Migrating electronics assembly or a box build project to a lower cost region or simply to an electronic manufacturer or electronic manufacturers who represent a better fit for your project can reduce cost or enhance flexibility. However, migrating a project from your facility or another electronic manufacturer’s facility can be challenging. What are the top six areas to focus on to ensure a successful migration?
- Disciplined Project Transfer Process: The most efficient project transfers follow a well-documented process.
- Good Documentation: Documentation inconsistencies are fairly common either because a company outsourcing for the first time has fully documented the project or because the electronic manufacturer who is losing the project did not provide complete documentation. Some contract manufacturers are willing to assign an engineering team to address any gaps in the documentation. Look for this capability in contract manufacturer selection, if there is a possibility that current documentation may have issues.
- Clear Understanding of Timeline: Normally a program manager at the contract manufacturer’s facility coordinates the time line with your team and their team. A detailed gantt chart with assigned responsibilities on both sides enhances visibility on whether deadlines are being met.
- Good Material Planning: Will existing inventory need to be consumed prior to the contract manufacturer taking over material purchasing? Is there any change in lead-times since the quote? Are volumes staying the same as those quoted? Have any suggested substitutions been approved? These are just a few of the questions that should be asked to avoid material related issues in project transfer.
- Communication: Team members on both sides should clearly understand their responsibilities and responsibilities/authority level of the member of the other team. Written notes/action items should be distributed after each meeting.
- Clearly Defined Product/Production Qualification Process: Some customers have specific production qualification and product acceptance processes. In other cases, the contract manufacturer has a standard process that is used in the absence of a customer-defined process. Establishing a clear understanding of the process to be followed helps ensure all requirements are met.