Contract Electronics Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Blog

What Can Your Contract Electronics Manufacturer Do For You?

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Tue, Mar 03, 2015 @ 07:00 PM

pcb repairNo matter how well things are going for your electronics company, there may come a time when you need the assistance of a contract manufacturer. While there are many different manufacturers that would love to gain your business, however, they may not all offer the same services or even the same quality of work. Unfortunately, the majority of electronics companies don't have any idea what they should be looking for or expect from a contract manufacturer.

This lack of knowledge can lead to negative partnerships that don't fulfill your needs or end up costing you more money that you actually need to spend for services rendered. In an effort to help you find the best contractor for the job, here's a look at the things that the very best contract electronics manufacturers can do for you.

Create and Improve Designs

Your contract electronics manufacturer should actually be able to do more than simply produce the boards. Instead, they should employ a team of skilled engineers who are able to take your project specifications and create a design schematic from scratch, or even take a look at your existing designs to pinpoint where money and time-saving improvements can be made.

Develop Prototypes

Having the ability to create a working prototype for your clients is imperative to earning their trust, business, and loyalty. In many cases, the development process is on a very strict timeline, and in order to meat deadlines, you may need to solicit the help of a contract manufacturer. In this case, you need to be certain that your contractor has the skill and ability to take care of such a pertinent task.

Utilize Quality Partselectronic manufacturing company

After designs have been put together for your boards or prototypes, it's extremely important that the boards are assembled with only the highest quality parts. Offshoring your business could mean that your contractor puts the board together with units that are not approved for use here in the United States, or that counterfeit supplies are utilized. A well-established contract manufacturer will use only the best parts and will have relationships with suppliers, meaning that they will be able to get the best and lowest prices possible.

Remove Some of Your Burden

In some cases, your business may simply be swamped with orders. The problem is that switching back and forth between completing large and small batches can be very inefficient and can waste a great deal of time. While you don't want to lose larger clients as you work on smaller orders, you also don't want the little guys to be left behind. In this case, you can contract out some of your smaller orders to an electronics manufacturing service so that some of your burden is alleviated. 

Test Boards

After boards have been assembled, your electronics contract manufacturer should take the time to test them for quality and functionality. This will ensure a high quality finished project for end users. 

Troubleshoot and Repair

In the event that something goes wrong with a board, there's no need to throw the whole thing out and start from scratch. The best contract manufacturers will offer fulfillment services wherein boards are tested for defects and the problems are directly addressed and repaired. 

After all has been said and done, your contract electronics manufacturer should be willing and able to help you with your processes from start to finish. Enjoying the peace of mind that your board development and production will be the best it can be from the design phase through to customer fulfillment services will enable you to gain a competitive edge over other businesses.


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Topics: contract electronics manufacturer, assembly electronics, Contract Electronics Assembly

3 Tasks To Expect From A PCB Assembly Manufacturer

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 @ 06:00 PM

pcb-contractors1Although many small to medium sized electronics companies come to the realization that they wouldbenefit from the assistance of a third party manufacturer, most do not have any idea what it is that they should actually expect from such an operation. But without a good idea with regards to what your PCB assembly manufacturer should be doing for you, how can you be sure that you are getting the best return on your investment? To enable you to feel confident that you are getting the most bang for your buck, here are three tasks that you should always expect your contract manufacturing partner to complete.

1. Improve Product Efficiency and Effectiveness

If your business already has a team of qualified and skilled designers and engineers, you will require more of your PCB assembly manufacturer than the ability to develop design schematics. Although, in some instances, you may delegate this task to your contract manufacturing partner in an effort to save time and money, it would be more to your benefit to utilize the industry experience of the agency's employees to evaluate your current designs and improve upon them. In many cases, your contract manufacturer may find ways to cut down on the amount of parts or materials that must be utilized to complete your concept, thus saving your business a great deal of money in the long run. Additionally, your partner may be able to point out fundamental flaws in your plan that your team previously did not notice, find new and effective ways to resolve problems that your company has been facing with a particular product, or show you how to take your device to a while new level.

2. Provide the Best Materials and Technology

If your company is relatively new, or is smaller than the majority of your competitors, you may be faced with the challenge of establishing good relationships with parts suppliers, or the inability to purchase the latest and greatest machinery and technology that is required for the design and manufacture process. By establishing a contract with a reputable, established PCB assembly manufacturer, you can easily bypass these hurdles and keep up with all of the "major league" players. Your contract manufacturer will have been in the industry long enough to have built up strong partnerships with suppliers, meaning that you will always get the best deals on high quality parts and equipment. Additionally, you will not be faced with the task of purchasing expensive equipment. Instead, you will have the ability to take advantage of the state-of-the-art tools and machinery that your manufacturer has in their possession. In this way, you can rest assured that you will always be able to develop and produce the best products possible, so that your customers will remain satisfied and loyal to your business in the many years ahead.

pcb assembly3. Offer Comprehensive Fulfillment Services

The work of a great PCB assembly manufacture is not finished after the initial production of your electronic devices. Instead, the best manufacturing companies will be more than happy to provide testing and fulfillment services that will see you and your customers through to the very end. To begin with, all of the devices produced should be thoroughly tested for both operability and functionality to ensure that each product will meet consumer expectations in a way that is safe and effective. Any underlying issues should be pinpointed through troubleshooting and repaired promptly. Additionally, your contract manufacturer should offer to provide flexible and customized solutions for your product throughout all phases of its life cycle. This should extend to a direct customer ship and repair return depot which will ensure that devices are fixed and sent back to clients faster, and that the need for expensive warranty replacements is eliminated. 

By demanding these three things from your PCB assembly manufacturer, you are sure to enjoy the highest possible level of success in your business. 


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Topics: contract manufacturing company, Contract Electronics Assembly

American Contract Manufacturers Can Take You All The Way

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 @ 06:00 PM

assembly_solutions1It's hardly a surprise that following a decade or two of using low-cost, low-frills overseas assembly plants that electronics companies would want more from their contract manufacturers.  It's a new market these days, with a much better-informed customer base who demand higher quality from their products.

Also, over the years, the ROI on overseas production has dropped rapidly.  Between cost-of-living increases, supply line difficulties, and communications problems, Asian production centers are now nearly at parity with onshore electronics manufacturing.  

Plus, American manufacturers haven't been sitting on their heels.  They've been steadily upgrading their factories and adding services you can't get overseas.  A modern domestic assembly partner can assist in every aspect of product creation, from initial design all the way through to post-sale support.  

The result is a full package of services that make American contract manufacturers a superior option.

Local Contract Manufacturers Bring Far More Benefits

1 - R&D And Prototyping

If all your company has is an idea a domestic manufacturer can still see your product become reality.  Extensive R&D and prototyping services can quickly build test platforms, add or remove features, and refine your concept until it creates a product that fits your market profile.

2 - Design Optimization

Few good designs can't be made better, especially with the latest in manufacturing technologies involved.  When you partner with an electronics assembler with latest-generation equipment and skills, they can very often reduce the size, weight, or component count in existing designs.

The result is a better product at less cost to you.  A little money spent optimizing and prototyping beforehand can pay off with big savings on the main production run.

3 - System Software

Few overseas electronics manufacturers provide their own system software to match the devices, and would you necessarily want them to?  However, today's American electronics firms can provide all the software you need, designed to exactly match the specs of the device being produced.  

This eliminates the need to contract out the software, cutting another middleman out of the process.

4 - Bankable Certifications

Thanks to much more robust regulations on western electronics manufacturers, you have a lot more guaranteed security that you've got a partner who's truly capable.  Major electronics certifications don't come easily, and they're usually one of the most reliable indicators available of a company's competency.

And if the company is certified to send electronics on NASA missions, they're going to be well-equipped to handle your terrestrial needs too.

5 - Extensive Failure Analyses

No piece of electronics lasts forever, and every component on a board has a certain lifespan.  When working with a company that has controlled supply lines, they can predict with great accuracy both the average lifespan and average failure rate of every component on the board.

In turn, this can be used to pre-stock components likely to become needed in post-sale contract-electronic-manufacturingsupport, eliminating costly special production runs to correct for defects.

6 - High Mix Capacity

Right now, you can't release just one version of a product to the market.  The customer demand for personalization makes it a near-necessity to have several variations in a range of colors, sizes, capabilities, and whatever else is trendy among buyers.

Relatively few overseas suppliers are prepared to produce a wide mix of final products from similar specs.  It usually involves retooling the plant at great expense for each run, whereas domestic facilities processes optimized for multiple simultaneous runs.

7 - Repair And Support Services

Another major waste that often occurs with overseas production involves support costs.  It's just not cost-effective to send products overseas for repair, not to speak of the timeframes involved.  So, companies using oversea manufacturing generally just hand out new products in any defect.

Why waste good products?  Domestic manufacturers can support and repair their own electronics, vastly reducing the cost of warranty claims.

You truly can get a lot more for your money from American electronics manufacturing.  Contact ZenTech today to learn more

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Topics: manufacturing services, Contract Electronics Assembly

Creating Electronic Manufacturing Solutions

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Finding new ways to make your manufacturing even more efficient and cost effective doesn'telectronic-manufacturing-solutions have to mean doing tons of paperwork and data gathering to find all of the perfect solutions. Sometimes those solutions are staring you right in the face and all it takes is utilizing them for your own projects. This is especially true for electronic manufacturing solutions, as people continue to rise the demand of electronic manufacturing and practically everything continues to become dependent on electronics. 

In order to keep up with all of that demand, you need to be able to change your efficiency and budgeting as fast as possible. And to help with that, here are some assembly solutions you can consider right now.

US-based Manufacturing Companies

The comeback kid for the next few years is going to be manufacturing jobs in the United States, especially in the electronics industry. Apple has already brought back part of their manufacturing workforce from China to the US, and other big name electronic companies are sure to follow suit. However, there are some electronic manufacturing companies that never left and continue to provide quality and inexpensive services to their clients, and these are the exact companies perfect for your electronic manufacturing solutions.

What exactly can you expect from a US-based electronic manufacturing business?

  • Quality components and parts being used in every single batch order, which lessens the risk of potential counterfeit or faulty parts that are common overseas. You don't have to worry about the hazards of lower quality materials when everything is operated in the United States.

  • Direct contact and easy communication with the staff producing all of your orders, without having to deal with Time Zones halfway across the world. Get the answers you need, right when you need them.

  • Better bang for your buck, contrary to what you might believe. Overseas manufacturing might have worked in the past, but, it is becoming increasingly better and cost efficient to bring everything back home for both the manufacturers and buyers.

Any US-based electronic manufacturing company can provide the best solutions to fit your individual needs, but it takes more than just the things stated above. Finding the highest rated manufacturing company takes time and research and figuring what exactly you want to see from your professional partnership.

First, you must figure out what kind of electronic manufacturing solutions you are in need of. From there, you can short list certain companies and find the perfect fit. Some requirements to consider are fast turn-around, inexpensive prototyping, and compliant testing for all of your orders.

PCB-manufacturingTransparency In Business

People talk of transparency in business all the time, especially now that customers have the freedom to voice their opinions of companies publically on social media websites. That is why it's very important for any kind of company, even an electronic manufacturing one, to have an open and transparent relationship with all of their clients.

This also provides the best kind of solutions for you, because everything can be understood and known up front on what is expected from the work involved. You will know what kind of processes all of your components will go through, the kinds of people working on them, and the exact cost so you don't go way over budget. Solutions go hand-in-hand with transparency, both need each other to thrive, so find yourself a company that believes in transparency in business for the best results.

Topics: contract electronic manufacturing, pcb assembly, Contract Electronics Assembly, Electronic Manufacturing Solutions

Precision Essential For Electronic Manufacturing Company

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Mar 05, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

When some companies look into outsourcing their electronic manufacturing company, especially to overseas, they tend to see it as a “fire and forget” solution. Or, perhaps, it's more that they want to look at it that way. After all, in business, it's always a relief when you can hire an expert to take over a time-consuming task for you and feel reasonably assured they'll do a good job. (Remember when you could finally afford a CPA? Or even your own janitor?)

This is one of the biggest lures of outsourcing manufacturing: the idea that you can draw up electronic-manufacturing-companysome design specs, ship them off to China, and then have stacks of product arrive at your door a couple months later with little other intervention needed.

Unfortunately, the reality is usually far from that. Especially when you're dealing with low-cost manufacturers – at home or abroad – they often have a tendency to overstate their own capabilities. Specifically, they lack the equipment needed for precision work that's so necessary for modern mass manufacturing, but you often don't realize this until it's too late.

In some fields, this isn't a major deal. After all, plenty of people still buy IKEA shelves, even though those holes and pegs never quite match up as smoothly as one might like. However, for an electronic manufacturing company, precision is supreme. If they can't deliver it, you're likely to lose money.

Cut-Rate Electronic Manufacturing Companies Just Don't Cut It Anymore

When you hire an electronics firm to produce your latest gadget, the precision of their equipment and their processes (or lack thereof) will make all the difference to whether your investment pays off, or is a waste of time. Production errors can quickly wipe out any cost savings found through outsourced electronics companies.

We're fond of pointing at the example of Sleek Audio, who lost millions of dollars due to poor Chinese manufacturing. A single batch of ruined product nearly ruined the company itself.contract manufacturing Yet, after moving production back to America, with in a couple years they had become a CES Award-Winning innovator. That's the difference precision electronic manufacturing makes.

Or, consider Samsung's shipping delay woes with the Galaxy S3 early last year. While they never officially confirmed it, the universal industry scuttlebutt is that their manufacturing plant botched approximately 600,000 phones. Let's just repeat that: 600,000 ruined phones, which (based on other phone production costs) likely cost between $150-$180 to manufacture in the first place.

That's a lot of money that could have been saved, had they gone with an electronics manufacturer who could deliver what was ordered the first time. You then wouldn't have to worry about finding the right electronics repair services company.

Precision Means Peace of Mind

The physics of modern electronics manufacture demand high-quality manufacturing equipment. When you're dealing with manufacturing processes based in microns (one-millionth of a meter), precision is simply essential. This is circuitry so finely-laid that mistakes the size of a pushpin's tip can ruin a product.

So, when you're looking for an electronic manufacturing company, here are some things you want to see:

  • Certified adherence to internationally-recognized standards and capabilities.

  • A modern facility with the latest in assembly, rebake, and testing procedures.

  • Robust supply chain management that keeps counterfeit parts out of your build.

  • Testimonials or case studies demonstrating their prowess.electronic-manufacturer

  • Post-sale fulfillment services that show a willingness to stand by their results.

  • Full testing services throughout the manufacturing process.

You pay a little more for these services, but think of it as manufacturing insurance. When you go with an inexpensive electronics assembly firm, you're always taking a risk. You don't know whether they'll be able to deliver what's promised, and if they can't, you are the one who are going to be out a lot of time and money.

The smart option is to be prepared beforehand. Pick the right partner, an electronic manufacturing company that focuses on precision in its products, and you'll save plenty in costs in the long run.

Topics: electronic manufacturing company, contract electronic manufacturing, pcb assembly, Contract Electronics Assembly

Electronic Contract Manufacturing Company Focuses on Process, Quality

Posted by Laura Austin on Sat, Jan 19, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

PCB-assemblyWhen looking for the perfect contract electronics manufacturing company to take care of all of your manufacturing needs, whether it is PCBs or otherwise, it is always wise to do your research and find out what companies holds the quality of the process as one of their highest priorities. Contrary to popular belief, not all manufacturing companies are compliant with certain standards or might not truly do a quality job of manufacturing components despite what they might market.

So, how can you tell when a company truly believes in quality over quantity and won't just hand over faulty pieces? There are some signs to look out for when you start your search on an electronic manufacturing company, all of them listed below.

Parts With Integrity

One of the most costly mistakes that any business outsourcing their electronics manufacturing can face is faulty components and parts in their finished products. This is a common occurrence among manufacturers with their main processing and manufacturing teams in overseas factories like China or India. 

Poorly designed and usually counterfeit components are used instead of high quality, non-counterfeit parts in order to cut corners with pricing. While saving a buck might be tempting, this usually results in arcs, bad circuity, and even the entire piece short circuiting and causing even more outside damage. That is potentially thousands of dollars at stake, on top of possible recalls and lawsuits from faulty components. Find a company with United States based parts and manufacturing and you will find parts with integrity and the highest quality available.

US-based Operations

Speaking of United States based components and manufacturing, it is actually possible--and preferable--to find an on-shore business that tries to keep as much of their manufacturing, engineering, and testing processes within the United States as possible. Simply asking the manufacturer about their operations is a great way to find a transparent business that makes
electronic-contract-manufacturingsure your product is only of the highest quality.

Not only that, but keeping in contact with the manufacturing services business will be much easier if they aren't half a world away or only have a virtual office in the United States for the sake of
looking like they have operations in America. Any questions or concerns can be addressed immediately, instead of having to sit through hours of customer service or not hearing any reply at all.

Quality Assurance & Testing

If the price looks too good to be true then it more than likely is! An electronic manufacturing company needs to be able to assure the best of the best from your final design and product--if not, then it needs to go back to the drawing board to be re-tested until it passes rigorous tests. Check to see what services are offered and what exactly your electronic components are going through, process by process, to make sure that there is indeed QA testing going on.

Most companies will say right on their website if they have on-site testing and Quality Assurance. If you can't find any information regarding such, then don't hesitate to ask and make sure the final product is truly safe and ready to be shipped out or implemented to other pieces. This is your budget, after all--make it count!electronic-manufacturing

Deadlines Met, Budget-Friendly

Finally, if possible, check out any white papers, case studies, or any other helpful information on the electronic manufacturing company you want to do business with. Find out if they can keep strict deadlines or might need some leg room to work, or if they can successfully stay within budget or you might have to find someone else instead. Don't be afraid to turn down first offers from manufacturing companies and going with someone else.

It is possible to find a quality company with all of the above traits in today's economy, all it takes is just a little research and being able to say "no" when you don't feel comfortable.

Topics: electronic manufacturing company, contract electronic manufacturing, Contract Electronics Assembly, contract electronics industry

Electronics Design Services Improve Manufacturing Processes Quality

Posted by Laura Austin on Sat, Dec 29, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

It’s easier than ever for an inventor or a company with a great new idea in consumer electronics to find a manufacturing facility to create it.  The rise in the last thirty years of dedicated outsourced electronics manufacturing has filled the globe with facilities ready to pump out products at nearly any price point imaginable.

This wealth of manufacturing options is great for a company looking for options, but it introduces a number of new questions.  How do you ensure quality at someone else’selectronic-design facilities?  How do you guarantee your product will stand up to use?  How do you know that all the components being used are legitimate

In short, how do you outsource your manufacturing with the assurance that you’ll receive a final product you’re proud to put your brand on?

The answer is to look for a manufacturing facility that includes electronics design services as well as manufacturing.

Why You Need Electronics Design Services

At this point, you might be saying: “But I’ve got my own engineers.  Why do I need to hire more?”  The answer is simply because doing so will ultimately save you money in the long run and help you produce a better product.

A dedicated manufacturing facility that offers electronic design and manufacture services is going to know, with a great level of precision, exactly what their assembly line is capable of.  A facility utilizing advanced modern techniques is often going to be able to refine your design into something simpler, easier to produce, or that requires fewer components.

Furthermore, proper testing procedures are vital.  Poor-quality components or unseen design flaws could lead to huge costs later on.  A bit more time spent testing ahead of time is a piece of insurance that’s worth it.  When these tests are done by a manufacturer which is serious about supply chain management and sourcing legitimate components, you’ll have a product you know is reliable.   

A superior electronics manufacturing center can even ease some of your bureaucraticelectronics-design-services hurdles.  You can receive full documentation for all your products, as well as all the information you need to show RoHS compliance.   

Go A Step Further: Get American Electronics Design Services

The prospect of getting into contracted manufacturing can often be a bit imposing to a lot of businesses.  The common wisdom is that you have to go overseas to do it, and that introduces a world of new problems.  Everything from finding the proper facilities to obtaining the needed government approvals can be a hassle.

However, people around the world still recognize the value of goods which are “made in America” and we still have some of the some of the best scientific minds in the world.  American engineers are rightfully held in high regard, and consumers from Boston to Bangkok know that a US-made product is likely going to be better than something coming out of a Foxconn facility

You can cut out the hassle and end up with a better product simply by keeping your electronics design and manufacturing services right here in the USA. 

By choosing US-based electronics design services, you’ll:

  • Have a much closer link between your R&D and manufacturing centers.

  • Enjoy a short pipeline that can quickly adjust to new market shifts.

  • Give jobs to Americans, boosting the local economy and creating disposable income.

  • Receive assurances of quality components, rather than bootleg sources.PCB-services

  • Be in a much better PR position when talking about your products.

  • Join the ranks of some of the most influential companies in the world.

However, whether you contract your electronics at home or abroad, hiring some electronics design services beforehand still makes sense.  Anything which simplifies the production of your product will be money saved in the long run, and professional design services specialize in such optimization.

Don’t risk your good name.  Spend a little extra time and effort to ensure you have a great product to put on the market.

Topics: contract electronics manufacturer, Contract Electronics Assembly, electronics design services, contract electronics design

Manufacturing Assembly: Fulfilling Your Supply Chain Solution Needs

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Dec 04, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

As new technologies drive the world's economic engine to perform ever-faster, a business involved in contract electronics manufacturing assembly has to be able to adapt quickly to stay on top of the game.  At the same time, consumer demand has been pushing for ever-cheaper gadgets which still add more features.  Cheap and flexible manufacturing assembly solutions are a necessity.

For years, moving work to China or other Asian countries has been seen as the go-to solution for successful assembly.  The huge difference in local prices and wages offset the not-inconsiderable downsides to foreign manufacturing assembly. 

In recent months, however, this trend has been reversing.  The boom in foreign manufacturing is quickly boosting local costs faster than suitable new manufacturing areas can be created.  The cost savings aspect is quickly

Further, offshoring introduces significant hurdles throughout the supply chain process that become more important as the global electronics boom continues.  Companies need to be able to respond to demands spikes quickly and shift resources as needed, but offshore contracting inhibits this.

Supply Chain Management Problems in China

While prices in China are certainly still lower than in the West, they are still growing rapidly.  Without that core element, outsourcing your manufactured assembly to China starts making less sense.

•  Counterfeit parts.  Riding right alongside the electronics boom is the counterfeit electronics boom, which has made its way into even the United States Defense pipeline.  Without constant -and costly- local oversight, which is prone to corruption in the best of cases, maintaining a firm grasp on your components supply becomes difficult overseas.

•  Long pipelines.  Multiple challenges make long supply pipelines a necessity in working overseas.  From transportation challenges to constant time zone-related hassles, doing business this way requires a long lead time and a lot of faith in your supply chain that may not be warranted.

•  Slow crisis response.  A system that  relies so heavily on long pipelines and mazes of local bureaucracy is going to have a hard time changing in an emergency.  A spike in demand may go unmet because the resources to expand production are not there.  A break in the supply chain at one point cannot be easily repaired without work grinding to a halt elsewhere.  It is inflexible.

•  Unstable local situations.  The continual outbreaks of suicides and riots at Chinese Foxconn plants are only one example of this.  Investing in developing nations is inherently risky, and constantly-changing local political and social changes (spurred on, in part, but that same investment) means your manufacturing foundations will rarely feel entirely stable.manufacturing-assembly

Managers and decision-makers liked the Chinese outsourcing solution because it was a very simple answer to a complex problem: all supply chain problems become surmountable if you drop costs enough.  This may have held true for awhile, but today, a less hidebound system is needed.

Flexible Contract Manufacturing Assembly With Reshoring

The world of contract manufacturing today is focused on a more balanced approach.   Many worried that manufacturers were putting too many eggs into the "offshore" basket, and that appears to have been the case. 

Instead, bringing your manufacturing back home is growing in popularity.  With a contract electronics manufacturer located nearby, most of those supply chain issues become minimized.  

A provider with a commitment to quality supply chain management will:manufacturing-goods

•  Have multiple sourcings in place to get supplies where needed.

•  Allow closer integration of your R&D, testing, and manufacturing facilities.

•  Show audited supply chain receipts vouching for component authenticity.

•  Allow far faster response to shifts in demand that need a response within weeks, rather than months.

With more companies discovering the benefits of reshoring, it is causing many to ponder whether it's time to jump off the offshoring wagon.  Reshoring offers significant arguments for solving supply chain management problems, ultimately making domestic manufacture economical again.

What supply chain challenges have you faced while manufacturing goods offshore?

Topics: contract manufacturing, manufacturing assembly, contract electronics manufacturing, Contract Electronics Assembly

Why Do I Need a PCB Assembly Service?

Posted by Laura Austin on Sat, Nov 03, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

Here's a question we get asked more often than we might otherwise expect: "Why do I need a PCB assembly service?"

Printed Circuit Board assembly is one of the mainstays of consumer electronics today, although that's only been the case for the last 30-40 years. Thanks to the development of surface mount technology and other advanced production techniques, it's now become more simple for most companies to outsource their jobs to a PCB assembly service than to do it in house.

None the less, it's good to review why things have developed this way. So let's take a look atPCB assembly some of the major reasons a manufacturer should look at using PCB assembly services to aid in their production.

The Advantages of a PCB Assembly Service

1. Doing it in-house requires a lot of expensive investments. It used to be that everyone did their own electronics manufacturing, but that requires a huge capital investment in production lines and equipment, not to mention manpower and expertise. For most companies, there's little foreseeable ROI on an investment like that, even looking years down the line.

2. Economies of scale work. Another primary benefit of outsourcing your PCB assembly is that allows you to leverage the investments other companies have made into production technology. A large, dedicated electronics assembly plant will be able to produce more units, more quickly, and at a lower cost than you could with your own facilities.

3. Design services are often part of the deal. While this isn't true of all PCB services, many offer design services to help you refine your designs. Expert PCB manufacturers can often engineer superior solutions and help you produce better products, and more cheaply.

4. True expertise. Most major electronics assembly companies have years or decades of experience in mass-producing electronics. That's expertise that would be incredibly costly if you went looking to a specialist to oversee your own operations, but comes relatively cheap when you go with an outsourced assembly firm.

5. Guaranteed quality control. Another major issue with self-assembly of electronics components is QC. On top of the production facilities, do you have the resources to also PCB assembly servicecheck and guarantee the quality of the PCBs that you produce? Top electronics manufacturers have extensive QC procedures and can provide top quality components.

And all this adds up to one key point:

If you don't trust the components, you can't trust the final product.

Any electronics company with any regards for its future has to consider its own reputation to be extremely important. People today can use the Internet to instantly research your company as well as all of your competitors. If you become known for putting out low-quality products, it can become a nearly insurmountable problem.

The best way to have reliable final products is to ensure that reliable components go into their manufacture. Besides improving your own products, this will also aid your engineers as well. After all, if something does go wrong, knowing that all your components were created to top-line specs will make it easier for them to find the actual source of the problem.

So, in short, why do you need a PCB assembly service? For the lower price, for the higher quality, and for the peace of mind that comes with putting out a reliable product. There is simply little reason today to do your own manufacturing in-house, and plenty of reason to look outside your company instead.

What convinced you to hire a PCB assembly service for the first time? Was it worth it?

Topics: electronics manufacturing, electronic manufacturing company, pcb assembly service, pcb assembly, printed circuit board, electronic assembly, electronic PCB assembly, Contract Electronics Assembly, design services, assembly electronic, electronics assembly companies, quality control, quality PCB control

How To Find The Best US Contract Electronic Manufacturing Services

Posted by Laura Austin on Thu, Nov 01, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

Times are changing!  If you need contract electronic manufacturing services, you no longer have to look overseas.  The cost of living in China and other popular offshoring countries is rising, and in the meantime, the poor jobs market in the US is lowering manufacturing costs state-side.  Combine that with the greater reliability and oversight you gain from having your manufacturing done in the US, and reshoring your contract electronic manufacturing services starts to make a lot of sense.

While US-based electronics manufacturers have never vanished entirely, the landscape has changed entirely from the days that the US was a leader in domestic electronics.   If you’re looking for a domestic manufacturing partner, you need to find one which will fit your budget and your quality demands.

Here are a few things to look for:

Key Points To Consider When Hiring US-Based Contract Electronic Manufacturing Services

  • Certifications:  Generally speaking, any electronics manufacturer who can meetelectronic-manufacturer multiple international standards and capabilities that guarantee their ability to deliver high-spec electronics to a variety of industries.  Having a number of ISO, governmental, and military certifications usually indicates a high-quality manufacturer.

  • Case studies and testimonials:  Any manufacturer worth their salt should have plenty of case studies, references, and reports on their past projects.  When talking to their representatives, especially ask about challenging situations where they had high goalposts or a short delivery time.  Finding out how they responded to these challenges will tell you a lot about them.

  • A commitment to quality:  US-based electronics manufacturing service is still far from the cheapest in the world.  If you’re going with a manufacturer in the states, quality should be more important to you than simply finding the lowest price.   Don’t simply go with the lowest bidder, or you could be losing most of the benefits of reshoring.

  • High-profile clients:  As reshoring grows in popularity among US businesses, one of the surest signs of the quality of a manufacturer is their client list.  Manufacturers being employed by high-profile American companies are likely ones worth looking into.

  • Design AND manufacturing:   If you want the best value from your contract electronic manufacturing services, don’t use a company that only handles manufacturing.  Acontract-electronic-manufacturer contractor with design experience can potentially spot issues with your designs and suggest corrections before your investment grows more costly.  The extra expertise could make all the difference.

  • Openness and Transparency:  Perhaps they’re emboldened by the lack of transparency in overseas manufacturing, but far too many manufacturers try to hide their processes from you, such as inventory management and quality control.  They should be open about their processes, their success record, and their quality certification procedure.  Beware manufacturers who won’t answer your questions.

  • A commitment to improvement:   You want a manufacturer who’s constantly staying on top of new trends and ideas in the electronics industry, especially in the realm of reliability and quality control.  Watch their blogs and other promotional materials and see if they seem to be staying on top of the game, or just recycling old ideas.   A company that isn’t staying current isn’t going to give you the high-quality electronics you need.

Reshoring is an exciting prospect for American business.  It creates jobs, cuts down on costs from shipping and poor QC, and makes a great advertising point.  Take your time when selecting between US contract electronic manufacturing services and make sure you choose one that’s open, committed to quality, and with a record of excellence.

Topics: electronics manufacturing, electronic manufacturing company, contract electronics manufacturing, Contract Electronics Assembly