Few OEMs can manage the assembly process without the support of EMS providers. So many specialized pieces of equipment, decisions and processes go into subassemblies and turnkey assemblies that outsourcing projects to contract manufacturers makes the most business sense. Whenever turning control of production assemblies over to outside entities, there are risks that could result in cost overruns and schedule delays. Here are five of the most common risks OEMs must address when outsourcing assemblies to contract manufacturers.
1. Poor communication
No two EMS providers are the same. If you don’t ask whether their capabilities can address your assembly requirements or how they can quickly accommodate sudden requirements you could run into delays or, worst-case scenario, they’ll be unable to assemble boards to your specifications. The PCB assembly process requires a consistent flow of information back and forth between the EMS provider and the OEM. This includes plenty of design assistance, prototyping and testing with feedback. Often, the communication process can be difficult to achieve when dealing with overseas manufacturers. Small issues have a way of becoming much larger, as less timely communication often results in details getting lost in translation.
2. Inadequate Revision Management Processes
Design changes in PCB manufacture and assembly are inevitable because the process is complex. Poor change management processes with your EMS provider can result in too many of the wrong parts leading to excess and obsolete (E&O) inventory, not enough of the right parts resulting in shipment delays and potential loss of revenue, or, even worse, defective products being shipped to your customers. Experienced EMS providers should have an efficient process in place, within which technical experts review all incoming change requirements and supporting documentation. Once changes to the assembly process have been correctly identified and verified, execution should be timely and error free.
3. Erratic Product Quality
High volume assembly is highly technical and specialized work. When contract manufacturers use cheap materials, the product is likely to vary from lot to lot. Superior production management is all about quality and attention. Cheap materials, result in unreliable products. Quality and attention to detail is key for any business looking to distinguish itself in the electronics sector.
4. Lack of In-House Knowledge
Choosing an EMS provider based on the lowest-cost or fastest quoted turnaround time can often lead to a deficiency in engineering know how, substitutions in processes or skipped steps that affect product quality. With so many parts on a board, checking every component and testing every board takes time and opens the risk of error. With an inexperienced electronic assembly manufacturer that risk is compounded and can result in production delays, product redesign, or product failure.
You can minimize this risk by partnering with an EMS provider that has technical experts on staff who can identify design problems early on, before they lead to any delays, and can appropriately communicate process enhancements.
5. Worker Turnover
Most electronic assembly environments involve high-speed equipment that present a certain degree of risk. Most reputable EMS providers adhere to the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct, which establishes standards to ensure safe working conditions, environmentally responsible business operations, and respectable treatment of workers. EMS providers using out of date equipment, not adhering to established safety protocols, or treating employees with professionalism will likely incur a high degree of worker injuries and employee turnover. High worker injuries and turnover can spill over into diminished product quality and delays in delivery times.
EMS manufacturing companies like Syscom Tech have dedicated project management staff, technical experts with hundreds of years of combined experience, state-of-the-art equipment capable of picking and placing 65,000 different types of components each hour, and industry-leading processes. Having an exceptional team and equipment, Syscom Tech does more than simply meet OEMs’ production schedule requirements—rather maximizing yields and optimizing production schedules every time. Contact to learn more.