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How to choose the best electronics manufacturer for your needs

As with any service, finding the best electronics manufacturer for your specific requirements is essential if you want to get the highest quality product output. We always say that anyone can manufacture, but not everyone also offers total visibility, transparency and exceptional customer service too.

If you’re just starting your outsourcing journey or are looking to switch your electronics manufacturer, you need to do your 'due diligence' first, ideally investigating your potential providers more thoroughly than a quick sweep of their website.

Five things to consider when selecting an EMS provider

1. Experience - we're not saying that newer manufacturers can't deliver, but our 30 years of experience has taught us a lot about pricing, lean manufacturing, logistics and finding innovative and cost-effective solutions for the customer’s benefit. Make sure you find a company who has been around the block a few times.

2. Skills and standards - trained engineers and high standards are essential when choosing an electronics manufacturer. Our engineers are all IPC 610 trained, and we're big advocates of continual professional development, demonstrated by our recent transition from BSI ISO 9001:2008 to BSI ISO 9001:2015 (British Standard Quality Management System). Make sure your EMS holds at least the earlier certification, but ideally the latest version.

3. Track record/reliability - while longevity certainly shows a good track record in essence, it’s worth asking for some statistics to back it up! Find out what their average product test pass rate is (ours is 99%), along with stats on meeting delivery timescales to ensure they're consistently reliable. An ISO 9001 certification offers additional piece of mind, as it means that all processes are fully audited and traceable.

4. Up-to-date manufacturing equipment - newer isn't always better, but when it comes to manufacturing PCBs or full box builds, modern technology makes for more accurate and solid build quality and a faster output. We have a full SMT (surface mount technology) line and have recently invested in an iMP (Intelligent Modular Placer) to ensure we can meet all customer demands.

5. More than a manufacturer - is your requirement for a prototype, a rework, a custom electronic design service with consultancy or just manufacturing? Can they take care of your Bill of Materials procurement for a fully streamlined service and more purchasing leverage for lower costs? It makes much better financial and logistical sense to acquire all the services you need from one provider where possible.

From OEM to EMS - clear lines of communication

While the above points are all crucial to ensure you get the best EMS partner, exceptional customer service and communication is an added value that some fall short on - which is why we take the time to nurture strong relationships with our potential business associates, wherever in the outsourcing process they are.

We believe in flexibility and asking the right questions to ensure the most efficient and reliable solutions, and to enable us to grow in line with your changing needs - and any high quality electronics manufacturer should meet all of these criteria to ensure a successful product, so choose carefully!

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