The days that you can get away with shipping low-quality electronics are quickly ending. The mass-produced electronics boom of the 80s and 90s lasted surprisingly long, but now, quality in production is of increasing concern. With more and more Internet-empowered consumers sharing their experiences online, word on poorly-produced products gets out faster than ever.
Choosing the right electronic contract manufacturer is one of the surest guarantees you can get for quality in your electronics builds. A modern facility using state of the art manufacturing processes along with robust supply chain management and testing procedures can help you create a product that's better than your engineers ever imagined.
If you want an electronic contract manufacturer who will be a partner in bringing the best products possible to market, rather than a plant that just churns out products with little regard for quality, here are some traits you should look for.
Getting The Best Products From Your Electronic Contract Manufacturer
Look for references. There will be no better testament to the quality of the outsourced manufacturer you're considering than good old-fashioned references and cases studies from happy past clients. Even raw data doesn't tell as full a story as seeing a detailed look at how they responded to specific challenges and what came of it.
Find a manufacturer with certifications. In virtually every area of electronics manufacturing, from aviation to medicine, there are specialty certifications that establish competency among manufacturers. Looking for a factory with credentials which match your industry will go a long way towards guaranteeing a high-quality product.
Engineering design services. Top-tier electronic contract manufacturers don't simply produce widgets based on your specifications. They have a team of engineers to look over your designs, fine-tune them, and optimize them. Very often, a good outsourced production facility can find ways of improving quality while decreasing component use.
Testing services. You don't want to bring a product to market in this environment without significant testing. Look for a manufacturer with robust testing facilities who can test your product before, during, and after production to ensure the least waste and the least after-sales support.
Financial stability. Try to do a little homework on your outsourced facility and find out if it looks like they can keep paying the bills. Contract electronics manufacturing requires a lot of liquid capital, as jobs often aren't paid for until they are delivered. Having your production run halt midway through the process because your factory ran out of cash would be disastrous to a product launch.
Flexible supply chains. One of the biggest issues with going offshore for your manufacturing are the long supply pipelines involved, which make it difficult to quickly
change strategies in the face of a market shift. With products waxing and waning in popularity over a matter of weeks, you need to be able to respond quickly to changes in demand. Don't pick a manufacturer who will require months to be able to change their procedures or ramp up production to meet your needs.
Guaranteed parts sourcing. Don't allow your new product to get filled with questionable components from unsavory sources. The use of counterfeit, bootleg, or simply substandard parts is one of the biggest problems in consumer electronics today. Your manufacturing facility should have supply chain solutions in place that allow them to guarantee only authentic, tested parts in your production run.
When you're outsourcing production, your product is only going to be as good as the facility you hire to manufacture it. Don't simply follow the crowd and go with the cheapest factory you can find; the hidden costs involved will add up more quickly than you would expect.
An electronic contract manufacturer who values high-quality production and stands by their finished products is your best bet for making headway in the current electronics market.