When choosing an electronics manufacturing services provider to work with, there are plenty of factors to consider.

Cost, experience, time to market, relationships with suppliers, testimonials from existing customers and the equipment and technology they use are all critical considerations.

But what about accreditations and policies? Certifications will give you an excellent insight into what standards the manufacturer adheres to, whilst policies tell you about their ethos and customer service.

In the electronics manufacturing industry, there are many different accreditations — some of which are a requirement whilst others are voluntary. As well as checking a manufacturer has all the mandatory certifications, it is also worth choosing a provider with a number of optional accreditations and internal policies. This shows a dedication to quality, customer care and a willingness to go above and beyond what is expected.

Sustainability, in particular, has become a significant focus for many OEMs — so, it is essential to choose a sustainable manufacturer that is on the same page.

Environmental policy

Before undertaking any accreditations, manufacturers should first have relevant internal policies in place to underpin the certifications.

For example, an environmental policy should form the foundation of any environment-focused standards. An environmental policy can provide significant benefits, including improved cost control, efficiency and monitoring of environmental impacts, as well as conserving raw materials and energy.

However, it is not enough to simply have a policy in place — it needs to be integrated into the organisation and backed up by appropriate systems and processes. For instance, setting up an environmental management system will help to ensure continual improvement in line with the policy.

ISO 14001

ISO 14001 is a voluntary international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system. This type of management system is designed to direct various environmental aspects, fulfil compliance obligations and address risks as well as uncover opportunities.

The framework in the ISO 14001 standard can also be used as a checklist for environmental performance and benchmark for continuous improvement.

If a manufacturer is using ISO 14001, it means they acknowledge their environmental obligations and measure their environmental impact — both key in supporting sustainable supply chains.

Some of the key benefits of using the standard include reduced waste, improved resource efficiency and a competitive advantage in supply chains. The standard can also help to drive down costs for the manufacturer and, in turn, the customer. But most importantly, ISO 14001 will help to lessen any adverse environmental impacts of electronics manufacturing.

ISO 50001

ISO 50001 is based on the management system and continual improvement model of standards such as ISO 14001. The standard is designed to make it easier for companies to integrate energy management into their overall efforts to improve quality and environmental management.

Through a framework of requirements, ISO 50001 helps organisations — such as electronics manufacturing services providers — to continually improve energy management. This framework includes developing a policy for more efficient energy use, setting targets to meet the policy, using data to better understand and make decisions about energy use, measuring the results and reviewing how effective the policy is.

As with other ISO management system standards, certification to ISO 50001 is not obligatory. However, sustainable manufacturers who are committed to reducing their energy usage will be keen to implement it within their business.

As a sustainable electronics manufacturer, we are dedicated to improving our processes to minimise our impact on the environment. This is why we have established an environmental policy and undertaken an ISO 14001 accreditation. We also have a range of other exciting energy-focused initiatives in the pipeline, including ISO 50001. If you would like to start your next project with a sustainable manufacturer, get in contact today.