Additional Services Your Electronic Contract Manufacturer Should Offer
Basic manufacturing is not enough in the highly-competitive electronics manufacturing world.
What is an Electronic Contract Manufacturer (ECM)?
An ECM is a company that makes electronic parts under contract for other companies. An ECM could produce single parts or whole assemblies and for a range of industries like defense, aerospace, food service and medical. The parts are manufactured by the ECM, while the sales and branding belong to the original equipment manufacturer, or OEM.
Typically, an ECM can be relied upon to offer a range of services to support the manufacture of electronic components and assemblies. This would include design, manufacturing, testing, distribution, returns, and repair services for these components and assemblies.
In the highly competitive electronics manufacturing world, however, just contracting any random ECM isn’t always worth it. Quality ECMs will offer services to ensure that your product makes it market efficiently and with integrity.
When selecting an ECM for your project, look for this additional services as indicators of a higher level of care for your product and business.
Services To Look For in an Electronic Contract Manufacturer Partner
A quality ECM will offer box builds, or “complete assemblies” so that all your project’s boards, wires, din rail, backplane assembly (and everything else) can be combined into your final piece, all in one location. The advantage to an ECM box build is that all your design and production plans are together in one location, keeping your project lean. Box builds are typically more cost-effective than segmented or piecemeal builds, which open your project up to risks in dropped communication and troubleshooting.
A good ECM’s design process should help you mitigate risks associated with design flaws and timing. Once you begin working with your ECM, they should become experts in your project. They will dig out potential design issues and provide solutions for how to fix them before they become real problems that could add delays and costs to your project. Your ECM should also be able to offer potential ways to increase manufacturing efficiency in your design as it nears finalization.
Design for Manufacturability (DFM)
An ECM’s ability to provide DFM should be a significant consideration for selecting your ECM partner. In this process, your product will be designed not just to be manufacturable, but to be economically manufacturable. Ideally, DFM reduces your manufacturing costs and identifies potential problems while they can still be fixed in the less-costly design phase. Your ECM should be considering the types of materials, the forms, dimensional tolerances, and finishing when completing your DFM.
Certifications & Training
Your ECM should be able to provide you with its ISO, AS9100, or ITAR compliance documentation. All of these relate to how well the ECM will protect your information – from your documents and drawings to your cybersecurity. An ECM’s commitment to maintaining quality certifications is a strong indicator of how well they will protect the quality of your product.
ISO - The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), maintains over 20,000 standards regulating food safety, agriculture, healthcare, manufactured products, technology, and others.
ITAR – International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a set of United States regulatory controls that safeguard national security and foreign policy objectives. These regulations dictate that information and materials related to defense and military-related technology can only be shared with U.S. Persons or with individuals with specific exemptions from the Department of State.
AS9100C – AS9100C is the standard quality management system for the aerospace industry. Beginning in 1999, all major aerospace manufacturers and suppliers are required to comply with AS9100 in order to do business in the industry.
Packaging and shipping are the steps that always need support from a sub-contractor and a good ECM partner will be of great assistance in choosing and working with a shipping method for your product. Your ECM will know your product and its specs. A good ECM will also know the relevant regulations and shipping methods that will work best for your product.
Not only should your ECM know your needs, but they should know what the shipping companies need as well. Your ECM should understand tonnage and work with shippers across the U.S.A. and world to help you achieve low-cost, high-quality shipping solutions for your products.
Supply Chain Management
Once you’ve provided a complete bill of materials for your project, your ECM should be able to draw on its trusted network of material vendors to obtain your parts. This may mean better prices, a better understanding of the parts, known quality and quality certifications, and the potential to order in bulk by leveraging the ECM’s buying power. Further, a quality ECM will know the provenance of your parts and materials, reducing the risk of counterfeit or unethical parts and materials entering into your build.
What to Expect from Levison Enterprises, ECM
Levison Enterprises is proud to off all of the above services, in addition to many other services aimed at providing you an efficient and quality product. We believe in the value of a quality ECM partnership and arm our team with training, tools and work environments that support the best possible design, manufacture, assembly, and testing for your product. We work extensively with shipping companies around the world and maintain all relevant quality certifications as a demonstration of how firmly we stand behind our work. We believe in rooting out counterfeit parts and sourcing ethical materials for your build.
We would love to talk with you about how we can add our expertise and quality to the benefit of your next electronic manufacturing project. Contact Levison Enterprises today.