How to order custom printed circuit board in 2021?

Posted on 2021-10-26

Some custom printed circuit board companies leave the contract manufacturing market and concentrate on other areas. This article will help you figure out how to make the best choice of a contract manufacturer and build a relationship with him.

custom printed circuit board

Use of electronic manufacturing for custom printed circuit board

Firstly, you need to determine whether your company should use contract electronics manufacturing (CP) services. Like any business tool, KP has its own scope and limitations. So, it is undesirable:

  • Transfer to a contract manufacturer unique processes that determine the competitive advantages of your enterprise
  • Transfer several important functions to one contract manufacturer at once
  • Since there is a risk of information leakage and the appearance of a new competitor
  • Go to commercial proposal when cost reduction is not the main factor
  • If the cost of managing the relationship with the contract manufacturer becomes high

How company achieves the goals during custom printed circuit board?

If there are no contraindications, then the company, using the commercial proposal, achieves the following goals during the process of custom printed circuit board:

  • Cost reduction
  • Improving the quality of products
  • Saving human and financial resources
  • Increasing labor productivity
  • The use of advanced technologies

What are the three important factors?

According to experts, the success of outsourcing, including contract manufacturing, depends mainly on three factors:

1) The right choice of a partner

2) Ongoing relationship management

3) Similarly, a correctly drawn up contract

Algorithm for choosing a contract manufacturer for custom printed circuit board

Today there are several standard approaches to choosing a contract manufacturer for custom printed circuit board:

  • The best price among the proposals provided
  • Only this manufacturer is able to perform the required work
  • Only in Asia, where conditions, equipment, etc. are better
  • Moreover, the one who was advised to turn to “experienced”
  • Each method has its own reason, but none of them is optimal

How to discuss the price?

The best price is easy to negotiate with other contract manufacturers through a series of negotiations; not all foreign manufacturers outperform domestic ones in a number of parameters, and the flexibility of foreign ones often leaves much to get. Furthermore, unfamiliar manufacturers after a certain time may become your partners, etc.

When choosing a contract manufacturer for custom printed circuit board, the most important are three factors:

  • The cost of production services and equipment,
  • Product quality
  • Strict adherence to deadlines

How the cost of the production can be determined?

There are two possible approaches to packaging: components are purchased by the customer – or the purchase is entrusted to a contract manufacturer. The first option is quite troublesome, therefore, with the exception of special cases; they usually go along the second path. At the same time, the company remains to monitor changes in prices for electronic components.

prototype printed circuit board

The cost of production in custom printed circuit board services determines by the:

  • technological equipment of the enterprise
  • the size of the ordered batch
  • Moreover, the technological complexity of the product
  • and the required level of quality control

Particular attention must be paid to the effectiveness of the management of the contract manufacturer, since in the end everything depends on it.

What should be the optimal manufacturer selection algorithm? 

Here is the defining a list of functions that you are ready to delegate to a contract manufacturer. The list of functions is determined by the efficiency of your internal services (if any) and the expediency of their creation, maintenance, development.

Determination of a group of contract manufacturers of custom printed circuit board who are able to perform the required work.  Similarly, they have interest in working with you. I propose the following sequence for choosing a contract manufacturer by project stages:

Development of custom printed circuit board

At this stage, you have already predefined a group of enterprises with which you can work in the future. This choice depends on the characteristics of your product, such as:

  • The element base incorporated in the development
  • Accuracy class of printed circuit boards
  • The number of products in the series (weekly, monthly, etc.)
  • Requirements for quality control of manufactured products
  • The level of training of technical specialists

Selection of one or more custom printed circuit board

How to identify a group of manufacturers for printed circuit board that are most interested and able to meet the needs of the customer? Let’s try to make a rough estimate by dividing all manufacturers into three groups:

  • domestic manufacturers
  • foreign manufacturers
  • Moreover, foreign manufacturers in the domestic market

Selection of a contract manufacturer at the pilot production stage

The pilot production stage comes by small batches. It is difficult for both suppliers and manufacturers. At this stage, developers check the correctness of circuitry solutions, manufacturers often “pull out” technological errors of developers, suppliers of electronic components puzzle over where to get small quantities and even at a reasonable price.

Consultation with manufacturers

Consulting Foreign manufacturers of custom printed circuit board are not good in consulting and helping at the stage of pilot production. This process takes a long time. Similarly, it requires the involvement of technical specialists, and the prospects for the return from this work are very vague.

The rating is “bad”. The situation with foreign manufacturers on the domestic market is somewhat better. Moreover, they understand Chinese reality more deeply and can better assess the prospects of a particular customer, but due to the fact that their business models are built in the same way as those of foreign manufacturers, they take up experimental batches extremely reluctant.

Granting loans for custom printed circuit board

For a domestic manufacturer, a deferred payment or partial prepayment is often important.  Similarly, we will rate foreign manufacturers as “bad”, for foreign manufacturers of custom printed circuit board in the domestic market.  Furthermore, we will rate it as “satisfactory”, for domestic manufacturers – “good” – the motives are clear here.

According to the degree of accessibility, geographic location and logistics, domestic and foreign manufacturers in the domestic market will be rated “good”, foreign manufacturers – “bad”.