Outsourcing PCB Assembly

5 Common Mistakes in Outsourcing

Saline Lectronics Blog

If you own a company that produces or manufactures a product using electronics, outsourcing some of your electronics product’s components can be a dream come true or your worst nightmare – depending on the choice you make. If you outsource printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) and you choose the wrong contract manufacturer (CM), you could ship a product that doesn’t work at all or that works sporadically or incorrectly, ruining your reputation, failing to comply with industry standards. Choosing the right CM can give your company a competitive edge in your niche. Here’s what not to do if you want to make the most out of your CM partnership.

1. Rushing Your Contract Manufacturer Decision

Outsourcing PCB Assembly - Rushing Decisions

If you are an original equipment manufacturer looking to hire a CM, it’s extremely important that you take time to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each CM on your list first. Don’t rush. Make a clear list of your needs, schedule interviews with prospective partners, and thoroughly evaluate whether a choice is the right one for you. Take time with the interview, so you can spot red flags before entering a contractual relationship.

2. Failing to Make Your Project Objectives Clear

Outsourcing PCB Assembly - Objectives

Communication is key to a profitable contract manufacturing partnership. A mistake that could sink your business is failing to make your objectives for a project or product crystal clear. Too often, an OEM suffers because it gives vague or confusing descriptions or project plans – resulting in a product with the incorrect specs, materials, or colors. Save yourself significant time and money by expressing yourself clearly the very first time around. Note, however, that the best electronics contract manufacturer can help prevent this problem by carefully reviewing your documentation prior to beginning work.

3. Trusting Your CM Too Little

Outsourcing PCB Assembly - Trust

With outsourcing comes a certain necessary degree of trust. You are literally handing over your plans, blueprints, and ideas, and trusting a third party to produce it to your desired specifications. To have a fruitful partnership, you need to feel comfortable and confident in giving up some control over your product. Giving your CM a healthy amount of freedom can result in extraordinary innovations and new ideas to boost your brand. You won’t find out what your CM is truly capable of without a bit of trust. If you find you can’t trust your contractor, it may be time to switch to a different provider.

4. Choosing the Lowest Rates

Outsourcing PCB Assembly - Lowest Rates

Finding the best bargain is not the wisest choice in electronics manufacturing. The lowest rates often do not translate into the highest quality. Be wary of CMs that offer ultra-low prices. If they seem too good to be true, they probably are. Instead of making your CM decision based on the price of services, look for one to ensure your profitability in the long term: the CM that offers goods of consistent high-quality. Look at the big picture with your contract manufacturing agreement, not the short-term interests of your budget. Saving a few bucks is never worth compromising quality.

5. Outsourcing Overseas

Outsourcing PCB Assembly - Overseas

In the interest of saving money, do not make the mistake of outsourcing overseas. While not all overseas CMs are necessarily bad or low-quality, those offering services at extraordinarily low rates generally aren’t your best option. Using an overseas CM can also expose you to issues such as communication pitfalls and security challenges. Sending your sensitive personal information and product plans overseas, for example, may lead to a leak of your intellectual property. Don’t take that risk. Instead, trust a U.S.-based CM such as Saline Lectronics for a smoother and more reliable supply chain.