There are countless examples throughout human history of how using the wrong tool for the job can make the job harder. A perfect example: most people have tried to use a slotted screwdriver in a Phillips head (or vice versa) at least once. However, this universal law extends far beyond hand tools; it can also be applied to building printed circuit boards.
By using a domestic PCB contract manufacturer to build electronic devices, design teams will have access to the best tools and support that will confer several benefits:
- Additional engineering resources
- Keep your staff focused on priorities
- Access to unique skills and resources
- Reduce or eliminate assembly overhead
- Extensive PCB manufacturing skills and experience
- Prototype and new product introduction expertise
- Total system design and manufacturing
The benefits of reshoring electronics manufacturing are numerous, and mounting incentives favoring domestic facilities have tipped the scales away from international manufacturing as the clear-cut choice. Instead, design teams will want to look closely at what’s to gain from keeping production local.
Benefits to Reshoring Electronics Manufacturing: Cost and Convenience
Historically, the driver of manufacturing outsourcing has been the reduced cost of international labor. While this trend still holds, recent developments in global commerce have introduced new considerations. Most noticeably, the instability of the global supply chain has been laid bare, and reverberations from years ago are still being felt today, whether due to shipping slowdowns or extensive manufacturer backlogs.
While local manufacturing still engages with the global supply chain, design teams can at least have the peace of mind that boards are liable to be stuck in transit to the extent that production deadlines could be missed. Take a moment to weigh some additional quality and savings that come into play with domestic production.
Additional Engineering Resources
There are always times when a company will have more work than its staff can handle, regardless of the size of the engineering department. These times often coincide with developing a printed circuit board, meaning your local printed circuit board contract manufacturer is in a perfect position to serve as an engineering resource for you. PCB CMs usually have a full engineering team that can handle a wide range of design work. From schematic capture to full PCB layout, your PCB CM can handle the extra work you need.
Refocuses on Design Engineering
Another problem that electronic design groups run into is using their dedicated engineering staff for support roles. Tasks like documentation creation and project management have to be done to launch a new product successfully, but those duties take up valuable engineering resources and time. With the help of a local PCB CM, however, those tasks can be managed along with the manufacturing of the circuit board. This method will allow design teams to focus their efforts on design engineering.
Lean on Procurement Well-Acquainted with Industry
Some design tasks associated with manufacturing a circuit board require a unique skill set that your company may have yet to develop. For instance, acquiring components for a circuit board can be a complex and time-consuming process. With ongoing shortages and allocation continuing into 2023 for even basic circuit components, a procurement team with experience is more valuable than ever in the current landscape.
The component teams at a local PCB CM have years of experience doing this. They can quickly analyze a bill of materials (BOM) and recommend any necessary component changes or alternates to stay ahead of market fluctuations. They do this by leveraging their large network of component vendors, distributors, and brokers to get the highest quality parts as inexpensively and quickly as possible.
Eliminate Manufacturing Equipment and Processing Expenses
PCB assembly equipment can be very expensive to purchase and maintain and must be operated by trained personnel. This overhead can be too much for most corporations to absorb, whereas the assembly services of a local PCB CM are a much more cost-effective solution.
Additional Ways to Leverage Domestic Manufacturing Knowledge
Manufacturing Expertise with Multiple PCB Types and Technologies
Local PCB manufacturers have been building circuit boards for a long time, and they are well acquainted with the requirements of different PCB types and technologies. Their equipment and processes are fine-tuned to produce the highest quality product so that design teams can be assured that the board will operate as intended. In addition, they also have an engineering staff ready to assist you with technical questions for the duration of design to ensure a smooth transition to manufacturing.
Prototyping and New Product Introduction (NPI) Experience
With the number of changes that accompany a prototype build, you need a PCB CM that is experienced with the entire NPI process. A CM must have the flexibility to get the prototype built quickly while incorporating the necessary design modifications needed for long-term production. For those reasons, developing a good relationship with a local PCB CM that understands your needs will save you a lot of development time and cost in the long run.
Additional Production Capabilities for Box Builds and Cable/Wire Harness Assembly
New products often involve more than just the circuit board, and design teams find themselves trying to coordinate the production of their systems between multiple vendors. Not only is that a giant management task, but with so many pieces being built by different manufacturers, communication errors are common, resulting in incompatible design elements.
However, working with a PCB CM that can build all aspects of your system will save time and expenses by verifying that all manufacturing processes and parts comply properly interface. In addition, because all of the different system components are built under the same roof, there is a greater assurance that the final product assembly will eliminate issues associated with production split between multiple operations.
The Right PCB Contract Manufacturer Will be the Right Tool for the Job
The benefits of reshoring electronics manufacturing are clear: a professional contract manufacturer can react quickly and work closely with design teams to maximize quality. At VSE, we strive to ensure that your product will be built quickly and efficiently by capitalizing on the advantage of a stateside manufacturer.
Our engineering department is ready to review your design and provide any level of necessary engineering assistance. Further, our procurement teams will work tirelessly to stock your parts to be ready when needed. At the same time, our manufacturing floor is equipped with the latest equipment and processes and is ready to build all aspects of your product, including box builds, cables, and wiring harnesses.