Contract Electronics Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Blog

Fully. Integrated. Supply Chain. Solutions.

Posted by Judy Warner on Mon, Nov 09, 2015 @ 04:54 PM

 

Since I am a writer, as well as an electronics professional, I have the quirky habit of really thinking about words. Which is why I started thinking about the commonly (if not overused) term Supply Chain Management today. Having pushed off from the dock of my former narrow focus on Printed Circuit Board (PCB) fabrication--particularly those of the RF and Microwave variety--I now find myself in the deeper and more complex waters of Contract Manufacturing.

The company I work for, Zentech Manufacturing, offers "Fully Integrated Supply Chain Solutions" which can give a wordy person like me a headache! When it comes to electronics, and sub assemblies, there is an order to things; Schematic Capture, PCB layout, PCB fabrication, Assembly and Test. Along that continuum there exists experts in each given area. Electrical Engineers of different varieties, PCB layout people that use a myriad of software platforms, PCB fabricators (Standard, Rigid, Flex, RF/MW, Hybrid, and such) and assembly which encompasses material acquisition (or management) and thru-hole and SMT placement, and then test--which may be very simple or incredibly challenging. Due to the inherent complexity of our work, we have become a bit like the medical industry which boasts an endless variety of "specialists." Until last Fall, I was one of those "specialists" in the PCB industry, particularly when it came to RF and Microwave technologies.

My new role demands I become indoctrinated in a far broader view of the electronics landscape--like a satellite image from Google Earth panning out from my neighborhood to encompass a view of the whole planet. From up here it becomes clear, that with all these areas of "specialties" becoming ever more complex, as we drive technology forward, there is great risk to loose sight of the big picture. We tend to hyper-focus on the multitude of concerns that plague our little "neighborhood," or area of specialty, with little thought for the overall intent of the end product's function or even the next sub-contractor's processes. Completely understandable given the complexity of the products.

Now, back to my word puzzle. So, what does it mean to offer Fully Integrated Supply Chain Solutions? Fully: Without lacking or omitting anything.Integrated: To coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole. Supply Chain: Supply Chain Management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. Solution: An action or process of solving a problem.

In short, Zentech Manufacturing, sees the big picture and understands the inherent needs and challenges of every step. It cohesively integrates all the "specialists" and greatly reduces the risks to OEMs and contractors who manage a multi-source, fragmented system of bringing electronic-based goods to market. Zentech sees the whole picture--from schematic capture to final test. It oversees worrisome things like counterfeit mitigation of parts, and manages the complexities of parts purchasing and distribution. It finely tunes a stocking program that is incredibly efficient. It's more cost and time efficient, it is more reliable and controllable, it's more integrated!

It is very gratifying, week after week, to get feedback from customers, many of whom are Mil/Aero, Medical, Space or RF experts (meaning the hard stuff!), that express that they know they will get better yeilds at Zentech than their other partners because our processes are more tightly controlled. They know that, while we dive-deep into the details of each speciality, we understand the overarching objectives. But most importantly, they know we have their back.

Now that's real partnership--no matter what word you use.

Topics: PCB, supply chain management

Electronics Repair Services: Fixing, Improving What’s Broken

Posted by Laura Austin on Sat, Feb 02, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Getting electronic devices repaired is an activity that cannot be overlooked

Electronic devices are a must at every home today and our life revolves around these as they add luxury and comfort to our everyday tasks. There are many electronic devices that we have installed at home or office to accomplish many daily chores with ease. The industries that deal with electronic equipment manufacturing is getting costlier everyday and buying a new equipment when something goes wrong with the old one is not possible every time. Just to cover up this cost for consumers, the electronic repair services providers, are now emerging in increasing counts. So, instead of throwing away that damaged or broken down electronic device you can now get it repaired with services that will make it perform withrepair-services efficiency and make it as good as new again.

Electronic repair services can help in fixing or improving broken electronic devices

Today everything around us seems to be running on electricity. An average household has 85% electronic machines and an average person spends 90% time of his day using these machines. No matter how careful you are in using these devices, wear and tear is inevitable, and regular maintenance is needed to fix or repair whatever’s broken. Just to take care of these issues today several vendors offering electronic repair services are mushrooming. They also offer home service, which means you will not need to carry broken devices to their shop, but instead an expert will come to your home or office to fix the same.

There are different vendors that offer different kinds of electronic repair services

  • Consumer electronics repair services: These repair shops specialize in repairing gadgets or appliances that are used mostly at homes or offices. These include the most common devices we use for entertainment, in the kitchen and also the computers and laptops used for work.

  • Specialty repair shops: These are shops that deal with repairing a particular kind of gadget. For example TV repair shops, kitchen appliances repair shops and more like these.

  • Industrial electronic repair services: These vendors specialize in repairing equipments that are used in manufacturing in industries and factories. The work area also includes hospitals, banks, commercial organizations, industries and more where the repair is required in bulk. The repair services include power supplies, circuitry boards, monitors, video recording systems, telecommunication systems and others that are specific to industries.

The many benefits you have access to includeelectronics-repair-services

  • Fair repair which can help you get back the lost functionality of any electronic gadget and device

  • Quality service that is reliable and can help you get the repaired components or devices delivered right till your doorstep in the minimum time frame

  • The services in total are fast, reliable and cost effective loaded with accuracy

Finding vendors who can offer electronic repair services is easy

Today vendors make use of technologically sound equipments and tools while undertaking the repairing task. The process is accomplished with equipments that have the best IC, resistance, frequency, capacitance, voltage that is actually needed. Finding vendors who specialize in repairing or improving all types of devices and gadgets whether broken or at fault, is not very tough. Whether looking for a service provider who can repair, install or improve small printed circuit boards or large industrial devices, you can get it all done. Also, when seeking for someone who can repair electrochemical equipments, you can find vendors who utilize functional test methods that are employed when the manufacturing of the same is being undertaken.

Get the best electronic repair services with Zentech

Zentech Manufacturing Inc. is a leading contract engineering manufacturing company and engineering services provider. The company leads others by offering better services, reliable solutions, cost effective results that are adorned with experts who have high technical competency, which has helped them earn a distinct popularity in the US.

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Topics: consumer electronics, electronics repair services, supply chain management, quality components

PCB Assembling: Right-Sizing Components

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

In these somewhat uncertain economic times, “right-sizing” is becoming a growing trend is businesses.  Rather than “up-sizing” or “down-sizing,” this new euphemism of the day is about finding the right balance of costs, utility, and TCO to optimize your returns.  It’s an ideal, of course, a goal to be pursued but perhaps not necessarily to be met. 

In PCB assembling, “right-sizing” actually takes on two meanings…  but with the right partner electronics manufacturer, you can get the best of both worlds.  Whether you’re looking to reduce component usage or optimize your manufacturing processes to achieve an optimal mix, finding a great US-based electronics PCB assembly service plant can be the perfect way to right-size your electronics order.

Quality PCB Assembling Right-Sizes Your Designs

In electronics design and electronics design services, right-sizing refers literally to the size of the device and its components.  Larger components often give higher safety and tolerance margins but, ofPCB-assembling course, the push in consumer electronics design is towards ever-smaller and more tightly-integrated products. 

Will elements like heat sinks or surge protection on your power supply reduce your overall costs by eliminating unnecessary after-sales support, or will it simply add bloat (and bulk) at needless cost?

That’s why you need an electronics assembler who is a partner, not just a supplier.  A facility with extensive test development services can prototype these designs – or simply build computer models – and test them against real-world usage scenarios.  The experienced electronics engineers at these facilities can help you optimize your product, finding the right balance between size, utility, and longevity.

Further, you also look for PCB assembling services with superior supply chain management skills, you can also be assured that the components going into your design are legitimate, not counterfeit.

Doing PCB Assembling Right Means Right-Sizing Your Orders

Of course, there’s more to bringing a new product to market than simply having it built.  You also need to consider the state of the market, and what your goals are for the product:

  • How many units do you hope to sell?

  • How many different configurations will you be offering?

  • How quickly could demand for your product shift?  Is a demand spike likely?PCB

This is another benefit to utilizing an on-shore manufacturer rather than going offshore.   By locating yourself near your production facilities, you give yourself far more freedom in exploring these questions.  Domestic supply pipelines are shorter and can be altered much more quickly, if the market should head unexpectedly in another direction.

Further, manufacturers with modern, state-of-the-art facilities are going to be better equipped to provide you with a range of different products, all coming off the same assembly line.  A high-complexity order – one with several variations – requires a substantially more advanced facility than one which can only manufacture one or two designs at once.

Going with an offshore manufacturer often means locking yourself into commitments that cannot be changed for months, even if the market shifts in the meantime.  You don’t want to get stuck under- or over-producing stock with no effective way of changing course. 

Instead, a PCB assembly contractor with flexibility will allow you to right-size your orders.

Right-Size Your Product Development

From optimizing specific unit builds to giving you the most possible flexibility in your manufacturing plans, a domestic PCB assembling service gives you the power you need to truly right-size your electronics order.  Don’t take a risk with unsupervised foreign manufacturers and long supply pipelines. 

Make the smart investment ahead of time, and reap the benefits as your production proceeds.

Topics: supply chain management, PCB Assembling, PCB assembling service

Precision A Hallmark In PCB Design And Manufacture

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

For businesses looking to outsource their PCB design and manufacture services, there are a lot of options out there at the moment. The overseas market is still flooded with numerous low cost/low quality manufacturers but their appeal is beginning to wane. Companies are finally starting to realize that with most of these super-cheap foreign manufacturing centers, quality and precision are hard commodities to come by.

However, the market is - as always - adjusting around us whether we like it or not. The demand for precision-tooled PCB design and manufacturing has made reshoring an increasingly popular option. Why? Because you need quality products to survive in today's market, quality you're unlikely to find overseas.

Consumers Are Savvier Than Ever

The Internet has led to a revolution in how consumers buy things, and all manufacturers can do is try to keep up. According to this recently-released study, nearly half of consumers expect to use a mobile device in conjunction with their shopping – looking up deals andPCB-Design-And-Manufacture reviews – meaning that if a product is shoddy, they'll know about it.

Further, while only about 1/5 of consumers say they're out to buy the bestproduct, regardless of price, take a look at consumers' wish lists for this holiday season. The most commonly-cited brands – including Canon, Apple, and Sony – come from companies who are all known for the high quality of their products.

Combine that with their increasing willingness to skip in-person shopping altogether and just do it online, and consumers are sending a clear message to consumers: They have the intel, they have the power, and they're going to use it to get the best products with the best prices.

You Need Precision in Your PCB Design and Manufacture

In short, the days of the consumer electronics boom are just about over. Everyone's lives are filled with gadgets today – for better or worse – and consumers can afford to be more discerning. That's why you need good engineering design services and PCB design and manufacture services aimed not at producing products at the cheapest rate, but at creating affordable devices that still meet high standards of quality and precision.

Look for a manufacturer with:

  • In-house design services, which can often optimize your designs to require fewer components, giving you higher quality with lower per-unit prices.

  • An emphasis on high complexity orders: Modern facilities that can handle a higher range of models and customization is going to have the facilities necessary to meet whatever demands you have for your product's production.

  • Robust testing services, both before and during production, to ensure you don't commit to selling a product before you can be certain it will stand up to expected use without any design flaws surprising you after the fact.PCB-design

  • Database-driven supply chain managementensuring that only genuine, authentic components make their way into your products. Counterfeit electronics are becoming a serious concern, and much of that is due to unsupervised foreign manufacturers cutting corners and pocketing the difference.

  • A full range of standards and certifications, demonstrating their recognized proficiency in fields such as aerospace and medical manufacturing, giving you more confidence that their work is of the highest quality.

Precision and quality should be the watchwords when you search for PCB design and manufacture services. Don't gamble your company's future on the lowest bidder. Spending a little extra up-front to produce a product you can be proud of will do far more to assure your company's long-term returns.

Topics: pcb design, design services, supply chain management, PCB Design And Manufacture, PCB manufacture

Electronic Contract Manufacturer Bolsters Your Work

Posted by Laura Austin on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Electronics Contract ManufacturerThe 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

  1. 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.

  2. Find a manufacturer with certifications. In virtually every area of electronicselectronic-manufacturer 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.

  3. Engineering design servicesTop-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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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
    electronic-design 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.

  7. 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.

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Topics: electronic contract manufacturer, engineering design services, supply chain management, testing facilities

Electronics Repair Services: Reliably Improving The Bottom Line

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Jan 01, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Does your electronics contractor have your back?

There are plenty of outsource electronics firms in this world who will be happy to produce whatever gadgets you want and can do a competent job at this. However, at this point you are responsible for selling a product that was, fundamentally, created by someone else.

If you're using a lower-cost outsourced electronic contract manufacturer, there are a lot of variables you may
not know about unless you went to the expense of having a full-time on-site minder.  (And even then, you'll never know if you have all the intel.)   Are they actually producing it to spec?  Are they using quality components?  Are they properly testing built units to ensure high QC standards?

And, most importantly: If a defect appears, will they stand by what they made? 
electronics-repair-services

Or will they simply shrug, sheltered by the vagaries of international law, leaving you holding the bag?

Electronics Repair Services Keep Your Contractors Honest

This situation shows yet another reason that using the lowest bidder for your contract electronics manufacturing is rarely a good long-term decision.  Hiring a high-quality US-based manufacturer with a commitment to providing after-sale and other electronics repair services will pay off in the long run.

Many of the best electronics assembly firms also include a number of post-sale fulfillment services including:

•  Failure testing

•  Direct customer repair services

•  Component-level diagnostics and troubleshooting

•  Per-component replacements rather than full unit replacements

If you think about it, it makes sense that a lot of the less-expensive manufacturers don't offer these services.  If they're making their products at a cut rate, they're not going to profit on having to service them after the fact.

Basically, if you hire a firm that doesn't offer fulfillment services and electronics repair services, you're opening yourself up be harmed by their lack of care.

Great Fulfillment Services Need Great Foundations

Not every electronics manufacturing firm can afford to provide these sorts of services.  Beingelectronics-repair able to stand by your product after it's manufactured requires you to honestly believe in all of the processes that led up to its creation.  By hiring a company with great electronics repair service options, you're also getting a company that:

•  Understands proper supply chain management.

•  Guarantees only authentic components are used in their builds.

•  Utilizes rigorous design and pre-production testing protocols.

•  Has the financial stability needed to be trusted with large jobs.

•  Believes in the importance of quality over quantity in electronics production.

•  Employs friendly employees who are able to interact with customers on your behalf.   

In short, finding an electronics contractor who offers robust electronics repair services means you've found one who honestly believes in their services and has an investment in producing the best electronics possible.

Go For The Greatest Reward

Don't allow your electronics manufacturing to be sabotaged by penny-pinching.  Consumers around the world are aware of, and on the watch for, low-quality foreign electronics and they are increasingly rejecting them when other options are available.  Poor customer service experiences and unreliable designs will only add to the after-sale costs of using a cheap manufacturer.

You don't need to go offshore to find manufacturing that suits your needs, and you don't have to pay bottom-dollar to make a profit in the long run.  As always, there is no surer path to business success than to produce a good product that's backed up by quality support and electronics repair service options.

Topics: electronics repair services, supply chain management, quality components, US manufactured products