So here’s the situation. You have been sourcing domestically from the prototype phase through the first few production runs up to 1,000. Your product is starting to grow and in order for you to grow your business, and potentially reduce cost, you decide to start exploring an additional or new EMS provider.
You search Google for the top EMS Partners and the list returned is very impressive. It includes world class companies like: Jabil, Flextronics, Plexus, Foxconn, Sanmina, and Celestica. You search a few pages of each and soon realize that these companies are not just world class but they are also huge. Sadly, huge companies are not typically looking for customers who are not already manufacturing millions of dollars per year in products.
You head back to Google to narrow the search to companies that are interested in working someone that’s not quite as large as Apple, yet! How do you narrow that search to find the best EMS companies for you?
The best way is to find an EMS partner that offers a similar specialty or is transparent enough to admit they don’t have that exact expertise but are willing to work with you through the learning curves of manufacturing. Example:
Perhaps you have an electronics product that deals with power conversion or power management. Include power management or power conversion in your search terms and look for companies who offer similar capabilities.
No matter what your product is you will find that anyone can simply put parts on a board so you want to find an EMS partner who:
- Understands your application and the engineering behind it
- Offers the same specialty or similar manufacturing nuances with similar systems or products
- Can shorten the learning curve
- Or is honest and says they have do not currently possess that skill but is willing to work with you to learn it
You need to understand what you want from an EMS partner. Do you require a clean room and zero tolerance faults? Do you need highly refined controls and processes but only buy in small volumes (think aerospace)? How much precision and reliability must you have? Do you understand that you will pay a premium for premium services?
Just like when you are hiring a new team member. Clearly define what you need and be sure to interview at least a few candidates. All things being equal you will find a comfort level with one over the others.