Debunking 7 Myths in Electronic Contract Manufacturing

November 23 2020

Just like in any situation requiring teamwork, putting the right players around you can mean all the difference between success and failure. When it comes to choosing an electronic contract manufacturer (ECM), there are rarely shortcuts to finding the right company to partner with. That doesn't mean many haven't tried to distill the decision-making process down to some assumptions that either haven't been updated for today's world, or were just flat wrong to begin with. The bottom line is that finding the right ECM partner requires a good amount of research and thought. 

Close up of a modern printed circuit board.

ECMs Will Do the Heavy Lifting

Many companies that outsource take a "fire and forget" attitude towards outsourcing, which is to say once they've brought an outside ECM onboard, they communicate what they want and assume the ECM can take care of the rest from there.

If you expect your ECM to perform at its best for you, it is imperative that you communicate with them frequently to make sure you are all on the same page.

Size Matters

Another assumption that is made by companies working with ECMs is that the bigger the contractor, the better the product that is coming off their lines. The thought process follows that bigger companies can offer better manufacturing methods and better prices. However, the driver of price and speed of service is usually dictated more by the product being produced than who is doing the producing.

Features Of A Partnership With An Electronics Manufacturer

Price Matters

May OEMs make the assumption that the cheapest ECM is obviously the best one to choose. However, that doesn't take the big picture into account. What you save on ECM costs up front may end up costing you in the long run in terms of quality, craftsmanship, and time. Saving a bit on an ECM only to have larger issues down the line with your product can end up costing you more than what you saved. Assess everything that's going into the per unit price before jumping at the lowest cost option.

Perceived Conflicts of Interest

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For some OEMs, knowing that a potential ECM is also working closely with a competitor is a big red flag. Doing so fails to take into account that your intellectual property is safe regardless, and the ECM you are considering has experience in the field you’re in. Your competitor is using them because they are good at what they do. It’s worth your time and effort to find out.

Time is of the Essence

Another factor that some OEMs fall in love with is the projected turnaround time of an ECM, believing that the fastest turn-around is advantageous. However, just because a company promises quick delivery doesn't mean they are delivering high-quality components or increasing profits for you necessarily. In fact, it may be a red flag that quality control isn't a high priority.

Global Outreach

At face value, an ECM that operates plants around the world and has worldwide supply chains can be alluring. Dig below the surface, and you may find that it isn't as big an advantage as it seems.

Global companies may have locations around the world, but in reality your project will fall to a single location that has the capabilities you are looking for. That brings the big ECM you thought you were dealing with down to the reality of the situation: You’re actually hiring a smaller company with a single location that specializes in what you are seeking.

Saves Time

One-stop shops benefit from the myth that production and assembly are all being done in-house to save time. In fact, it may lead you astray from your production goals. Keeping everything under one roof ensures your design remains true to your focus, that all aspects of your project will be quality controlled under one roof, and there won’t be any hand-offs during parts of the build. It’s true this does save time, but what’s important to note here is you are getting quality control standards and one point of contact for the duration of the project. That can give you confidence in knowing the job is being done right and following standards you expect from the ECM you partnered with. At Levison Enterprises, we know how valuable turn-key electronic contract manufacturing can be. We have the experience, knowledge, and skills to help you take your next idea and turn it into a successful product. Contact us today to learn more.

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Tags: Electronic Contract Manufacturing, Electronic Design, Electronic Manufacturing Service