How to choose the right EMS provider?
Today, even well-known OEMs work with electronics companies. When cooperating with an external partner, enterprises should remember that their activities will be closely related. Currently, EMS suppliers are responsible not only for assembly but also for logistics and inventory management. That is why it is worth choosing your suppliers carefully. So, we’ll cover some practical strategies to help you choose the right electronics manufacturing services from these companies for your devices.
Many companies worldwide offer their services to their customers. Sometimes it is tough to tell the best from the ordinary EMS provider and choose the one that fits your needs. The electronics industry is demanding. It requires both rigor and flexibility to manage with finesse the procurement and shipment of electronic components that account for a large proportion of EMS companies’ costs. Therefore, when considering options, there are several important factors to analyze.
#1 EMS Provider experience
The first feature you should consider is the know-how value of the company you intend to cooperate with. Therefore, before starting any cooperation with any EMS provider, it is necessary to check their abilities and skills. You can convince yourself of its reliability, for example, when it can prove its competence in the form of a license.
Suppose you want to make sure that an EMS partner has the experience and skills to meet your expectations, pay attention to their certificates and accreditations. The easiest and most accessible way to verify the credibility of suppliers is to read the credentials they have. Four ISO certificates are especially worth paying attention to.
- ISO 9001 – quality management
- ISO 13485 – quality management of medical devices
- ISO 14001 – environmental management
- ISO 22301 – Business Continuity Management
#2 Technological and engineering facilities available
There is no doubt that the reliability of a product depends on the knowledge and experience of the EMS provider. The tools used for the production of electronics also play an essential role, in particular:
- SMT assembly line for electronics with a high degree of complexity,
- varnishing and pouring systems
- facilities for performing tests and inspections (3D AOI, ICT, Environmental Tests)
- assembly lines and sockets adapted to specific projects (PCBA assembly and final assembly).
Today’s market and the industry’s dynamic development require comprehensive and robust processes that enable new products to be delivered to the market instantly with minimal production costs to achieve target margins. Therefore, appropriate and reliable equipment is imperative to obtain the best results and guarantee product quality to keep your devices running flawlessly and reliably.
As important as knowing the technology an EMS provider uses is knowing its engineering background. Thanks to qualified staff, the contractor can support OEM at every production stage and guarantee high quality, even with large volumes of electronics production.
#3 Production management
Production is a complicated multi-stage process that concerns people and equipment, materials, and many other factors. Choosing an experienced EMS provider allows the OEM to shed responsibility for production planning, production control, or improvement of production processes. In electronics production, more and more attention is paid to the lean approach to the production chain. Lean Production, also known as Lean Manufacturing, improves efficiency while reducing costs and ensuring a high level of quality. In other words, Lean Manufacturing enables EMS providers to offer value to the customer while keeping production costs low and unnecessary operations eliminated. Therefore, a reliable supplier should have internal processes organized in a way that allows you to free up your time and resources while paying attention to potential cost reduction opportunities.
#4 Supply chain management
The appropriate approach and experience of the EMS provider will allow not only to organize production successfully but also enable effective management of the entire supply chain. Your contractor should tailor the supply chain management strategy individually to each customer and their business goals. The lead time usually depends on the product’s country of origin (often China) and the tensions for some components. For example, there is a high demand in large markets. The EMS supplier helps the OEM create such a business model that minimizes financial commitment, simplifies the logistics and communication channels, and allows you to plan the purchase of material in such a way as to be able to fulfill unexpected orders in a short time.
When choosing an EMS partner, it is worth checking whether it works on modern IT systems of the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) type with an integrated MRP2 (Material Requirements Planning) planning loop. From the point of view of OEMs, it is also crucial whether the contractor has an implemented MES (Manufacturing Execution System) system ensuring the identification of products and components. The high level of automation and integration with production systems is a sign that a given company is well organized and focused on organizational savings.
#5 Customer service
In the service sector, the relationship between the main contractor and its subcontractors is primarily a matter of balance and the quality of customer service. Without cooperation, it is impossible to achieve the set goals. Furthermore, the EMS provider takes responsibility not only for the operation of the production line but also for the individual course of all production-related manners. Therefore each client should receive dedicated care, enabling close and practical cooperation.
Program Managers, Product Engineers, Test Engineers, or contractors’ quality services involved in the project should adapt to the OEM needs and its limitations to implement the electronic project. This type of partnership allows you to create realistic and practical solutions and helps OEMs react to changes in the market more efficiently and, most importantly, increase their competitive advantage.
Test many possibilities before starting cooperation
The last phase of selecting a company that produces specific electronic boards is the testing phase. Customer satisfaction and the certainty that he will give to the company offering his services will stem from the success of the first tested implementations. There is no doubt that practical cooperation depends on the personal roles of the contractor’s team members, effective organization of a contractor who fulfills his promises and has high technical skills ensuring flexibility and quick response to customer needs. Thanks to the tests, you can refine your cooperation. After the first completed projects, you can be sure that you entrusted the production of electronics to a company with the best possible criteria.