In a world of increasing choices and diversity, the decision to find a new supplier can often be a daunting one. Anyone involved with procurement will be familiar with the daily (or hourly) routine of taking sales calls from suppliers that are all competing against each other in a saturated marketplace. A quick internet search on ‘PCB manufacturer’ for example reveals an extensive list of fifty or more of the UK’s ‘leading’ PCB companies, and I would conservatively estimate my email inbox receives 20+ cold emails a day from sales departments telling me why we should be buying from them.
However, the choice of partners and suppliers is a critical for any design or manufacturing business implementing a project. These are the building blocks that support the reliability of your supply chain. A delay in supply can stop production before assembly has even begun, and post-production quality problems can lead to total product write-offs.
So how do you choose the right supplier for your project?
Most people’s first consideration when planning a project and choosing a supplier, is pricing, followed by timescales and regulatory requirements. These are without doubt important considerations, however I would like to propose that your first consideration, should be “What does MY company do well?”, and more importantly, “What DOESN’T my company do well?” which when juxtaposed with the technical requirements of the build, will dictate the skills required by your supply partners.
To give an example; at 4E Technology one of the things we specialise in is medical electronics. PCBA, Prototyping, Box build etc, and we are very good at it. Now for most of our prototyping builds some form of casing/bodywork is required. We have the skills and capability to 3d print first prototype plastics in house, but we are not plastics specialists by any stretch of the imagination. Therefore, one of the first considerations when we are costing and planning a project that requires it, is which of the specialised injection moulding or plastic forming partners that we have built relationships with would be the best for the job.
From a clients point of view; why spend time developing a compliant power supply for the revolutionary new medical product you’ve designed, when you can use a specialist who has likely developed hundreds similar. Although the upfront cost may be cheaper on paper. the long term costs and headaches involved will undoubtedly be far higher.
By knowing our field of expertise and selecting the right partners we are able to focus on what we do well, safe in the knowledge that every part of the project is being treated with expertise.
To many businesses and projects fail because the company tries to do everything themselves to save costs or because they haven’t considered the technicality of the work and achieves a poor result or misses points that would have been obvious to someone skilled or experienced in a particular field. Most people have heard the quote “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” well the opposite is true also. Enthusiasm for a project rapidly goes downhill once mistakes are realised or you are forced into hours of frustrating work in an area that is not your speciality.
Selecting the right partners based upon an honest initial assessment of your capabilities vs. the project/build/product/market requirements exponentially increases the chances of it being a success.
How do we utilise this at 4E?
At 4E this mindset drives both the selection of our supply partners and the proposal we give to our clients. We understand that product introduction is a complex process, involving changes and requiring flexibility from both sides, often with pressures on timescales. With decades of experience we can work with clients beginning their manufacture process, pro-actively suggesting ideas that they may not have thought possible or had time to think about, and ultimately freeing up their time to focus on what they are good at, be it innovative thinking, design, engineering sales or marketing.
We have a broad base of experience aside from PCB assembly also specialising in:
- High pressure pneumatics
- Thermal Transfer
- High Voltage
- Conformal coating
- 30g Vibration
- Batteries and Power Supplies
We have continued to operate throughout Covid-19, maintaining regular contact with clients and uphold a strong and reliable supply chain as we navigate through the Covid pandemic.
To find out more about the services 4e Technology offer check out our website here.