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If you are looking to outsource for the first time, or considering changing or adding a new contract manufacturer to your approved list of suppliers, finding the right one can be a challenge. A long list of criteria needs to be taken into consideration. Here is a non-exhaustive shortlist of what you should focus on when seeking a new manufacturing partner.
Your EMS provider should offer solutions from design and engineering services through to mass production manufacturing. First, you should look for an Electronic Manufacturing Services company that understands the PCB design requirements for mass production. Start-ups and corporations will often team up with internal or external PCB Design engineering resources without keeping in mind the mass production environment, which is never the same as a small production batch in a lab. Making your design “ready for manufacturing” therefore becomes critical, and your Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) partner should be able to do the “design checks”, also called “Design for X” or DfX. The right partner excels, not only in prototypes and mass production, but at each of the steps that follow. By using engineering and design services based on similar thought processes and developed by the same electronic manufacturing company, it not only ensures that your production will be carried out safely, but also guarantees that challenges and methods put in place are identified, to adapt the solution so that your product can be brought to market. When a company has expertise in engineering and designing PCB solutions, and in-house services, the PCB prototype will be suited to mass production. And these prototype PCBs substantially reduce the time needed to bring the product to market, and improve the cost competitiveness of your product.
Since your objective is to place a better product on the market, it is critical to adopt the best strategy for introducing a new product. This product has to be introduced at the right time and adapted to mass production at an optimized cost that allows customer adoption. With years of experience, the best EMS company knows exactly how to successfully implement NPI services in the fabrication process of the product. The printed circuit board assembly will be different for producing 1,000 boards compared to 10,000 boards. Discussing estimated volumes and requirements at an early stage will be efficient in terms of time and money, thus avoiding starting production with an incomplete product.
Once the New Product Introduction phase has been successfully achieved, mass production is the next step. Your EMS provider should also be committed to supporting every step towards mass production by using mass production manufacturing services and strategies. In order to optimize your product’s lifecycle, these additional services use the best strategies to help your product grow in the marketplace. Optimizing your product’s lifecycle involves choosing the best parts for your product, managing obsolescence, reducing lead times and identifying the most streamlined and efficient process for the assembly of your product. As a partner, the leading Electronic Manufacturing Services suppliers take care of your product by accompanying it through every stage. By providing an advanced lifecycle management solution, the EMS is present from the initial idea, through the development and the maturity stages to the product’s decline.
With the relevant set of cutting-edge product lifecycle tools available in the industry, providing lifecycle management solutions tailored to your needs is an aspect to be considered during your selection. When an EMS company or contract manufacturer has an in-house smart supply chain solution, it adds artificial intelligence to your product. This important benefit reduces costs and increasing performance by constantly improving your material costs as well as seeking creative methods for optimizing your cycle periods.
Lifecycle management requires an in-depth knowledge of the electronic components market, the trends per commodity and the mega trends that increase costs or lead times of critical components for your project. When selecting your EMS partner, meet with their Supply Chain and Procurement team to understand their vision and expertise regarding the markets, since they will be the ones working daily on improving your costs and lead times for the success of your project in the market.
Electronic Manufacturing Services companies deliver projects from A to Z. It is important to consider another criterion. Which company offers the best solutions for managing your product from the initial idea through production and post-production? A company that already uses the same thought processes and vision as you for its own operations is the ultimate option. Thus, choosing an EMS company that owns smart factories at the forefront of innovation will benefit your project enormously. Your chosen partner should definitely consider system integration. Your product is manufactured with full in-house capabilities, tested and in perfect condition before being shipped directly to your customers. From PCBA to final integration, testing and direct fulfilment. All under one roof.
Finally, before any discussions on artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning or smart technologies, the most suitable contract manufacturer or Electronic Manufacturing company should initially incorporate PCBA capabilities (possibly be a PCBA company). By focusing on PCB assembly and adding mechanical assembly capabilities and skill sets, they should form the sound foundations on which the manufacturing and assembly of your products rest.
Asteelflash is a contract manufacturer that offers all services for the introduction of a new product onto the market, from engineering and design PCB to lifecycle management. Our many years of experience, as well as our origins as a PBCA company, have brought us strong skills to offer you the most suitable manufacturing solutions.
*You can check out our Supply intelligence commodity report for Quarter 1 of 2018.
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