Electronics Manufacturing Services – Guide to Selecting an EMS
11th Jun, 2021
Electronic Manufacturing Services is a term used by companies that do electronic assembly, design, test, manufacture, and (some of them) provide return/repair services for electronic components and assemblies for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
The more generic term electronics contract manufacturing (CM) is sometimes used for electronic manufacturing service providers.
Commonly produced items in the EMS industry are mobile devices, printed circuit boards, and TVs.
If you’re in the manufacturing industry, especially if you’re one of the many original equipment manufacturers ( Companies that design a product for sale), you have most likely come across the term electronic manufacturing services or electronics contract manufacturing.
You should know that Electronic Manufacturing Services companies/ Original Equipment Manufacturers are vital partners when you want to enter a market and might be the difference between launching your product on time and beat the competition or failure.
Choosing the correct EMS company, the one that fits your conditions, will make your entire mass production process pleasurable, from the design stage to the aftermarket services.
This guide covers all the essential information and the questions you might have regarding an EMS supplier, market trends, how to protect your intellectual property, the pros and cons of an EMS partner, production capabilities, and what you should consider when choosing an electronics manufacturing services ems provider.
EMS PROVIDERS INDUSTRY AND MARKET OVERVIEW
- EMS PROVIDERS INDUSTRY AND MARKET OVERVIEW
- TRENDS DRIVING THE MARKET OF ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICES
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN EMS COMPANY AND ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS?
- WHAT DOES AN ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICES EMS COMPANY DO?
- WHY SHOULD YOU OUTSOURCE YOUR MANUFACTURING?
- WHAT ARE THE TOP CHALLENGES FACED BY EMS?
- WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN AN ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICE COMPANY?
- A GUIDE TO SELECTING THE RIGHT ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICE
- ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURING PROCESS FLOW CHART
- ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICES CONCLUSION
The Electronics industry is represented widely across different sectors like healthcare, consumer electronics, robotics, and electronics components.
Electronic manufacturing services is stacked with opportunities and challenges. Knowing how to compensate for the challenges can be essential for your company’s success.
TRENDS DRIVING THE MARKET OF ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICES
- There is currently a rise in demand for automotive electronics such as automatic driving due to people wanting better safety systems.
- Demand for consumer electronics is expected to have a noticeable growth reaching USD 989.37 billion by 2027.
- The proliferation of mobile devices. In 2024 the total number of cell phones is expected to be almost 18 billion, which is a rise of 4 billion compared to 2020.
- More focus on green manufacturing. Demands will be higher for companies to follow through with a green approach and care about their global footprint.
- An EMS company use Virtual Reality to improve efficiency. This is mostly known as digital design services, simulation, and integration. VR technology makes it possible to examine the product at many different scales to avoid defects
- Original equipment manufacturers OEMs are moving product design (contract design) and development to EMS companies
- Robotics and automation are increasing in popularity. Companies use sensors in machines to receive data which boosts efficiency and reduces production cost
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN EMS COMPANY AND ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS?
The manufacturing industry consists of various terms being used to describe their services. EMS company, OEM, CEM, electronics contract manufacturing ECM, and ODM.
Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS company) these are companies that offer services to design, test, manufacture for OEMs (Apple is an OEM) and offer them aftermarket service.
Occasionally the term electronics contract manufacturing (ECM) is also used.
An original equipment manufacturer or an OEM is the brand owner, and you will generally see their logo on the products. Examples would be LG, Huawei, Apple, Samsung, etc.
The mentioned companies all design their products ( They don’t manufacture) independently and might be outsourcing their production elsewhere to EMS companies and ODM’s. OEM’s own the rights to the product, whereas EMS companies do not.
Taiwan is known for ODM companies like Pegatron and Wistron, which also provide electronics manufacturing services (EMS Company).
A typical ODM specializes in a category of products, such as tablets, for which it offers its own designs, any are ready to manufacture it for any brand interested to put its name on.
WHAT DOES AN ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICES EMS COMPANY DO?
An electronic manufacturing service company (EMS company) provides different kinds of services. They bring high expertise, whether you’re in the design phase or ready to manufacture.
They have the individual components, the molds , the knowledge to manufacture according to your specifications in small quantities, large quantities or a high mix low volume.
Electronic manufacturing services also have a dedicated team for product introduction or test only operations.
EMS providers may have a turnkey operation or focus on PCB assembly (printed circuit board assembly) only.
Electronics manufacturers are often located in a different country than your company and are working with many other customers, their services are commonly divided as follows.
Printed Circuit Boards Assembly
The assembly of printed circuit boards uses either through-hole-technology (THT) or surface mount technology (SMT) to solder different parts.
Custom-created cables are valuable for OEMs in many different sectors. To get the best out of this service, the electronic manufacturing services EMS provider should take care of engineering, testing, and manufacturing the product in addition to cable assemblies.
The electronics assembly companies follow blueprints to build the part of a product that controls the electrical current flow. These services are commonly associated with box-builds, but a company may offer more services.
- There are different ways to test your Printed Circuit Board depending on the provider. Some of the test methods are
- Integrated circuits testing (ICT)
- Automated optical inspection (AOT)
Their testing capabilities might extend to different physical devices, environmental tests.
Numerous prototyping solutions depend on the company. Some of the services are
- PCB Prototyping (PCBA)
- Design for Procurement (cost effective)
- 3D Printing
- Soft tooling
Full Turnkey Manufacturing
They might offer full electronic manufacturing services, from design to manufacturing.
WHY SHOULD YOU OUTSOURCE YOUR MANUFACTURING?
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMS), can save a lot of time and money by outsourcing instead of doing everything independently. To succeed, you should look for the best EMS company possible for outsourcing.
- Using an EMS company will lower your cost and save you capital investments and focus your resources solely on core competencies.
- Improving quality. An EMS company has loads of manufacturing experience
- Your products will be on the market faster, giving you a competitive edge.
- Access to a much greater electronics value chain.
WHAT ARE THE TOP CHALLENGES FACED BY EMS?
Electronics manufacturers have to stay competitive and are commonly faced with these challenges.
- Global competition
It’s harder to be cost-efficient to be able to compete in internationally competitive market segments.
- Managing Service And Warranty
Good quality control measures ensure that the products you produce are of high quality. If something goes wrong, offering a service under warranty instead of merely replacing products will save both parts time and money.
Changes in the environment mean that businesses have to think of a more eco-friendly product lifecycle.
- Product Lifecycle Management
Manufacturers must communicate well between the different departments (sales, marketing, manufacturing, and engineering) to ensure products are launched on time and in the right volume.
This one is hopefully only a temporary issue. The pandemic has affected everything globally, including ODM, OEM, electronics assembly companies, all kinds of EMS.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN AN ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICE COMPANY?
Make sure to set up meetings with candidates and measure them by their manufacturing experience and how well their former projects align with what you want. Don’t be afraid to ask critical questions, and do your research about the company to determine its capabilities.
How to Find The Right Partner for Your Project?
Some EMS companies are very design-proficient, and others may be just electronics assembly companies, or they could be highly design-proficient in certain areas, but those areas may not be what you need for your product.
Having an electronics manufacturing service company with worldwide experience is vital since they understand a market’s possibilities outside of local markets.
How Technologically Advanced They Are
Many technologies develop rapidly. Suppose you’re trying to sell something and your electronics manufacturing services ems use older technology than your competitors. In that case, your products won’t be a match.
The industry naturally has laws and regulations all electronics manufacturing services ems must comply with; making sure your ems provider complies will give you peace of mind.
Focused on Quality Assurance and Quality Control
Having good quality assurance but not reasonable quality control means that your product is assured but not tested.
If your product has reasonable quality control but no assurance, it’s tested, but the quality isn’t maintained over manufacturing and selling.
A Supply Chain Management System
This ensures that your electronics manufacturing services ems company knows precisely how and where to find your products’ components and their lead times.
Incorporates Product Testing Services
Product testing makes the experiences a lot easier for you since being responsible for your testing would mean many more steps would be involved.
A GUIDE TO SELECTING THE RIGHT ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICE
Every company has unique demands from their electronics manufacturing services provider. Every EMS firm is different, which means it’s a lot of work to find the right fit.
IS THE COMPANY A GOOD MATCH FOR YOU?
When looking for an ems partner, an easy way to eliminate possible candidates is by comparing your company’s sizes.
A small company compared to yours is most likely unable to meet your desired volume. Looking at how intricate their products are will also give you indications of whether they have the capabilities to become your partner.
You shouldn’t be afraid to ask critical questions regarding their production, components they use, how they integrate circuits onto a bare board engineering, supply chain, systems integration etc. talking to people in their organization will indicate what to expect and how they perceive customers.
TO WHAT EXTENT DO YOU WANT KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR PRODUCT’S EVERY STEP?
Some services like to reach an agreement and then let you know when they’ve completed their side of things.
Other services like to have more of a relationship with their clients and let you have a more significant say in areas that the services are responsible for.
WHAT FINANCES CAN YOU COMMIT TO THE PROCEDURE?
If your company is a startup and wants to keep a backup of income, it might be an idea to choose a cheaper service compared to an expensive one if any unforeseen expenses come up.
However, if you can’t compromise with quality, choosing the budget option might not be in your best interests.
The services’ actual cost is not something that will be clarified at the first meeting due to many details that must be investigated.
However, cooperating with a capable EMS company will mean you can save money from your supply chain since you have to spend less of your resource managing them.
DO YOU NEED TO IMPLEMENT CSR GUIDELINES?
Corporate Social Responsibility
Choosing a service that does its best not to commit to pollution or uses biodegradable packaging will help you stay strong in the future because people will be able to believe that your product stands in line with what you say it does.
PROTECTING YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
When looking for a company that offers EMS, make sure to find out how they will protect your property.
The company is an integral part of your products, and it is in your interest to make sure that they dedicate themselves to protecting your valuable data.
ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURING PROCESS FLOW CHART
Here in Titoma, we’ve been designing and manufacturing electronics for over 20 years; this is the electronics manufacturing process flow chart that we follow and has worked for us.
One thing we’d like to point out is that during all stages we put a lot of emphasis on DFM.
ELECTRONIC MANUFACTURING SERVICES CONCLUSION
The industry is in growth, and there are valuable opportunities for companies looking to partner up with an EMS, to focus on core competencies and bring production costs down. Finding a company that matches your unique demands and is up to date with technology is vital.
Titoma offers Electronics Manufacturing Services. We design and test in Taiwan and Colombia, and most production occurs in China.