Outsourcing to an electronics contract manufacturer (CM) is more than a matter of convenience; it’s a necessity for most small and mid-sized businesses. You’ve likely faced some problems when outsourcing part of your manufacturing process like a circuit board assembly, for example. Poor communication, delays in production, higher costs, quality problems, late deliveries, and more are common issues that can arise when you work with an electronics CM.
It’s possible to cultivate a successful long-term relationship with a CM if you choose the right one. A good electronics CM will solve problems for you, not create more. Be aware of the potential customer service problems and choose to work with a CM partner who will have your best interests in mind.
7 Huge Potential Customer Service Problems with an Electronic Contract Manufacturer
Any opportunity involves risk. When companies hire the wrong electronics CM, they might choose one that doesn’t prioritize customer service. It’s important to select a customer-centric contract manufacturer so businesses do not end up falling victim to the following problems:
- Reduced control. When your organization makes a product from start to finish, you get to say how it’s done. With a CM, you can’t always control the process. A customer-focused CM will prioritize your input and follow your specifications.
- Competition for time. When a company has multiple orders to fill, yours isn’t the sole concern. During busy seasons, your company might end up at the bottom of the priority list.
- Lags in problem solving. When your product needs troubleshooting, the wrong CM might switch to the projects going smoothly with the intent to come back to yours later, resulting in costly delays.
- No dedicated accountability. Some CMs have a customer service center, but no one person or team dedicated to your case. Everyone’s responsibility ends up being no one’s responsibility, and you get passed around.
- Staff lacks knowledge. You may sign on with a CM because its representative knows a lot about what you need, only to find the rest of the team is inexperienced.
- Faulty products. If the CM isn’t committed to your success, you might receive a product with flaws. Bad customer service policies can leave you with no way to resolve the problem.
- Poorly handled billing. When a company has bad overall customer service practices, there’s often a problem with the way it levies additional costs or responds to billing discrepancies.
Working with a electronics contract manufacturer can be a great experience that takes your products to the next level, or it can be a costly headache. The difference is usually in the CM’s customer service.
Customer Service vs. Dedicated Account Managers
Customer service is an organization-wide mindset. You need a reliable point of contact as well as a diverse engineering and manufacturing staff committed to providing you with extreme value.
A dedicated account manager is one person who oversees your transaction, the person you call when you need updates or have questions, someone who knows all the details of your order. If there’s a problem, the account manager will escalate your issue and stick with it until it is solved. Dedicated account managers keep you updated throughout and have the resources and authority within the company to make sure your order is completed on time and within your budget.
Customer service involves everyone who works on your order. It’s not enough to have one account manager committed to your success; each person involved in your project from C-suite executives to production floor employees must prioritize offering the best service.
Meeting With Your Electronics CM
When you meet with your electronic contract manufacturing partner, providing the following mission-critical items gives your rep the tools to help you be successful:
- A supply chain overview
- Your production time frame
- Quality and innovation requirements
- A bill of materials (BoM) that includes special requirements
- Details such as printed circuit board gerber files and computer aided design (CAD) data
- Product images or samples
A contract manufacturing company invested in your success will be available and transparent. Leadership teams will be willing to meet with you in person to understand your needs and develop solutions. The company will provide factory tours, so you can see what type of facility and equipment will be used to create your product.
Some companies try to reduce costs by hiring an electronics CM overseas. Time zone delays, language barriers, legislation complications, and communication styles can end up driving costs much higher than expected, eliminating the projected savings.
Saline Lectronics is a U.S.-based manufacturing company specializing in electronic assemblies. Contact us to start planning your next project today.