SMC - Choosing The Right Print Circuit Board Manufacturing Partner

Choosing The Right Print Circuit Board Manufacturing Partner

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When selecting an electronics manufacturing service provider or contract manufacturer of printed circuit board assemblies, you have to be careful. There are many criteria that go into choosing the right manufacturer for your needs. Location, industry certifications, manufacturing and design engineering support, supply chain management, plus many more. Depending on product needs OEM’s must evaluate what they feel is most critical to their business success.


Even in today’s global economy, location can be a critical part of decision making when reviewing a new manufacturing partner. Where your electronics manufacturing service partner is located will affect:

  • New product development and product attention
  • Product control and flexibility
  • Quick reaction time for customers immediate needs
  • Face to face collaboration

Quality Standards

Every industry has its own standards. These are put in place to protect the businesses just as much as they protect the end consumer. It is critical to find manufacturing partners that put emphasis in building quality into their products and have the NEEDED industry/quality certifications to ensure product reliability.

If they are certified to manufacture in your industry, that means they know the quality standards, the quality processes, and have the correct systems to successfully build your products. This also provides a credibility and an upfront expectation before spending an abundant amount of time evaluating a potential manufacturing partner and realizing late that they do not have the quality measurements and are not the best fit for partnering.


You should be able to rely on your printed circuit board assembly manufacturer to provide feedback and engineering support on new product designs. After all, they are experts in their field and should know what will and won’t work. It is extremely important that electronics manufacturing service providers are involved early in the design process. This is a critical time for manufacturers to provide manufacturability, testability, and design for procurement support. If the manufacturer is a part of the design collaboration products can build quality, low cost, and process efficiencies directly into the product.

Especially when reviewing a new electronics manufacturing service partner to help in developing a new product OEM’s need to look for printed circuit board manufacturing partners that will work with you and provide upfront value. Will their engineers review your product design, even help improve the efficiency of it? Beyond design, will they help plan out the lifecycle of the product, point out where weak points, or places to watch, in the supply chain can occur? It is crucial to plan out the life of the product, or you could risk running out of the supplies to build your product

Material Availability & Quality

One of the most important things to look for is whether or not the electronics manufacturing service provider can efficiently build the product on-time with good quality. Sounds a little crazy, but depending on lead time, materials management, and the complexity of your product, you could risk running short on production. Lead-times and material availability can be detrimental to a projects launch time and cost. Most of the time electronics manufacturing service providers quote best price in order to win business, but that always comes with the longest lead time. Although OEM’s know there is lead time associated with components and other materials, it is rarely factored in when thinking of product launch/time to market. During the evaluation period it is important to discuss these lead times and also get pricing for shorter lead times. This way there are no surprises and OEM’s can factor the shorter lead time prices into their cost structures when developing their product development plans.

Relationships with component distribution partners is equally important. These companies and individuals support is vital to supply chain management. These partners willingness to provide aggressive pricing, provide inventory stocking programs, provide OEM’s obsolete/end of life information, plus providing samples and registrations are key to electronics manufacturing.

Ask about their supply chain. What is their visibility into the supply of materials and inventory during new product development and production? How are they managing lead times and minimum order quantities? What are they doing to minimize material exposure? Do they have a buffer stock plan? Do they have the capabilities to run a just in time or Kanban system? What process do they have for tracking work in process? What is the plan for finished goods? You would be surprised by how many manufactures do not plan and operate effective supply chain management programs and systems.

About SMC

SMC is a print circuit board assembly manufacturer, custom cable assembly provider, system integration/box build manufacturer that is located in the heart of Kentucky. Our two locations provide quick and easy access for the technology industry in the eastern region.

We specialize and are certified to manufacture products in the medical, security, military/DOD, industrial controls, construction, and transportation industries.  To maximize customer support, we have created five separate engineering departments: process, test, customer, system integration, and quality engineering. These departments offer world class engineering support and product development. SMC has the EMS solutions you need to ensure quality electronic products at a competitive cost.


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