The electronic contract manufacturing industry has many business models from small PCB assemblers to global electronic manufacturing companies. Decision teams new to outsourcing can have a steep learning curve. Beyond the standard expectations of superior quality, on-time delivery and competitive cost, what should your team expect from a contract manufacturer? Here are few elements to look for:

  • Engineering expertise: does the contractor have the expertise you need to fill gaps in your team’s expertise?
  • Transparency: does the contractor openly share cost data?
  • A willingness to invest in required technology: Does the contractor appear to be making capital equipment investments in line with the level of technology required by its customers?
  • Obsolescence management: does the contractor have a process in place to determine obsolescence risk in time to suggest alternatives?
  • Customer focus: Does the contractor listen to your needs or dictate the process you will need to follow?
  • A Focus on Continuous Improvement: Is there evidence of a continuous improvement program?
  • Strong focus on minimizing cost: Are Lean manufacturing principles being used to improve factory throughput and efficiency?

The best way to determine whether or not a given contract manufacturer is a good fit is to ask hard questions during the plant tour and look for examples of ways the contract manufacturer has solved challenges in products similar to your product.