Selecting an new electronics manufacturer can be a daunting prospect. What brings you to this point? Are you releasing a new product and its your first time finding a manufacturing partner? Has your old manufacturer stopped providing you with the services you were used to?
Whichever road brings you to this point there is no denying making the selection is a massive task, and building new trusting relationships takes time.
There are several areas to consider when picking which electronics manufacturer is the right fit for you, your team and your product. Lets look through some of the areas when vetting a potential new manufacturing partner to help save time, money and unforeseen issues later on down the manufacturing process. It’s important that you make a seamless transition from old supplier to new to help maintain a consistent supply chain for your end user.
Do Your Research
Researching a new electronics manufacturer is an important step to seeing initially if they are right for your needs. Websites are your first stop. Find out about their capabilities, scale, values and certifications. Where are they located, do you need to be able to visit often? Read case studies to access if they have worked in your market or can show evidence of electronics knowledge in your field. What have previous customers said about them? What services do they offer above and beyond standard electronics manufacturing and would these be of help to you. Check out their social media pages. Can you get a feel for the company culture?
Go Visit Prospective Electronics Manufacturers
Never underestimate the importance of visiting your potential new electronics manufacturer. It gives you the opportunity to understand not only their potential capabilities and scale, but to understand what it would be like to work with them. After all, you will be working closely as you build the partnership between client and manufacturer.
Get an understanding of how they work and if they can add value to your product with their services. In addition, by meeting in person, you can get a good feel for their team, their values and their working cultures.
4E like forming long lasting partnerships with out clients. We seek like minded companies and individuals who hold similar values at the heart of what they do. The best way of understanding our clients needs is with face to face meetings. Initial kick-off meetings are a great way to understand our clients and really delve into finding out what their needs are beyond just manufacturing.
Evaluate Pricing, Cheapest is Not Best.
Initial instinct used to be to find a manufacturer, to supply a product, as low cost as possible. Clients understand more that quality and level of service is a cost too. What are the factors that are most important to you? Obsolescence support, help with supply chain issues, servicing support? These services don’t usually come from manufacturer offering you a cheap unit cost.
When looking for an electronics manufacturing partner you must consider what you are actually getting for the ‘price’ being quoted. High quality standards, flexible manufacturing, additional support through the DFM stages, engineering advice,. The question you should ask yourself is “will you get this at the cheapest bottom line cost?”. A manufacturers values, policies and support will all be reflected in their price. Depending on your product, it can prove to be advantageous to take a higher cost per unit, reaping the benefits of working with a supportive, quality focused manufacturing partner.
Ask Questions of Yourself And Your Prospective Electronics Manufacturer
When evaluating a new electronics manufacturer, and especially whilst visiting, ask lost of questions!
Make sure you are clear on understanding what your own needs are. Do you require support with DFM (Design for Manufacturing) and does the prospect manufacturing partner have the recourses to help you? Do they have any skillsets that you don’t that can help bolster areas of weakness / knowledge in your own company? How do they intend to manage your product through its manufacturing life-cycle? What are their views on traceability and quality standards? The questions go on and on.
Fundamentally its key to have a clear understanding of your needs, wants and wishes. Through discussions with prospective electronics manufacturers refine your search, to not the cheapest, not the closest but the best fit for you!
Credentials & Certifications of Your Prospective Electronics Manufacturer
It may sound obvious but credentials are important within manufacturing. Depending on your needs there may be specific accreditations that are advantageous to your product, or those that are mandatory. Quality in manufacturing is vital, some products require specific accreditations such as ISO 13485 for Medical grade manufacturing. You should consider such things as, does you market sector have manufacturing standards, are you bound by any regulatory requirements? Do you need any approvals such as CE marking?
An examples is ISO 9001, a quality management system. This covers process improvement, contract reviews, traceability, ongoing staff training and risk management. ISO 13485 is a greater depth accreditation specific to medical device manufacturing. It expands upon ISO 9001 and in addition covers process improvement, document issue control control and legal compliance.
Not all manufacturers hold the same accreditations, depending on which market sectors they service. It’s good to understand your potential electronics manufacturers current accreditations and their knowledge around regulatory requirements.
So in conclusion its true, there’s lots to considered when choosing a new electronics manufacturer. I’m sure you can think of many more areas specific for you to. Finding a team you can put your trust in to deliver your product is vital. Collaborative working relationships where you both want to product high quality products for market is a win. It’s important to tailor your decision around the specific needs of your product and the needs and values of your team.
There are the ‘soft’ factors to consider such as: location, accessibility and what questions should you ask them. Then there are the ‘hard’ factors like: the specifics of pricing, skillsets and accreditations.
But overall you are looking for the right fit for you, for your team and for your product. So you can build a long-standing, reliable, electronics manufacturing relationship.
At 4E, we offer high complexity electronics manufacturing to meet our customers needs. Focusing on building long standing partnerships, working ‘with’ our clients to get the best we can for them from their products. We can help with development ideas, bringing our vast electronics knowledge to the table. Our history of dealing with markets such as medical and defence means we have the knowledge to help you navigate regulatory requirements if needed. Working against our ISO 13485 stringent quality standards we operate in mix of market sectors. For customers not in the medical or defence fields you can be assured the same high standards from ISO are carried over across the board.
If 4E’s capabilities are something you would like to know more about, contact us today!
To find out more about the services 4e Technology offer check out our website here.