by ADL Technology ADL Technology

Making sure you pick the right electronic manufacturing service (EMS). Learn about their capabilities and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Important decisions require critical thinking.  Whether it’s buying the perfect new car or hiring the right employee; taking the time to carefully weigh the options will increase your chance of obtaining maximum value.  With that in mind, here are two critical areas for you to consider when selecting the right Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider.

Manufacturer Capabilities

Capabilities in the electronic manufacturing services industry vary widely; so be specific as to what you will be asking of your provider. Some EMS providers are small independent shops that focus on basic electronics support and can only supply a limited amount of PCB assemblies in low quantities i.e., low mix/low volume.  Others companies are large, multinational manufacturers that can offer any technology, supply consumer-level volumes, and have a greater depth of capabilities beyond basic builds.  While their extensive capabilities and high mix/high volume profile may be appealing, be cautious; they may cater to more established big business entities. Most Electronic manufacturers will fall somewhere in between.

What are you certification requirements?

Does your product require any agency certifications?  These certifications may be necessary for some Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as those in the automotive  or defense industries.  Be wary of selecting an EMS provider that carries many high-end certs if you don’t require them because you will be sharing the cost burden of maintaining them.

Interview Potential Suppliers

Before you complete the paperwork, here are some other questions to consider.

  1. How diverse is the supplier’s product portfolio?
  2. How difficult is your PCBA technology to assemble?
  3. Do you need value-add services like engineering support, test fixture design, PCBA coating or wire harnesses?
  4. What level of turnkey process is right for you?

Having a precise understanding of your needs will lead you to ask the right questions of prospective EMS providers and will ultimately help you choose the best manufacturer for your needs.

Look for More Than a Vendor

Don’t think of your electronic manufacturing service provider as just a vendor. Think of them as your partner. Building a relationship with an EMS provider can take time. You will likely find yourself asking things of them that you would not ask of a traditional vendor. Look for an EMS who can provide

  • depth of technical support
  • coordinated effort with their Design For Manufacturing (DFM) engineering experience
  • extensive experience in parts procurement

and in the case of ADL

  • an Electronic Design and Engineering group.

Completing your due diligence at the front end will save you headache and hassle in the long run. Go beyond the sales guy who will get the relationship started. Meet the management and engineering teams and tour the facility. Getting to know more about their operation may provide a subjective assessment of the business, but you can still learn a lot from a handshake!

Ask yourself, “Are these the guys I can work with for this project, for a year, about and 5 years and beyond?”  In other words, “is this a company that will support my company’s growth?”

ADL Technology’s Best Advice

Our best advice…shop around. On the surface, it may seem that many electronic manufacturing services offer similar capabilities. But when you consider who can best meet your

  • technical objectives
  • delivery times
  • quality standards

all while being responsive to your needs, only a select few will emerge as ideal partners for your business.

Looking for a partner for your next project?

ADL Technology is a US based PC Board manufacturer located in Columbus Ohio.  We offer a full range of services from design work to production runs.  Contact us today!