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What To Look For When Hiring Electronic Contract Manufacturers

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 07:30 AM

pc-boards-5Following the manufacturing boom of the 1990s through today, there's now literally a world of options in terms of hiring contract electronics firms.  How do you choose between your options?

Picking the right partner is more essential than ever, if you want your electronics design to succeed.  More products are being introduced into the marketplace more quickly, while both businesses and consumers continue to demand higher quality.  Simply offshoring manufacturing to the lowest bidder can easily mean a product that's late to market, and with quality that's not up to par.

Manufacturers today have found ways to cut costs while simultaneously offering more services than ever before.  You can get a lot more for your money, if you look carefully.

What Businesses Should Ask For When Hiring Contract Manufacturers

1 - Guaranteed supply lines

Few things can more quickly ruin an otherwise-promising piece of contract electronics than fake parts getting into the supply line.  This is an especially common issue with overseas manufacturing.  It's extremely difficult to know where your components are coming from, and whether they're from a legit manufacturer.

Your electronics partner should be utilizing component tracking measures - like barcodes or RFID tags - to guarantee the legitimacy of their components, as well as utilizing partners who do the same.

2 - Experience

That boom in electronics services means there are a lot of newcomers out there, who are apt to promise more than they can actually deliver.  You want to place your product in the hands of a contract manufacturer you can trust, who has a long history of successful builds and satisfied clients.

Few things can be more valuable when evaluating potential PCB assembly partners than a solid list of recommendations or case studies.

3 - Actual certifications

Another good sign when you're looking at manufacturing candidates is their list of certifications from accredited industry sources.  Being able to meet the strict standards of bodies like the ISO make it far more likely they'll be able to back up their claims with reliable electronics work.

This is also a big help in specialty industries, since many certifications are specifically aimed at niche usage with unusual needs.  The more certs a company has that are relevant to your field, the better.

4 - Local-sourcing optionspc-board-repair

With global shipping prices going up and showing very few signs of coming down, supply line efficiency can make or break the cost-effectiveness of a project.  A manufacturing partner who's been around for awhile will also have a good network of solid suppliers, including ones who are local enough to minimize extra shipment costs.

Furthermore, local supply lines are also much more flexible supply lines.  They give you more options in adjusting builds or re-designing circuit boards to meet your customers' and clients' needs, without being locked into contracts with companies halfway around the world.

5 - Value-added services

Contract manufacturing can include far more than just what-you-see-is-what-you-get product builds.  These services can include:

  • Design refinement\optimization
  • Rapid prototyping
  • In-house testing labs
  • Software development
  • Eco-friendly materials and disposal
  • Predictive failure testing
  • Post-sale repair and support

This is one of the best possible times to introduce new electronics, because a good electronics manufacturing partner can be a true all-in-one source for everything you need.  For more information on modern electronics assembly, just contact ZenTech with your questions.

Topics: electronic contract manufacturer, Contract Electronic Manufacturers