Wire and cable harness manufacturers can be found across the U.S., and while they may appear similar on the surface, some possess certain qualities that set them apart from the competition. But how do you start weeding through all your options? It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each industry and each project will have its own set of requirements and expectations. Asking the right questions and properly analyzing which capabilities and services will be most beneficial will help you key in on the right partner. After years of experience, here are the areas we suggest you consider:
Take some time to go over the equipment available at the facility you are talking to. Chances are you have very specific requirements for your project, and you want to ensure that not only is the proper equipment available, but the staff is knowledgeable and experienced to produce quality pieces.
While doing the due diligence on equipment, make sure to find out if the cables are being hand assembled, semi-automated or fully automated. You’ll find many wire and cable manufacturers do not have the ability to successfully automate, cut, strip and terminate wires. Those who can are able to get the job done much quicker and less expensively. Time always equals money.
We know, this seems like a no-brainer. Checking for proper certifications such as ISO-9001 is step one, but does the manufacturer possess any additional certifications that could be beneficial to your project? Maybe the facility is UL508A certified, meaning they can not only make the cables, but will install them into a fully assembled control panel. If so, you now have one less supplier to deal with, and have decreased your overall production time. What did we say before? Time is money.
Custom Quality Measures
Every manufacturer has their own standard set of quality measures but going beyond the typical inline and final quality control inspections is where the great companies stand out. It is important to find a partner who will customize quality systems to meet your product’s exact requirements, including producing the appropriate documentation when necessary. This can be especially important in highly regulated industries such as medical or defense.
Having someone who can make your cable and wire harnesses is one thing but find a manufacturer who can provide much more means less stress and more value. Do you want a company who has engineering under the same roof? NPI (new product introduction) is a crucial step to any project and being able to rely on your manufacturer to review a drawing for enhanced manufacturing ability is a huge perk.
But let’s take it a step further. Are your cable and wire harnesses going to end up attached to your sub-assembly, PCBA or finished product? You might benefit from streamlining your suppliers and work with one who can manufacture those as well? Vertically integrated supply chains should lower your overall cost and you now have fewer suppliers to manage.
Communication is the cornerstone of every great relationship, and that sentiment holds true in the business world as well. Make sure to find out how far removed you are from someone who can tell you exactly how your project is progressing. Should there be questions, concerns, or last-minute changes, direct access to a dedicated PM (project manager) is a big asset. In fact, we have heard it time and time again that poor communication is often a reason companies will search for a new supplier.
What could be better than a dedicated PM who is always just a phone call away? Ask if your manufacturer has an ERP system in place that allows you to instantly check- in on the status of your project all on your own.
Are you looking for a domestic manufacturer of wire/cable harnesses and one who can integrate your cables into your project?