Outsourcing Your Box Build Assembly to the Right ECM
Outsourcing box build assemblies is now a fairly common practice among original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). But not all third party producers of printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA) are created equally. Finding just the right one for your outsourcing needs can make all the difference in your finished products.
When selecting an electronic contract manufacturer (ECM), consider the reasons why you decided to outsource your PCBA project in the first place. Whether it was financial, lack of expertise, desire to integrate cutting-edge technology, or get help with the design, those should be the same reasons that guide you when it's time to pick a partner.
There's a difference between an ECM who simply builds what they're directed to build and those who can help you tweak your design. Sometimes what looks good in CAD files doesn't translate to real-world assemblies.
If you're confident in your designs, you might be okay with a company that simply takes your renderings and gets to work. However, having another set of eyes that you can trust to make design recommendations is worth a lot to your final product.
Prototyping and Testing
Another question you must ask yourself when choosing an ECM partner is what kind of prototyping and testing will you need to have performed on the PCBA? Do they perform a simple visual inspection before passing a component, or is this a piece that requires a more stringent Performance Failure Mode Effects Analysis?
There may be a number of different underlying reasons for accounting for the testing method of a piece. Lots of electronics have PCBA in them, but the one in a child's toy doesn't need to be as prototyped and analyzed as the one that powering a Boeing 737.
Has the ECM asked you for a bill of materials (BOM)? Some ECMs will insist on using their well-defined supply chains to procure what's needed for your PCBA, and others will work strictly off of what you provide to them.
Which direction you choose depends on your reasons for outsourcing. Do you know your nuts and bolts but want to utilize cutting-edge technology for assembly? Or, are you looking for expertise with a vetted network?
No matter which way you choose, the details must be laid out in specifics on the BOM. That's especially important when you let the ECM choose, to ensure their product meets your specifications.
Size and Scale
It's also very important to consider your project's overall size, and consider whether an ECM has done similar work before.
The right ECM for you must show the ability to produce on the scale you need while meeting the technical specifications of the project. They also need to be able to scale similarly to your company. If demand goes up, are they able to keep pace with your needs or will their inability to do so slow your growth?
Of course, one trait that should be shared by any ECM you are considering is the ability to deliver excellent customer service. At Levison Enterprises, we feel we provide service that is second to none. Contact us today to see if our dedication to quality fits the needs of your next ECM project.