Tip #3 – A CM that has close relationships with their preferred suppliers

Christi Beck-Levicki Blog

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

In last week’s blog post “A CM with an Engineering Team that offers manufacturability recommendations” we offered the second tip in how to avoid landing another only-following-instructions type CM. Here’s our third tip:

A CM that has close relationships with their preferred suppliers, especially for custom components

If your CM isn’t open and communicative about the suppliers that they are using to source the components needed to put together your product; that’s a huge red flag! Not only should you be aware of the suppliers used, you should also be included in the procurement process to help ensure that everyone is on the same page. Taking it one step further, your CM should leverage any internal engineering and assembly experience with their custom suppliers in order to help solve any design or manufacturability concerns that will impact production.

Recently, we had a customer drastically increase their monthly volumes on an aiming systems product with a custom battery connector. In smaller quantities, we were able to hand place this part prior to oven reflow. However, when the quantities increased ten-fold, it was no longer feasible for a hand operation. In cooperation with our customer, our Engineering Team proposed a design tweak to the battery contact that would allow it to be placed in our high-speed surface mount operation. In collaboration with our customer and the battery contact manufacturer, we not only developed a Surface Mount Technology (SMT) version of the part that could be supplied in reels, but also helped the customer update their design to accommodate the new SMT soldering requirements. Both our customer and the component manufacturer were pleased and surprised by our initiative to identify a solution. They were used to working with CMs that would “complain about the situation, but not actually fix it!”

Be sure to tune in next week for our final recommendation on how to best identify a solutions-oriented CM.