10 questions to ask a contract electronics manufacturer before outsourcing your product assembly

When you make the decision to outsource your product assembly, it’s vital that you choose the right contract electronics manufacturer.

To help make sure that you select the right contract electronics manufacturing partner for your product assembly, we have put together this list of essential questions to ask:

1. Are you an ISO-certified contract electronics manufacturer?
This is an obvious but important question to ask. Don’t outsource your product assembly to a contract electronics manufacturer that doesn’t have ISO 9001 certification. This international standard is a statement that the contract electronics manufacturer consistently provides products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

2. Do you make a full quality manual available?
A contract electronics manufacturer’s quality manual is a document that outlines the procedures that the company has in place to ensure that you receive a high-quality product. The quality manual should be comprehensive and the contract electronics manufacturer should review and update this document on a regular basis.

3. Do you operate a system of full traceability for your parts and components?
The contract electronics manufacturer that you choose should offer full traceability of all the parts and components used in your product assembly. The level of supply chain visibility is very important because it allows you to match replacement parts, track production, verify processes and, if necessary, quickly recall products.

4. Can you provide an end-to-end product assembly service?
Product assembly requirements vary from project to project. Therefore, you need to know that a contract electronics manufacturer has the resources and set-up to seamlessly process your product assembly job, and that it has the capability to provide any service that may be required, from sourcing and purchasing parts from a designated list and building and testing your product assembly to packing and shipping to you.

5. Do you carry out environmental and other types of testing?
If your product is used in a harsh environment, it is essential that it undergoes environmental testing to ensure that it will perform reliably. Naturally, there are a range of conditions to emulate, from extreme temperatures to volatile movement. The contract electronics manufacturer that you choose should be able to carry out this and other types of testing as part of its product assembly service, either in-house or through expert partners.

6. Do you carry out product assembly coating in-house?
If your electronic product requires protection from its surrounding environment, it needs the application of a protective coating. This coating process is commonly known as potting. Usually, protection is required against water or moisture ingress, but your product may need to be electrically insulated or protected against heat dissipation and shock protection, or to be flame retardant.

As such, there are many types of coating materials. If it is required, your contract electronics manufacturer should be able to identify the coating material your product needs, and carry out its application. MPE operates an in-house potting service. If we do not hold the coating required, we have expert partners who can provide the necessary service.

7. Which industries do you provide product assembly services for?
Obviously, if a contract electronics manufacturer has experience in your industry, you can be confident that you will receive a high-quality product assembly service based on specialist knowledge, practices and technology. Furthermore, activity across the industry spectrum also speaks to the level of expertise, knowledge and service you can expect, which provides further reassurance in terms of trust and credibility.

8. Do you use the latest product assembly machinery and technology?
The product assembly machinery and technology that a contract electronics manufacturer uses speaks to their levels of efficiency and productivity, and the level of performance that you can expect. In an industry sector characterised by the need for great accuracy and attention to detail and short deadlines and quick turn-around times, and whose dynamics are continually evolving, the use of the latest product assembly machinery and technology is statement that a contract electronics manufacturer can provide you with exactly the service that you need.

9. Do you have a comprehensive and reliable supplier network?
The relationship that a contract electronics manufacturer has with its supplier network is very important, not least given the impact of the global electronic component shortage on the industry. As a customer, you want the contract electronics manufacturer you choose to be able to source quality parts and components for your product assembly quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively every time you place an order. This reliability is based, in part, on a comprehensive and dependable supplier network.

10. Can you provide customer case studies and testimonials?
The availability of case studies and testimonials that are relevant, well presented and up to date provides an important insight into the contract electronics manufacturer that you are considering for your product assembly work. The information that case studies and testimonials contain should strengthen the credibility of the company in question and help build your trust in it and its services.

For more information on MPE product assembly services, contact us on 01825 764822 or enquiries@mpe-electronics.co.uk.