One unfortunate byproduct of the offshoring boom of the 90s-00s was the maze of sub-contractors it often created. If you've gotten stuck in this trap, there are alternatives!
The Many Problems With Multi-Sourced Electronics Manufacturing
It's something we see a lot of clients dealing with, when they come to us. They've got one contract electronics manufacturer handling prototyping, and another group handling manufacturing, and another one developing software, and (usually) yet another party handling their post-sale support work. Sometimes even minor aspects like documentation end up outsourced to third parties or freelancers. On top of that, many of those contractors may have sub-contractors of their own which the original client may or may not know about.
It's easy to see why this happens: Most of the cut-rate contractors are ultimately specialists (using the term loosely) with a limited variety of services offered. Several have to be hired at once to bring a full product to fruition. The problems introduced in such a case are often numerous:
- Overall huge duplications of effort
- Many lines of communication plus employees overseeing them
- Mismatches in production capabilities, like final-build manufacturers who cannot properly recreate the prototype
- Software that fails to properly utilize the hardware
- Added costs, including transportation and taxes across many countries
- Lengthy contract terms tying you to those vendors
- Poorly trained support with conflicting (or no) documentation
- Supply line inconsistencies
- Full-unit warranty replacements rather than cost-effective repair work
The basic end result is that, over and over, "cheap" outsourcing turns out to be far more expensive in the long run due to these sorts of systemic problems that keep cropping up. And that's without some of the other problems that can crop up with offshoring, such as IP theft.
Luckily, there's now an alternative. Challenged to remain relevant in a changing market, US-based contract electronics manufacturers have been rapidly expanding their services offered to provide all your needs under one roof.
One-Stop Shops Can Solve Your Electronics Outsourcing Maze
The basic principle seems so simple that it's almost hard to understand how sub-subcontractors managed to proliferate. If you want a quality piece of hardware coming to market, every aspect of its design and production needs to be focused. That's basically impossible to achieve when working through many separate vendors, each focused on a single aspect of the product.
So today's domestic manufacturing centers really can take you through the entire process, including:
- Initial schematics and design work
- Prototyping, testing, and troubleshooting
- Custom firmware and software
- Hardware optimization and\or eco-friendly design tweaks
- Supply chain oversight and management
- Failure rate testing and prediction
- Full manufacturing runs
- Post-sale technical support and repairs
The result is end-to-end work that's of far higher quality than what a client can generally get from multiple outsourcers, and at a final price that's comparable -if not cheaper- than the real world TCO of that outsourcing maze. Plus, of course, better products usually translate into better returns on the overall effort, and better ongoing customer goodwill.
It's truly a win-win scenario all around.
So if you've been thinking there's got to be a better way to handle outsourced electronics manufacturing, give ZenTech a call. Our experts can take your product from the idea phase through production and beyond, delivering superior value for your investment.