Depending on who’s participating in the conversation, outsourcing can be a contentious topic in manufacturing. In some contexts, it means work and jobs moving thousands of miles away due to cheaper labor costs or a reduced final product quality due to less stringent oversight. But outsourcing doesn’t just mean moving work abroad; outsourcing can be local and support manufacturing firms who are overloaded or require additional engineering resources to optimize designs. While the process is fundamentally similar regarding work moving off-site, a local manufacturer offers a different package of benefits than what may be available on the international market. Electronic manufacturing outsourcing with an experienced PCB contract manufacturer electronics can greatly alleviate workloads and improve the quality of the final product.
Seven Benefits of Outsourcing PCB Manufacturing
|1||Additional Engineering Resources||Provides an extra team’s experience and knowledge to improve product design and manufacturability.|
|2||Staff Focus||Staff can focus on their strengths rather than having to cover knowledge gaps.|
|3||Unique Skills And Equipment||A shop focused on assembly can have different specialties than in-house options.|
|4||Addresses Assembly Overhead||Assembly equipment is expensive, and purchase/maintenance may be less efficient than working with an assembler if volume is low.|
|5||Manufacturing Expertise||There are many subtle details to PCBA manufacturing; an assembler can minimize trial and error.|
|6||NPI Prototyping||Prototyping a new product for manufacturing can be overwhelming, especially if the design team needs more experience with the process.|
|7||Comprehensive System Design||A PCBA often requires mechanically minded features like an enclosure and cable harness.|
The Numerous Benefits of Electronic Manufacturing Outsourcing
Designers and firms interested in outsourcing have much to gain from collaborating with a manufacturer familiar with industry processes and standards. Revisions are unavoidable when producing a DFM board: despite the most comprehensive simulation tools available, real-world parameters and values can shift considerably. A manufacturer can simultaneously limit the redesign necessary for a board while incorporating considerations like the enclosure or cable harness.
Frees up Internal Staff to Focus on Engineering
Another problem electronic design groups encounter is using their dedicated engineering staff for support roles. Tasks like documentation creation and project management are necessary to launch a new product successfully, but those duties take up valuable engineering resources and time. However, with the help of a local PCB CM, those tasks are manageable, along with the manufacturing of the circuit board. This approach frees up a design team to focus on pure engineering.
Access to Specific Skills Associated With Manufacturing
Some design tasks associated with manufacturing a circuit board require a unique skill set that a company may not possess. For instance, the acquisition of components for a circuit board can be a complex and time-consuming process. The component teams at a local PCB CM have years of experience doing this; however, they will quickly analyze a BOM and recommend any needed component or circuitry changes. They can do this by leveraging their extensive 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 costly to purchase and maintain and must be operated by trained personnel. This expense may be too much overhead for most corporations to absorb, whereas the assembly services of a local PCB CM is a much more cost-effective solution.
Manufacturing Expertise in Multiple PCB Types and Technologies
Local PCB manufacturers have been building circuit boards for a long time and are well acquainted with the requirements of different PCB types and technologies. Their calibrated equipment and processes produce the highest quality product to meet the design intent of the board. In addition, they also have an engineering staff ready to assist with technical questions while design is ongoing to ensure that it smoothly transitions to manufacturing.
Prototyping and New Product Introduction (NPI) Expertise
With the number of changes accompanying a prototype build, a PCB CM experienced with the entire NPI process is an excellent asset. A CM’s flexibility will ensure prototypes build quickly while at the same time incorporating the necessary design modifications required for long-term production. Developing a good relationship with a local PCB CM that understands can save much development time and cost in the long run.
Box Build, Cable, and Wire Harness Assembly
New products often involve more than just the circuit board, and design teams often 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 built by different manufacturers, it is not uncommon for miscommunication to result in parts that don’t fit each other. However, working with a PCB CM saves time and expenses while ensuring all aspects of the system are build-ready. In addition, because all of the different system components come together under the same roof, the final product assembly accelerates and proceeds without issue.
Outsourcing With Your CM Improves Board Outcomes
At VSE, we cover all these outsourcing benefits and more to ensure that production occurs quickly, efficiently, and at the highest levels of quality. Our engineering department is ready to review designs and render any necessary engineering assistance, while our component teams will see that parts are ready when needed. Whether it’s box builds, cables, or wiring harnesses, our manufacturing floor contains the equipment and staff to support ancillary board design. We’re a team of engineers committed to building electronics for our customers; alongside our valued manufacturing partners, we’ve been realizing life-saving and life-changing products for over four decades.