Contract Electronics Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Blog

Current Trends In The Electronic Manufacturing Services Industry

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 @ 07:30 AM

electronic manufacturing

Technology is always changing, so what does that mean for technology manufacturers and sellers?

It's easy to overlook just how quickly “common wisdom” about the manufacturing industry can become outdated. The Asian markets became so saturated with manufacturing in the last decade that it's ultimately changing the face of the entire market. Costs-of-living in Asian cities with manufacturing centers are now approaching Western levels, which has -predictably- eliminated most of their cost savings. (More on that below.)

Some are scrambling to set up shop in even cheaper countries; others are beginning to reconsider the wisdom of outsourcing halfway around the world. They're doing this even while the industry itself, and its needs, are also changing.

So what are the big trends in manufacturing services at the moment, and what areas are expected to boom in coming years? Let's take a look...

Major Trends Worth Noting In The Electronic Manufacturing Services Industry

1 – In-Automotive Electronics

“Smart Cars” are quickly becoming the new rage among auto manufacturers. A few years ago, it was only the high-end “luxury” brands including hookups for smartphones and tablets.

Now? We're likely only a few years from seeing those become “standard” options. In fact, they may even come to supplant more expensive audio setups in low-cost cars. After all, from a manufacturing perspective, it's a lot cheaper to include an iPod dock than it is to include a full radio/audio player.

And in the meantime, electronics are expected to comprise forty percent of car component costs in 2015.

Or, at the high-end, we're now seeing brands like Lexus talking about full “Heads Up Displays” integrated onto\into their front windshields, to create a driver's view that, in many ways, looks like the sorts of HUDs we see on military equipment. Research in this sector is undoubtedly going to cause a boom.

2 – Medical Electronics

Another industry showing plenty of growth, and no reason to predict much else, is the medical field. Rapidly-developing countries are buying up medical equipment about as fast as anyone can produce it. They're also looking into setting up their own shops, especially in India, which already has a thriving (if often unlicensed) biomed field.

Parallel to this, of course, is the never-ending drive by the high-tech nations to keep developing better medical hardware.

Either way, current estimates by Frost's are that the electronics manufacturing sector will be worth nearly $40 billion by the end of the decade. It's a wide-open field with room for practically any quality manufacturer.

3 – Green Technologies

Being Green isn't just for hippies and disaffected Xers any more. As climate change statistics continue to mount, there's increasing pressure from all areas – consumers, businesses, and governments – to look into more eco-friendly manufacturing solutions. The various carbon cap or carbon trading plans being implemented are also helping to drive this push.

With major programs being launched to drive research in the field, manufacturing concerns whoelectronic manufacturing can get their ISO certifications in place could see a lot of interest, even in countries that aren't at the low end of the global manufacturing cost scale.

4 – American Reshoring

Remember when we said Asian outsourcing wasn't much cheaper any more? According to The Boston Consulting Group, manufacturing in America is now only five percent more expensive than Asian manufacturing when all hidden costs are considered.

Considering the major difference in quality assurance and reliability a company gets from domestic manufacturing, that 5% starts looking like a small price to pay to avoid a (literal) world of supply line hassles.

Mexico also continues to grow as a manufacturing base... however, its ongoing political and criminal instability are a serious barrier to investment.

You Can't Relax In Electronics Manufacturing

It's a fast-changing business world, and we all have to keep up if we want to keep in business. What trends have you noticed in the industry? Let the world know below!

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Topics: electronic manufacturing, electronic manufacturing services industry, assembly electronic

Electronic Manufacturing Services Industry Is Booming, How You'll Benefit

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Fri, Mar 07, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

After years of struggles, the electronic manufacturing service industry is making a huge comebackElectronic Manufacturing Services Industry in America - and business is booming. As the consumer market becomes more and more dependent on smart electronic devices, those working within the high-tech sector can expect to be kept extremely busy. And with the United States and other countries around the world beginning to really emerge from the recession, the growth in this area will only continue.

So what does this mean, exactly, for your business? What can you expect from this shift in the overall outlook for the electronic manufacturing services industry? By delving into the topic a little bit deeper, it's easy to see that the benefits are many.

4 Ways that a Booming Electronic Manufacturing Services Industry can Benefit You

The fact that the electronic manufacturing services industry is picking up should be very exciting news for those who are involved with this particular sector of the American marketplace. Small to mid-sized electronics businesses can expect to enjoy numerous advantages as the direct result of a flourishing market. Here's a look at 4 of the biggest perks that electronics companies can expect:

1. Creative Inspiration

With such a strong focus on the evolution of today's technologies, there has never been a more exciting time to work within the electronics industry than right now. Designers and engineers can allow their creative juices to flow freely, as they work up exciting new concepts and schematics for their customers. With each new product that hits the market, additional doors are opened for industry professionals to experiment and embrace brand new opportunities.  This means that more and more electronics workers are learning to think outside of the box and imagine something totally different and revolutionary. The sky is truly the limit.

2. Innovative Processes

Technological advances are also creating a need for electronic manufacturing services industry professionals to develop new, innovative processes for designing and developing products. Although devices are becoming more and more advanced, they are also continuing to grow smaller, more compact, and more lightweight. This can present certain design and construction challenges for manufacturing companies. In order to allow technologies to continue to grow, industry professionals are coming up with solutions that simplify manufacturing processes, making it possible for designers to be even more creative with their concepts, and allowing electronics companies to save time and money during product development.

3. Increased OrdersElectronic Manufacturing Services

One of the most obvious benefits of a booming electronic manufacturing services industry is that it creates a huge influx of new orders and business for electronics companies. And because the industry is now making its way back to American soil, this creates even more exciting opportunities for U.S. based businesses. Consumers who are looking to buy American products will turn to companies like your own for handling their needs. The increased volume of work, paired with the reduction of production costs will help businesses in our own country to thrive on an economical level once again.

4. American-Based Partnerships

The fact that the electronics design and manufacturing sector is doing so well in the United States means that American companies can take advantage of the ability to forge strong partnerships with other American companies. The businesses which supply system components and parts will have the ability to connect with electronics companies and manufacturing services, offering units that comply with industry standards while being very reasonably priced. Electronics companies will also have the option to reach out to contracted electronic manufacturing service (EMS) providers for assistance in handling their increased workloads. These American EMS companies can further improve product efficiency and quality, while reducing costs.

Although the electronic manufacturing services industry is not quite fully restored to its pre-recession glory, it is certainly headed in that direction - and very fast. Be sure to take advantage of this exciting time and allow your business to reap the benefits of this turnaround.

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Topics: electronic manufacturing services industry, Electronic Manufacturing Solutions, electronics manufacturing services

How To Find A Reliable Electronic Manufacturing Company

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Is your business in need of a reliable electronic manufacturing company? Although you have plenty of third party companies that would be interested in getting your business, there are some that are more qualified than others. So how can you tell the difference? It's actually easier than you may think. By following these 10 simple steps, you can find an excellent contract manufacturer with total confidence. 

How to Find a Reliable Electronic Manufacturing Company in 10 Easy Steps

1. Read reviews & check referencesElectronic Manufacturing Company

Customer opinion is the truest testament to the the quality and reliability of an electronic manufacturing company. It's smart to take the time to go online and find out what other clients have to say about your prospective manufacturing partner. In addition to this, feel free to ask the contractor to supply you with references. Ask these references about the types of projects they have hired the contractor for, their satisfaction with the work, turnaround times, and their likelihood to offer their return business.

2. Ask about industry experience

Next, it's important to learn about what type of industry experience the contractor actually has. How many years has the company been in business? How many years of combined experience do its employees posses? What are their hiring requirements? Finding out the type of knowledge and skill that the contractor demands of its team will signify its level of professionalism and reliability.

3. Discover the contractor's exact abilities

You can't make the decision to work with an electronic manufacturing contractor if you don't have a comprehensive idea of what it is that they can do for you. Ask, in detail, about the services that they have to offer. In addition to the actual manufacture of PCBs and other electronics, you may discover that the contractor can help you with the design process, with repairs, etc.

4. Ask to see samples of current and previous work

You'll need to find out if the contract manufacturer's work meshes with what you expect. By asking to see examples of both prior and current work, you can get a more "big picture" look at the contractor's body of work so that you can make a more informed decision.

5. Insist on performance standards

Total compliance with industry standards is non-negotiable when selecting an electronic manufacturing company. Your prospect should be able to provide you with evidence that they operate legally, and compliantly.

6. Inquire about design/manufacture methods and equipment

If you're going to trust a third party to design and/or build your products, you should know what methods and equipment that they will use to do so. Ask how often the equipment is maintained or upgraded, and find out how advanced the company's processes truly are.

7. Learn about suppliers and device componentselectronics manufacturing service

Does your contract manufacturer buy from reputable suppliers, or do they cut corners by purchasing counterfeit or bootlegged system components? This is important to know, as it can impact the quality, safety, and functionality of your products.

8. Find out about product testing

A reliable electronic manufacturing company will have testing policies in place for assembly productions. This helps to keep the standard high, and avoid the mass production of faulty or sub-standard devices.

9. Request information on fulfillment services

Some contract manufacturing contractors will leave you high and dry after initially assembling your products. Without the original design schematics or available machinery, you may find yourself unable to make repairs. Because of this, it's best to find a contractor who will stand by its devices after completion, offering repair and other fulfillment services.

10. Choose American

Finally, it's in your best interest to work with third party manufacturers who are based in the United States. This is the only way to ensure that American standards are being upheld, and that quality parts and mechanisms are utilized.

What's important to you when looking for a  reliable electronic manufacturing company? 

 

image credit: www.reviewtrackers.com

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Topics: electronic manufacturing company, electronic manufacturing, electronic manufacturing services industry

Creating Electronic Manufacturing Solutions

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Fri, Nov 08, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Like all other businesses, yours has probably been faced with challenges and obstacles from Electronic Manufacturing Solutionstime to time. Although there are many instances in which these problems can be overcome in-house through a little resourceful thinking, it is important to have the ability to recognize when a solution cannot be found on your own. It is the companies who possess the foresight to anticipate issues and form alliances with a qualified contract manufacturer who generally find the most success.

Paired with the expertise of a contractor, you and your team will find that it is much easier to create effective electronic manufacturing solutions for your every need. Here are a few challenges that your company may be faced with, and how working with a contract manufacturer can help you to resolve them quickly.

Creating Electronic Manufacturing Solutions for 4 Common Problems

Even though every business will experience its own unique set of problems, there are some that are fairly common across the board. While a good contract manufacturer will be able to help you find electronic manufacturing solutions for these issues, a great one will also be happy to provide you with customized solutions that are tailor fitted to your exact needs. To get you started on your journey toward finding the best contractor for your company, look for an industry leader who can create the following solutions to four common problems:

Solution #1: Improve design efficiency

There's an old adage that encourages us to never stop striving toward improvements until "the good is better, and the better, best". Regardless of how good you think your PCBs design schematics are right now, there is always room for growth. Too often, in-house design and engineering teams begin to settle for the status quo, believing that there is no way to make their devices even greater. By requesting the help of a contract manufacturer, you can get an outside perspective on your design plans from experts who have been working in the industry for years. These professionals can help to quickly spot problem areas, and suggest solutions that would help you to create a faster, more efficient product that costs less to produce, and is more compact.

Solution #2: Comply with industry standards

For smaller businesses, or start-ups, it can be difficult to attempt to keep up with the demands of design and production, as well as staying current on all of the latest industry standards. It can also be tempting to cut corners to save time, or to order counterfeit parts from an overseas supplier as a means of cutting down your costs. Contract manufacturing companies can help you to produce your devices quickly, affordably, and in a way that is completely on par with industry regulations and standards.Electronics Contract Manufacturer

Solution #3: Free up capital and space

Although machinery is obviously a necessary part of manufacturing PCBs and other electronic devices, this type of equipment is also very expensive to purchase and maintain. On top of this, the machinery takes up a lot of space in your facility. Your electronic manufacturing solutions provider should be able to shoulder this burden for you. By producing your devices with their equipment in their facility, you can save space in your building, and free up some extra capital.

Solution #4: Boost customer satisfaction

To keep customers coming back, you must be able to continuously impress them. A partnership with a manufacturing contractor can help you to create more advanced boards, produce devices faster, all while cutting down buyer costs. Electronic manufacturing solutions should also extend to exemplary fulfillment services. By taking the time to troubleshoot and repair faulty or malfunctioning boards, your manufacturing partner can help you to properly care for your customers through every step of the process. 

What challenges has your business had to deal with? Could a third party contractor have helped you to create faster, better electronic manufacturing solutions for those problems?

Selecting an Electronics  Manufacturing Services Provider? Ask the RIGHT Questions>>

Topics: electronic manufacturing services industry, Electronics Contract Manufacturer, Electronic Manufacturing Solutions

Results Stand Out Among Electronic Contract Manufacturing Companies

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

One of the best ways to know which engineering manufacturing companies provide the best in the industry is through results, but having to go through the entire processes to get those results can be time consuming and slowly eat away at your budget. Instead of sticking with a manufacturing company and hoping for the best results and possibly getting set up for disappointment, look for the results first and then make your decision second. How can youElectronic-Contract-Manufacturing-Companies achieve that? It's simple enough, all you need to do is some research.

All electronic contract manufacturing companies depend on the needs of their clients, which will provide them huge batch orders of manufacturing jobs that depend on the highest quality components and assembly. In order to stay in business, they need to have the greatest results possible--which also need to be compliant with safety standards, too. Finding such a company on your end normally means taking the time to find the perfect match, and that means digging around for the solutions and results that fit your needs.

Showcase of Results

One of the first indicators of great results is, of course, the manufacturing company showing off! Can their results be found online or offline? Do they show off their handiwork in some fashion? If so, then you know you're in good hands and all of your needs will be taken care of. 

However, this doesn't always mean that manufacturing companies who don't show off a majority of their work are bad or inferior quality--it entirely depends on the trust you place on them and their transparency of doing business. It's just a good indicator that if they do have an open portfolio of their manufacturing work, that it is safe to say they're a high quality company.

Prototype Testing

Most, if not all, electronic contract manufacturing companies have the ability to create a small batch order or a single order of a prototype of your choice. This is a perfect opportunity to test the waters with the manufacturing company to see how long they take, the budgeting required, customer experience, and of course how well their results are with
your own design and blueprints. If it looks like a shabby or rushed job, then you didn't have to waste all of your budgeting dollars or crucial time and can look elsewhere.

If prototype testing isn't an included service that you can see on their website or elsewhere, it doesn't hurt to ask if they still do provide such a service. Electronic contract manufacturing companies are normally more than happy to help you out to have you as a long-lasting client.

US-based ManufacturingPCB-manufacturing

While for many decades it has been easier and cost efficient to ship out all of your electronic manufacturing needs overseas to countries like India or China, it is actually becoming cheaper and more convenient to keep everything on shore and in the United States with US-based electronic contract manufacturing companies.

You are running at a much lower risk of faulty or counterfeit parts, which have become highly prevalent in off shore manufacturing companies, when you decide to work with a US-based electronic manufacturer. You will also have the benefit of having direct communication with both management and the assembly factory because they're both managed by the same company and people. Not only that, but you'll be helping out the economy by keeping jobs in the United States!

Electronic manufacturing, and electromechanical assembly, is a results driven industry, and you need the best kind of results for your projects. Take the extra time to really find a fit for your manufacturing needs that can provide those results without forcing over budget or deadline, and remember to keep these tips in mind when looking for that winning manufacturing company!

Topics: electronic manufacturing company, electronic manufacturing services industry, electronics assembly manufacturers, electronic contract manufacturing companies

Electronic Manufacturing Services Industry A Stealth Success

Posted by Laura Austin on Sat, Feb 23, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

When you read about the electronic manufacturing services industry, virtually all you hear about are companies located in Asia, India and, occasionally, Africa. The “offshoring” boom of the 90s and 00s is still continuing in full-force... but there's more to the story than that.

There's a rapidly growing “stealth” success in the electronic manufacturing services industry as well: US-manufactured electronics. From the 50s through the 80s, America was known as the home to all the greatest electronics firms in the world, and even though much of thePCB manufacturing itself has moved overseas, the “Made In America” label still has a lot of cachet. Further, there are still plenty of cutting-edge manufacturing firms still located here at home.

So, what's changed? And why is electronics manufacturing suddenly making the move back to America? It lies in the Reshoring movement, which is rapidly gaining steam.

What's Wrong With Offshoring?

Obviously, offshoring in the electronic manufacturing services industry would not have become so widespread if there weren't good reasons to try it. The idea itself did make a certain amount of sense at the time: After all, manufacturing was so less expensive overseas that the cost savings could still offset any other problems that came up, like additional shipping and oversight costs.

However, the offshoring movement has become a victim of its own success. The cost of living in China has gone up so drastically in the tech centers that manufacturing there is only marginally less expensive than in the West.

Further, those costs that were being offset by the lowered manufacturing services prices have turned out to be more costly than many initially assumed. Cheap foreign manufacturing and assembly has become closely associated with low-quality devices that may not even be made from genuine components. Counterfeit parts are becoming rife in foreign-produced goods.

electronics-servicesThese quality issues mean significant post-sale expenditures on support and replacement, as well as being damaging to a company's reputation.

The distance factor weighs heavily as well. Having your manufacturing center so far from your R&D group makes change come slowly. Long supply pipelines often make impossible to alter orders – even if the market changes. Imagine having a hit product, and being literally unable to ramp up production to meet the demand!

Due to these issues, among others, increasing numbers of companies are rediscovering how easy it is to get quality electronics work done in the United States.

Who's Reshoring?

One might expect, in the face of this, that it would be mostly smaller, more nimble firms who
are bringing their work back to America, and they were the trailblazers. However, a surprising number of major firms have become to come back as well.

  • General Electric: Good ol' GE recently spent a billion dollars moving production of many of its “smart” appliances back to the United States.

  • Sleek Audio: This up-and-coming high-end headphone manufacturer was nearly ruined when a botched job cost them millions, but a move back to the US has put them back in place as a major player in the headphone biz. 
    electronics-manufacturing-services-industry

  • Google/Samsung: Google made headlines earlier this year when they announced they were moving production of the Nexus smart device line to America. They also sold more than three times as many as they initially expected.

  • Apple! To everyone's surprise, Apple recently announced they too are moving the production of part of their Mac line back to the United States. As Apple is perhaps the highest-profile user of offshore manufacturing, this indicates just how serious reshoring has become.

Reshoring as a solution to today's manufacturing needs simply makes sense. While the initial production costs are somewhat higher than in China (roughly 25% at the moment), you get a better product from a more flexible manufacturer, as well as helping to create jobs for people to buy your products.

It's a win-win scenario for American businesses, and for the electronic manufacturing services industry as a whole.

Topics: electronic manufacturing company, electronic manufacturing services industry, electronics assembly manufacturers

Rating Highest In Electronics Manufacturing Services Industry

Posted by Laura Austin on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

electronics-manufacturing-services-industryFinding the best and brightest when it comes to all of your electronic manufacturing needs doesn't have to feel like a hopeless endeavor, especially when there are companies out there striving to be only the greatest for both you and themselves. 

Of course, finding that perfect fit with a manufacturing company normally has a few different parameters, mostly involving what kind of components are being used, turn-around time, and the quality of the end product. There are several other things to take into consideration, one of them being ratings among the industry.

The electronic manufacturing services industry has extreme pride for all of the work they do and most, if not all, companies ensure only the best for their customers. However, there are still companies and services which go above and beyond and are recognized for their efforts. How can you tell when a company is rated highest among the electronic manufacturing services industry? Easy, check out the major flags below.

High Attention To Detail

It's all in the details, especially with electronic components and PCBs. When something isn't working, breaks, or has any faulty problems when it shouldn't, that normally means there was probably a problem during the manufacturing or testing process. Instead of trying to point fingers, however, it is better to understand that issues can arise and to find an electronic manufacturing company that keeps a very acute attention to detail.

Making sure all parts are in working order, everything is properly soldered, all copper plating is done to a T, and much more is always part of the testing process and should never beelectronics-manufacturing skipped or rushed. When that happens, you have a problem on your hands that could potentially cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Look For Ratings

Any company would be proud of their hard work and dedication, especially if they have won any awards or recognition for all of their services. Because of this, a website is a great place to look for ratings, testimonials, and any awards the electronic manufacturing business has acquired. Look for them in:

  • About page

  • Front or home page

  • Testimonials page

  • Blog or "news" page

If a website cannot be found, there are always business cards and other promotional material to check out, or simply even asking.

Authority In The Industry
Another great way to figure out if the company you're working with is an industry leading electronic manufacturing company, is if their name and brand is recognized and they're an authority in the industry. This can normally be seen through their advertising and even their blog. 

electronics manufacturingDo they provide useful and helpful information for their customers about the industry through case studies, white papers, blog posts, articles, and other such content? While not all of the highest rated companies might not be doing this, the ones taking the time to provide insight and information are a sure fire way to ensure the most impeccable service for you.

The Customer Experience
Continuous quality and great customer service is argued to be the cornerstones of any business rated the highest in their industry. This is true even for electronic manufacturing because the customer needs their product and the manufacturing services company needs the project, and this two-way street needs to be highly maintained for both.

Rating highest among the competition means comfortably providing the best customer experience, and the buyers and engineers getting that experience will normally be more than happy to share their thoughts for testimonials. When you're looking for a high rating electronic manufacturing company, don't forget to do your research on them! Google their name, browse through the results, and take the time to consider your options.

Topics: electronic manufacturing company, manufacturing services, electronic manufacturing, electronic manufacturing services industry, contract electronic manufacturing services