You’ve put a lot of hard work into your product — time, money, manpower, you name it — and it’s finally ready to be manufactured. It can be challenging to select a manufacturing partner. There are several factors to consider, and it can be tough to know what weight to give each one. Yet, whatever you do, steer clear of working with an unvetted or low-quality manufacturer that may overpromise and underdeliver. Below are some of the risks of working with an unvetted manufacturer — and how to avoid them.
Risks of Working with an Unvetted Manufacturer
You know the saying. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. There are several manufacturers out there who may draw you in with promises of low costs upfront or lightning-fast production times. However, that can often indicate that corners are cut elsewhere in the process.
In an effort to save time by cutting down on long lead times or to cut costs on their end, there may be instances where your manufacturer used alternate components in a run of your product. This can lead to inconsistent designs and unreliable end products. In many cases where this occurs, there may not be a documented record of what products were used when so it’s difficult to track down a faulty or low quality component.
Lack of Scalability
Some manufacturers might be able to produce your specific run by sourcing parts that are immediately available, but what happens when you’re ready to scale up? If your manufacturer hasn’t considered whether there are enough resources available to build your product in larger quantities or into the future, you will end up unable to complete order requests or need to reassess your design mid-production.
Slow Response Rates
When working with overseas manufacturers, it can be challenging to communicate across time zones. Long delays, inconvenient call times or a flat-out lack of communication can cause production delays and lost resources.
Loss of Intellectual Property
In the most extreme cases, elements of your designs may be stolen or replicated without your consent. This can be incredibly damaging to your company and product market value. In these instances, you may end up losing valuable time, money and resources to legal fees.
Signs of the High-Quality Contract Manufacturer
This may seem like a lot to worry about, but don’t fear! Now that you know what to avoid when searching for a contract manufacturer, there are also some tell-tale signs that you’re on the right path. Here are some things to look for that can signify a high-quality manufacturer.
Ask your potential contract manufacturer about their certifications. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) releases global guidelines to help ensure consistency, efficiency and quality around the world. An ISO certification signals that the manufacturer has been vetted by an ISO quality officer and approved. Alert Tech SMT is proudly ISO 9001 certified, indicating that we have an approved quality management system in place.
A strong sign that you’re working with a high-quality manufacturer is that they have a quality guarantee for their work. While this may take many forms, at its core this signals that the manufacturer has a dedicated quality control process in place to execute quality work. At Alert Tech SMT, our quality guarantee drives our approach to all projects — serving as the foundation that guides us toward our goal of 100% customer satisfaction and 0% item failure.
Having a clear, documented process is critical to ensure quality and consistency. Ask your potential manufacturer about their documentation process — and whether it will be available to them by request. You want to be able to track changes over the course of iterations to understand how your product has evolved.
Does your potential contract manufacturer have a team of in-house engineers to review designs and manage the process? Rather than outsourcing production or design review, a team of in-house engineers means that you have access to expert advice, guidance and experience. At Alert Tech, our engineers are involved from the start of the quote process, reviewing AutoCAD files for design concerns before the sourcing or production ever begins.
And last but absolutely not least, how important are you to your potential contract manufacturer? You want to partner with a manufacturer who prioritizes your experience and strives to provide excellent customer service. This may include opportunities for site visits, being able to call and talk to a real live human, streamlined processes and dedicated account managers to support you throughout the production process.
Don’t gamble with your printed circuit board assemblies. Partner with a high-quality electronics manufacturing service provider who is invested in your success. At Alert Tech SMT, we are committed to supporting our customers — not just today, but for the long term. Our team of in-house engineers and electronics experts are available to answer questions, walk you through our manufacturing process and show you around our production facility. Request a quote or reach out to us today to tell us how we can best support your next project.