Is Your Electronics Contract Manufacturer Overlooking These Critical Items in Your Documentation?

Davina McDonnell Blog

If a CM doesn’t thoroughly review customer supplied documentation, the facility could make major mistakes that cost your company time and money. You could end up with an unusable product or one that falls short of expectations. Finding a CM that reviews documentation, on the other hand, results in benefiting from in-depth conversations about your product, a firm understanding of your wants and needs, and advice from innovative engineers. The right CM’s evaluation could even result in creative solutions to improve your design or save resources. Make sure your CM doesn’t overlook the following three critical items in your documentation to optimize your experience and prepare your company for success.

  1. Drawings

Your documentation package is a comprehensive instruction manual with every little detail about your electronic manufacturing project. The documentation is what the electronic engineers will use to produce your printed circuit boards (PCBs). While it’s important to create your documentation with care, you can relieve much of the pressure from yourself by partnering with an electronic contract manufacturer (CM) that reviews your documentation package prior to production – especially the drawings and special notations in the package.

Electronics Manufacturing Documentation

It may surprise you to find how many CMs quickly glance over assembly drawings before beginning production. These same CMs may not even ask for clarification on special notes that need further instructions. Despite being one of the most important aspects of the documentation package, lazy or rushed CMs might not give the drawing or PCB schematic careful review and attention required to work out kinks before starting assembly. Your electronics engineer should inspect drawings and gather the most important information about a design, from its dimensions to its thermal relief pattern. The CM should then ask any questions or voice any concerns about your drawings prior to actually beginning manufacturing.

  1. Bill of Material

The bill of material, or BOM, is the part of the documentation that a product designer comes up with to list the exact electronic components necessary to build the assembly. The BOM should be accurate and detailed, outlining all raw materials, sub-components, and parts involved in the entire assembly. There are engineering, sales, manufacturing, and service BOMs, depending upon the client and the project. Most BOMs for PCBs will include the following information about each material required:

  • Manufacturer Part number
  • Part description
  • Quantity required
  • Price
  • Reference designator
  • Unit of measure
  • Where parts are located
  • Footprint
  • Voltage, current, and tolerance values
  • PackagingElectronics Manufacturing Bill of Material

The more information the BOM has, the more accurately your chosen CM will be able to decipher it and build your assembly. Your electronics contract manufacturer should always carefully go over the BOM to make sure everything is accurate – especially details such as price.

  1. Assembly Notes

Something as simple as an overlooked assembly note can completely change the outcome of your project. As an OEM, you took the time to clearly state all of your assembly requirements in as much detail as possible. Unfortunately, the engineer overlooked that you asked for the manufacturer markings in permanent white ink, and instead put the markings on in permanent black ink. Now every PCB in your order has the wrong color ink, wasting everyone’s time, money, and resources – including your own. Do not underestimate the importance of finding a CM who will thoroughly peruse your documentation, including all PCB assembly notes (even those scrawled in the margins) to make sure the facility is creating the exact assembly desired.

Electronics Manufacturing Assembly Notes

The Takeaway: Find a CM That Believes in Documentation Evaluation

The best contract manufacturers will never merely follow your instructions. They’ll work closely with you to fully understand the complete assembly being requesting. You’ll receive one-on-one attention from project managers or engineers from the very beginning, to go over complex assembly notes or simply double check that the CM interpreted your documentation correctly. Finding a CM that will always fully evaluate your documentation before ever starting production can safeguard your investment and drastically minimize the chance of errors.

Saline Lectronics has always carefully reviewed assembly documentation prior to beginning a project. We believe in open communication and responsiveness every step of the way. We truly care about the success of our customers and will do everything we can to make your assembly experience the best possible. Contact us to consult with a certified professional about your assembly.