Tip #1: Make Sure Your Contract Manufacturer Reviews Your Documentation Package

Christi Beck-Levicki Blog

Our continued blog series with advice on how to avoid an only-following-instructions type CM, and leveraging a successful partnership with a transparent and proactive electronic contract manufacturer

In last week’s blog post “Why Your Contract Manufacturer Should Do More Than Assemble Your Product“, we promised to help you with tips to avoid landing another only-following-instructions type CM. Here’s more detailed information on Tip One:

Look for a CM who performs a thorough review of your documentation package

If your CM doesn’t ask any questions prior to actually assembling your printed circuit board assembly (PCA), you should be worried! No documentation package is full proof and without room for interpretation. Even if your CM asks something as simple as an approval to use a certain soldermask color; you need to be sure that they have fully vetted your files before releasing your product to manufacturing.

In order to ensure that we are prepared to manufacture our customers’ products, our Manufacturing and Engineering Teams will perform an exhaustive review of the documentation provided, and ask any questions where needed, particularly if an assembly note needs further clarification. We recently assembled a product for an automotive client, and one of the custom cables used in the unit was customer supplied. In order to better understand how to assemble the cable within the final PCA, we requested a detailed drawing of the custom cable. Thorough analysis of this drawing ensured that we took the required pre-heating steps before soldering the cable to the unit, thus enhancing the manufacturing process for that particular product.

Although it may seem simple enough to review a documentation package, there are too many stories from current clients about their previous CM not taking the time to fully understand the product’s requirements prior to actually trying to assemble it. If you aren’t getting any questions from your CM, be sure to grill them before production – point out specific assembly notes and ask questions to make sure that they understand the special nuances of your product.