Are you interested in going into volume production but lack specialist facilities?
A contract electronics manufacturer (CEM) is the solution to your problem.
But how do you go about choosing the right one, and what do you need to do to work successfully with them?
Choosing your CEM should be one of the first steps in your project, long before your design is finalised. You can call on your CEM’s expertise during the design process.
The CEM’s engineers may well be able to advise you about ways to enhance your design so that your product is easier and less costly to manufacture and test. If you wait until your design is finished before you talk to a CEM, it may be too late to incorporate these desirable changes.
Look for a partner
Choose a CEM that will work with you as a partner, not just a supplier. In every project, there are inevitably bumps along the way – you need a CEM that will work with you to iron out those bumps efficiently, effectively and economically.
You also want a CEM that you can get to know so you work together well not only on this project but also on future projects.
Check capabilities and capacity
Can the CEM you’re considering provide the complete service you want?
This may include not only PCB assembly but also component sourcing, final product assembly, testing and even design support.
Does the CEM have the equipment needed to work efficiently with the components you’re using? And are they the right size to suit the number of products you expect to produce each year?
Does the CEM have a global presence?
You may think this doesn’t matter, but a CEM with a global organisation can choose the most competitive location for manufacturing your products, and for minimising shipping costs. And a global CEM will have global contacts for sourcing components – a big advantage at times of component shortages.
Trust your CEM
When you’ve chosen the right CEM, following the guidance we’ve just given, trust their advice. Remember that they have had the experience of producing thousands of different products for thousands of customers. They will know the problems and pitfalls that could limit the success of your product and they will know what to do to put things right.
Listen carefully to what they tell you – their advice is invaluable.
The design of the facility, work stations, equipment placement and staffing should be flexible to accommodate changing needs and requirements within the facility. The ability to reconfigure the work environment is absolutely critical as processes, products and staffing levels change within the organization.
By following these tips, a process will become very consistent, despite changing product requirements. While a consistent process may be dull, it will also yield superior results.