Is Mexico Always The Best Option for PCBA Manufacturing?

Mexico has been making headlines as its cost decrease while China’s costs go up. Not surprising it is becoming a prime choice for a variety of electronics manufacture projects. However, is it always a lower cost choice than the US for PCB assembly? The answer is a resounding no. In some cases, electronics assembly may be less costly in the U.S.

The Case for US PCBA Manufacturing

PCBA-related production equipment has roughly the same costs throughout the world. Utilities costs in Mexico are often slightly higher than those in the US. Customs and logistics activities add cost to cross-border shipments. Consequently, a PCBA with virtually no manual labor content may be more cost effectively built in the US. Similarly, a low volume PCBA or a project that requires significant oversight may be more cost effectively built in a regional facility close to original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

That said, PCB assembly in Mexico does make sense for PCBAs with manual labor content that exceeds 20% or is part of a product which includes additional manual electronics assembly activities. It is also a good choice when the PCBA will ship to a manufacturing site in Mexico.

An Efficient Mexico PCBA Manufacturing Option

The primary reason Milwaukee Electronics chose Tecate for its location in Mexico was because it represented an ideal mix of advantages for its medium-to-high volume customer base. What factors make this a facility and location a good choice for companies considering Mexican manufacturing? Here are few:

  • Logistics Simplicity - Tecate provides a less congested port of entry option and is only 40 miles from San Diego. This paves the way for responsive support of variable demand projects.
  • Secure Location - The Milwaukee Electronics facility is in a gated industrial campus with contract security limiting access to employees and authorized visitors.
  • Stable, Experienced Workforce - Milwaukee Electronics’ team has been in place in Mexico for over a decade. Turnover is less than 2% per month.
  • Proximity to the U.S. - Tecate’s location makes it easy for visitors to commute from San Diego. English proficiency is high among key technical and management staff. Holiday schedules align with U.S. holidays.
  • Socially Responsible Employer - Your contractor is an extension of your reputation. Milwaukee Electronics takes corporate responsibility seriously both in its treatment of employees and its approach to environmental responsibility.
  • Facility Optimized for Electronics Production - Milwaukee Electronics’ facility was built specifically to support efficient electronics production with an open production floor enabling flexibility in efficient production line arrangements as business mix evolves over time.