Whether you lack the technical expertise or equipment to carry out your project in-house, you are at total capacity or you want to save on costs — outsourcing your electronics manufacturing can save you time and staffing, and free you up to focus on other aspects of your operations.

But deciding whether to outsource a process and develop a manufacturing partnership is no small feat.

So, before handing your electronics project over to just anyone, it is worth taking a deep dive into the services of your potential manufacturer — and discovering if what they can offer you will meet your project’s requirements.

Not sure where to start? Here are seven factors to consider when outsourcing your manufacturing…

1. Scalability

Can your potential electronics manufacturer meet the changing needs of your project?

Product demand peaks and troughs depending on things like the season, economy and market. When outsourcing your manufacturing, starting small and gradually increasing your volumes may benefit you. Or a big order might come from nowhere that needs fulfilling right away.

So, you need to choose a manufacturer that can keep up with your needs and adapt quickly to fluctuations in demand.

Your chosen manufacturer should have an advanced production line, a good network of distribution centres and an excellent supply chain with reliable lead times.

If your manufacturer has multiple facilities specialising in different aspects of electronics manufacturing, this will mean they are also more flexible in allocating projects depending on your specific requirements — always a bonus!

2. Efficiency

Can the manufacturer streamline its processes to improve time, cost and sustainability?

A good manufacturer should consistently review their operations for areas that can be streamlined, finding where savings can be made (not only for themselves but also for you).

These days, efficiency also means guaranteeing processes are as sustainable as possible. Your electronics manufacturer has a duty to ensure production creates minimal waste and reduces negative environmental impacts, so ensure they have their green credentials displayed.

3. Innovation

Is your chosen electronics manufacturer using the latest technologies to support your project?

If you want to branch into new markets or extend your product offering, having the right technology and knowledge is vital to make it happen. However, this often requires a significant initial investment in equipment and skilled labour — not always ideal if you are still testing the waters…

Outsourcing can help overcome this issue if your manufacturer has the expertise and technology needed for your project.

So, learn what services the manufacturer offers, which tools and technologies they use for each service and find out about similar projects they have worked on. 

4. Communication

Has your electronics manufacturer made its pricing and ability to meet deadlines clear?

Pricing should be explained in detail without any room for misguided expectations and unrealistic deadlines.

Of course, like any project, there are bound to be some hiccups along the way. But your chosen manufacturer should be able to work out any kinks through clear and consistent communication.

Remember: if communication is already poor during the initial contact stage, it will only worsen once the project begins…

5. Quality

Can the manufacturer demonstrate their dedication to quality standards?

It is fair to say quality is the most crucial factor in electronics manufacturing. But when operations are outsourced, it becomes harder to maintain control over quality — which is why it is vital to choose a manufacturer with immaculate quality standards.

When selecting a manufacturer, check their certifications and standards (like ISO 9000 and ATEX/IECEx Certificate), as this will indicate how seriously they take their quality processes.

If possible, it is also a good idea to visit their facilities to see first-hand how they operate.

6. Reputation 

Does your chosen electronics manufacturer have positive feedback and reviews to support their work?

Great — your manufacturer has told you they can deliver your project on time and within budget. But how can they prove it? Before you sign on the dotted line, conduct your own research to establish what their reputation is like and if you feel confident putting your electronics project in their hands.

Check out any reviews and recommendations from past or current clients to see if this manufacturer offers the level of service and customer support you want from them.

7. Transparency 

Do you know who will be involved in your project?

When handing your electronics project to an outsourced manufacturer, you want to know who is working on it — and how qualified they are for the job.

A good manufacturer knows this and should introduce you to the team handling your project. Not only will explaining who will be taking care of the different stages of production put you at ease, but it also makes it clear who to contact with any questions — helping the process run as smoothly as possible.

We have been in the electronics manufacturing business since 1984. So, it is safe to say we know a thing or two about providing first-class services to our customers. To discover how outsourcing your manufacturing operations to EC Electronics could benefit your project, get in touch at +44 (0)1256 461894 or email customerservices@ecelectronics.com.