Comparing Quotes from Electronic Engineering Design Firms
Finding the right engineering design firm to partner with can be a challenge. You may know that outsourcing your electronic PCB design and manufacturing is the right choice, but finding the right partner can present many questions. You want to find a company that is a good value, but you also want to ensure that you will end up with a quality product. Asking the right questions can help you when comparing quotes and offerings from various electronic engineering design firms.
There are many potential questions to ask an engineering design firm before beginning a partnership and many will be based on your project. However, there are some questions that will get you the answers you need to determine whether the partnership will be a good fit.
- Are you capable of producing low-volume orders?
Many manufacturers prefer bulk orders, but what a “bulk order” is for one company may be a small order for another. Take note of what the minimum order amount is when you receive your quote. In addition, speak with the engineering design firm you are considering a partnership with to find out how order volume will influence your production costs.
- What certifications and industry experience does the engineering design firm have?
It is crucial to the success and safety of your electronic product that you choose a partner who meets and exceeds industry standards. You will own the product at the end of the process, so you want to ensure that your manufacturer is certified and compliant. Any quality partner will have no issue sharing the certifications and industry experience when you are getting your quote. In addition, if your engineering design firm partner subcontracts third party work, you’ll want to make sure any subcontractors also have the appropriate experience and certifications.
- What is the lead time?
When getting your quote, it’s important to understand the lead time of your project. Meeting deadlines is important. You need to make sure the lead time meets your needs. If the delivery time will cause your orders to arrive late, the most competitive price can quickly become a liability. It is also helpful to know if they can package and ship directly to your customers.
- Is this potential partner capable of reverse engineering?
Reverse engineering can assist in working out any potential issues in your product, as well as finding any potential faults in the product. In designing and prototyping, reverse engineering can provide the quality control and quality assurance to keep defects at a minimum.
- Can they handle complexity at a quality that meets your needs?
Not every manufacturer can handle complex PCBs. Assess the complexity that you need to ensure potential partners will be able to meet those needs without sacrificing quality.
- Is the partner flexible and responsive?
You and your partner need to be able to communicate effectively. Your PCB partner will need all the relevant details of your project and will need to be flexible enough to accommodate changes if necessary. In addition to flexibility, it’s helpful to know that your potential partner will be responsive enough to implement the changes efficiently to avoid delays.
It’s very easy to look at the quotes and compare the bottom-line number each potential partner has shared. However, the cheapest quote isn’t necessarily the best. The price of electronic PCB is influenced by the design, quality, and volume, and balancing quality with cost-effectiveness is a challenge. A cheaper price may come with lower quality. However, exceptional quality, when it comes with excessively high prices, may hurt your sales when your product goes to market. It’s important the engineering design firm you choose to partner with is the right balance.
Your company should never feel like they’ve had to settle when deciding on a partner to outsource electronic PCB design to. There are partners who offer quality work at affordable prices with excellent customer service, and asking the right questions can help you find that partner. Contact Levison Enterprises for a quote today!