These days, it's not uncommon for small to mid-size electronics businesses to seek out the help of third-party manufacturing services in order to design and/or assemble their printed circuit boards (PCBs). In fact, a quick web search would enable you to connect with any number of contract manufacturing companies who would be more than happy to obtain your business. Still, how can you be sure of which company will do the best job? After all, the assembly of your PCBs is the most significant factor behind your product's performance. Choosing the right contract manufacturer could actually make or break your business. Unless you know what to look for, you could be feeling confused and overwhelmed by your options. Fortunately, there's a formula for finding the best of the best. Here's a quick breakdown of what you should be looking for from your manufacturing services.
One of the main things that you should be looking for in your third-party manufacturing service is experience - not only from an owner/operator standpoint, but you must also inquire about the experience of the staff employed by the company. Don't hesitate to ask about hiring standards, qualification levels, industry experience, etc. This will let you know whether or not you can place your full confidence in the business.
It's always in your best interest to look for a contract manufacturing service that not only offers assistance with the assembly and production process, but that can also assist you with board design. Even if you employ knowledgable and skilled engineers, they are still only human and can overlook common errors. Introducing a fresh set of eyes can help you to pinpoint problem areas that might reduce product efficiency or cost you extra money.
Many smaller businesses struggle with the aspect of purchasing, housing, and maintaining assembly and manufacture equipment. As a result, they tend to feel overwhelmed by the competition, and struggle to keep up. If you can partner with a manufacturing service that maintains the latest and greatest in design and manufacture technologies, though, you can take advantage of this equipment without spending a dime.
The last thing you want is to have a large batch of boards produced only to find that there's a flaw or issue that inhibits it from performing the way that it was expected to. It's important that you find a design and manufacturing service that will test out concepts before production, and that will test post-assembled boards before introducing them to your clientele.
You should always look for a manufacturing service that has been in the business for quite some time and who has been able to develop positive relationships with suppliers. This will ensure that the manufacturer is able to get the best prices on board components, thus lowering the overall cost to you. In addition, a relationship with a supplier will ensure that the supplier will have an interest in learning your needs and requirements for the long-run, making things easier and less time-consuming for everyone.
It can be tempting to give your business to an offshore company due to low prices, but remember that if the cost seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many overseas companies don't comply with the same industry standards for product safety and labor rights. It's smarter to work with an American-based company that will take care of your needs in a way that's safe and legal.
Stop wasting money on warranty replacements. When you find a company that's willing to troubleshoot board problems, make repairs, and ship back to customers, you know they're a winner.
There's no reason for you to settle, or select a manufacturing service that you're not completely confident with. When you know what you should be expecting from a reliable, established contract manufacturer, you'll find your perfect partner with confidence and ease.