw progress on the handling of goods by building hand trucks and starting to think about concepts such as the forklift.

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As you can imagine, with the increase in the movement of goods (whether by rail or road), the product intended for a destination needed somewhere to go upon arrival. Therefore, we also saw upticks (and upgrades) in warehouses and storage buildings. With increased ability to store items, we also increased ability to handle items. Therefore, in the early 19th century, the forklift was finally invented, and we started using pallets to store items. Pallets, as simple as they seem, were incredibly important to the supply chain because they allowed product to be stored vertically, requiring less space and also allowing easier movement.

What Took It Further 

Technology changes a lot of things but so do major life events. During World War II, supply chain was absolutely critical. Troops overseas and abroad needed supplies but the question was, how do we get the supplies overseas as quickly as possible? This question is where supply chain (as we know it) truly begins and is the starting point for supply chain engineering, research, and management. As a result, we saw a lot of changes in supply chains including:

  • Pallet, pallet handling, and storage system inventions and development in the 1930s and 1940s
  • The invention of the shipping container and the logistics needed to transport it in the 1950s
  • The use of trucks rather than rail in the 1960s
  • IBM’s invention of a computerized inventory management system in 1967
  • The creation of a real-time WMS (warehouse management system) in 1975 in addition to barcodes and scanners

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But of course, as you know from the industrial revolutions, good is never good enough. It was the 1980s and 1990s that truly advanced supply chain for us. In fact, it was in 1983 that the term “Supply Chain Management” came to life. With the increase in technology, computer, spreadsheets, maps, networking, and overall distribution, supply chains were getting bigger and bigger. Imaginations were going wild with the idea of global supply chains.

What’s Next?

This is where we are at now. With increased manufacturing in countries outside of the US, there are now more suppliers of goods than ever before and from all areas of the world. To manage supply chains on a global level, we now heavily rely on artificial intelligence to perform analysis of supply chain operations so we can accurately forecast. This ultimately allows for better order management. With more data- and network-driven abilities such as real-time monitoring and any new technologies – we continue to produce in this Internet of Things (IoT) world. Supply chains and supply chain management will continue to change.

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach


PMG Technician Spotlight: Tremayne W.

Each of our Technicians bring a set of colorful skills and abilities to help complete tasks. At PMG, we believe that every individual deserves the opportunity for success, and we give credited technicians the resources to flourish.

Our featured technician is Tremayne W. He is an exquisitely talented manufacturing technician who has been in the industry for 29 years! His career began at the age of 18 when he started welding and after some years of experience, he found a job at PMG. When asked what the main reason was for joining PMG, he stated, “Machine operator growth is a reality with PMG.”

Since the start of working with PMG, he’s been able to adapt to different roles, relocate to assignments in other locations, meet countless individuals, and gain new skills. A few abilities that Tremayne has gained since beginning work at PMG include:

  • Forklift and machine operations
  • Problem solving with teammates
  • Leader that individuals can seek for support

Tremayne W. Technician Spotlight Flyer

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Tremayne is proud to show off his abilities to perform multiple tasks when on assignment with PMG. We are thankful to have such a talented individual as a part of our team. If you or anyone you know is a skilled tradesperson and wants to join our team, click here!

It’s Love Your Freckles Day – Monday, November 22nd

While you should love yourself in your entirety, no matter what, I know that’s not always the easiest thing to do.

As a pasty kid growing up in southwestern Minnesota 35+ years ago, I know one thing I struggled to love about me was what my mom always lovingly referred to as ‘angel kisses’. Argh! Had I been able to see those angels, I would have swatted at them with abandon to keep them away from me.

In a family of red heads, freckles were just part of the deal: the norm, ‘the us-us’ as my girls say, status quo. My sisters and I, we all had them and I’m pretty sure we all hated them. As I aged, the freckles on my face lightened and, in my teens, when I started wearing make-up, I was able to almost cover them completely.

Today, it’s my daughter that gets to deal with these annoying little spots that always seem to pop up in the most opportune spaces: the tip of her nose, the space between her nose & her mouth (a mustache of freckles dare I say), and the lids of her eyes.

Honestly, my feelings for freckles have definitely changed through the years. I adore them, especially my daughters, and wish mine hadn’t disappeared.

To all you lucky freckled-face wonders out there – embrace your face (and your shoulders, your knees and wherever else those freckles may land) and celebrate your beauty.

Happy Love Your Freckles Day!

Beth Bangtson, Director of Human Resources

In this edition of How It’s Made, we’ll be talking Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). It’s a pretty hot topic right now. The printed circuit board market is set to reach nearly $68.5 billion worldwide by 2025. At the same time, this industry is set to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7%. Which is fantastic news considering the most recent complications that COVID-19 added to PCB manufacturing and supply chain. With that news, we thought we’d give you some extra insight into just how PCBs are manufactured.

PCBs / Printed Circuit Boards – What Are They?

PCBs are boards that electronically connect electronic components through mechanical support. What does that mean, though? PCBs support electronics and electronic components but do so without wires! How is that possible, you ask? PCB components include pads, tracks, capacitors, and resistors, and more. More on that later, though!

Prior to PCBs, there were point-to-point wired boards. Although these did the job, they would often short-circuit when wire insulation began to age or crack and when wire junctions caused failures. Additionally, electronics became more prevalent in consumer goods over time (as well as cheaper and smaller), leading to the PCB.

PCB Components & Terminology

PCB Components
  1. Batteries: provide the voltage to the circuit.
  2. Resistors: control electrical current/flow through a circuit.
  3. Capacitors: store electrical charge.
  4. Connectors: provide connections of devices to another device.
  5. Diode: provide direction for the current. Current can only travel in one direction.
  6. LEDs: diodes that emit light. Lights up when current flows through it.
  7. Relays/Switches: operate electrically opening/closing circuits, as needed, for current flow.
  8. Transistors: amplify charges.
  9. Inductors: work to oppose any sudden changes in the current.
PCB Terminology
  1. The exposed metal on the surface of the board, where components are soldered are called pads
  2. The thin stencil that lies over the board, allowing solder paste to be deposited in specific areas during assembly is called paste stencil
  3. A way to build boards without requiring the component to have leads for soldering purposes (which are passed through hole boards) is called Surface Mount. This is the dominant type of board used today.
  4. Another way to build boards includes Through Hole. In this way, boards require components to have leads, which are pushed through holes on the board before soldering.
  5. The continuous path of copper on a circuit board is called trace.
  6. The metal that makes the electrical connections between the surface of the board and the electronic components also acts as a strong adhesive for the components. This is called Solder.

PCB Layers

  • PCBs consist of multiple layers of heated and laminated material. Then, the multiple (and various) types of components mentioned above are soldered on to the board (in very specific ways) to allow the electrical charge to flow and guide it to the correct destination.

Board Layers

PCBs consist of multiple layers, with each layer performing a basic function pertinent to the placement of components and for the intended end use.

Layer 1: Base Material
  • Typically, fiberglass. This provides the strength/rigidity of the board and varies in thickness according to end use.
Layer 2: Copper
  • Heat and adhesive laminates a thin copper foil (and copper patterns) to the board. Lamination can occur on one side (single layer boards) or on wo sides (double layer boards). Multi-layer boards will have multiple sets of base material/copper layers.
Layer 3: Solder Mask
  • Next, Solder Mask covers the copper while keeping pads and rings exposed. This is the green part of the board. This insulates the copper and protects it from contact with solder, conductive bits, or other metal.
  • This is the layering on top of soldermask. This adds the letters, numbers, and symbols to the board for easy assembly as well as understanding of the board. Typically, white but can be any color.

The Making of PCBs

The general process for manufacturing PCBs is:

  1. Creating the fiberglass core board.
  2. Laminating copper layers and pattern on top of fiberglass core board.
  3. Bathing the board to remove unwanted copper, leaving only the traces.
  4. Applying soldermask as a protective layer.
  5. Applying silkscreen which provides the pattern for component placement.
    • We now have a bare/blank board.
  6. Adding PCB components.

There are two ways to add PCB components. Hand soldering or SMT machines. I explain both below.

Hand Soldering
  • Boards are blank (or bare) with an outline printed of what types of components go where, to include numbered/labeled components.
  • Solder Technicians hand solder a kit of components to the bare/blank board.
  • Technicians work from print, work instructions, and kitted materials.
  • You can find an example of hand soldering here.
SMT Machine Operations  
  • SMT (Surface Mount Technology)
  • A series of machines operate in a line to manufacture Printed Circuit Boards by pushing bare/blank boards down the line on trays or conveyors. Each build operation (loading, placement, coating, printing, curing, inspection) occurs in a proper sequence. SMT lines increase the speed and quantity of PCB production and are also ideal for less complex boards.  You can find an example of this Machines in this process include do a variety of tasks including placing components on the board, coating/sealing, soldering components, screen printing, melting solder, inspecting, and stacking.
  • You can find an example of SMT Machines here.


Below are two examples of PCBs – blank/bare board and a populated board.

Blank Board
Populated Board


FAQ: What is IPC, IPC -610, and J-Std-001?

PMG provides labor solutions to American manufacturers. That’s what we do in a nutshell and we take the “solution” part seriously. We end up asking a lot of questions to make sure we find the right way to solve the real problem. Actually, our community asks a fair amount of questions, too. In this blog, PMG answers the most common questions.


What we know as IPC commonly is actually IPC International, Inc., (which wasn’t always the legal name). In 1957, a group of six printed circuit board manufacturers got together to create the Institute of Printed Circuits (IPC). The goal of this institute was to create industry standards, support industry advancements, and remove supply chain obstacles (something we all understand even in 2021). In 1999, the organization brought more manufacturers into the group and also stretched into the electronics industry as a whole. With this, the IPC changed it’s name, too. It was now The Institute for Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits. The name changed once again, when the organization gained more influence and exposure. This time to IPC International Inc. or what we call IPC.

The IPC continues to monitor, advance, review, and regulate the electronic industry. It does this by setting standards for the development, testing, and quality of electronics and Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). This includes J-STD-001.


J-STD-001 is formally known as IPC J-STD-001H, which is a mouthful to say so it’s often shortened to J-Standard (J-Std.). This standard ensures companies follow the criteria for soldering processes and materials on a global scale including assembly processes, inspection processes, and testing processes. It ultimately emphasizes process control and process requirements for soldering electronics, to include a required certification by those who are assembling and soldering PCBs.


Do you see a reoccurring theme with these industry standards? They have long, drawn out names and titles. IPC-610 is a shortened version for the IPC-A-610 Endorsement. What does this standard do? It qualifies someone to complete inspections and acceptability tests on electronics and PCBs, verifying that all work performed is to IPC standard (such as J-STD-001).

Interested in More?

As you can imagine, there are MANY more standards that fall into IPC categories, far too many to list. If you’re interested, you can find them here.

Are you IPC-610 or J-STD-001 Certified?

Join our PMG Talent Network.

Have a question of your own?

We want to answer your questions. If you have any questions at all, send them to and we’ll get them answered!

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach